The Angel's Message To Me
"The Angel's Message to Me" sees Chris Brokaw and Geoff Farina teaming up for their first studio collaboration as a duo. The album will be released on CD digipack.
Who are they?
They are US post-punk / post-rock legends! Chris Brokaw was a founding member of Codeine(Sub Pop), the band that kicked off the Slowcore scene in the late 80's. He left Codeine to form Come (Matador/Sub Pop) with Thalia Zedek. He now drums in The New Year, and plays guitar for Thurston Moore, Evan Dando and a wealth of other high achieving acts. His recent solo LP 'Incredible Love' is a genuine lost classic - little known, but loved by everyone who owns it.
Geoff Farina is best known for his 12 years with Karate (Southern), a band whose early records were clearly influenced by Brokaw's Codeine. Farina's charismatic voice, and versatile guitar playing are also heard on a number of excellent solo albums, and as one-half of Secret Stars, the seminal early-90s duo that passed around home-made cassettes of songs now covered by the likes of Ida and Death Cab for Cutie. He now fronts Glorytellers.
How did they get together?
Chris and Geoff met in the small Boston music scene, when Geoff used to go see Codeine and Come play. They once played in a band together called Back Knife Spot way back in 1988. This is the first time the two have made an album together.
"A few years ago, Geoff and I were approached by a midwest hardcore label and asked to do a split LP. we asked them if it would be okay for us to do a project together, instead, and they said that that was fine. I invited Geoff over to my house to do some playing - having no idea what we'd play; I had no new songs at the time. Geoff walked into my bedroom, saw a Blind Blake boxset on a shelf and said, "Do you listen to that stuff?" I said "Yes, i do" and he said "That's all I've been listening to lately". So we sat down and played a few Blind Blake songs, and some Reverend Gary Davis songs, and within half an hour we'd decided that that's what this record should be."
What does it sound like?
Brokaw and Farina bring their dry and smokey, low-key singing, and their clear-as-a-bell virtuoso guitarplaying to a series of North American, pre-WWII classics. Taken from the blues, folk and ragtime repertoire, most of these songs will be known to anyone with an interest in American music. But its unlikely that anyone has heard them played like this for many years - clean and clear, spared of all hokeyfolkiness, and with a handful of fresh details that really allow them to breathe again, as if they'd only been written yesterday. Farina's jazzy, Europeaninflected acoustic flourishes, and Brokaw's dusty country finger-picking are a perfect compliment to one another, and 'The Angel's Message To Me' is a soothing tonic: a collection of songs written in one economic recession, then beautifully resurrected and updated. These songs will provide solace to troubled times and minds all over again.
How did this record happen?
Chris Brokaw: "I think the only reason this thing works is because of the chemistry of the playing between Geoff and I, which has been easy and natural, and I think totally unaffected. Many of the songs on 'The Angel's Message to Me" are very familiar standards - not exactly obscure or deep cuts. If you treat them naturally, they breathe with enormous life. It's satisfying to me in new and unique ways." The album was recorded at Mark G's (formerly of LIVE SKULL) apartment in New York, and Geoff's HEV-E-KREEM studio. Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Recordings
BBC: "He twists and turns in a narrow stylistic corridor, pulling shapes that, ultimately, only resemble Geoff Farina. There's no real reason why the indie overground couldn't lap this up."
Time Out London: "Chris Brokaw's heritage is so impressive he should really have his own coat of arms… ravaged but beautiful beyond belief, reflecting both the dark, blues-strung grief of Come, and the lean-lined, horizon-fixed heft of Codeine…"