Thursday, June 28, 2012

I want to be a bitch, I want to live with all my heart -- Little Brave

You can listen to Little Brave here

Remember when "Girl Power" was all the rage, but all we got was bubble-gum pop stars and the Spice Girls? Thankfully, our patience for a good girl fronted band has paid off, our reward: Little Brave. Mix one part Meredeth Brooks, one part Kate Nash and one part A Fine Frenzy with a dash of bitter bitchiness thrown in, and you get Stephanie Briggs, AKA Little Brave.

I was sent Little Brave's music by Timothy Slusher (@cosmicclimb), a music promoter, with whom I became acquainted through Twitter, but had also seen her name "tweeted" a few times by Chris Fullerton (@ElectricPencils), who had also recommended Alabama Shakes, so I knew Little Brave was well worth a listen. Good gourd was I right. I am really liking her music. I'm not good with placing all this new music I'm hearing into genres, but I'm gonna just call Little Brave indie rock. Stephanie Briggs released two albums under her own name, Birds Barely Know Us and Spark and one album and one EP under the moniker Little Brave, Wound & Will and Wild (due out August 2012.) I was lucky enough to be sent all of this material. 

Singer/songwriter Stephanie Briggs fronts the band, backed by K Phillips, Brian Singhas and Michael Christmas. Drums, guitars, bass, keys, banjo, accordion and ukulele all have a place in this band, and we all know how much I love banjos (and ukuleles too!)  I really like her songwriting. Her songs are blunt, honest, full of feeling; some read like a soliloquy of the soul, others so direct, or metaphorically direct, in their meaning that its impossible to not feel exactly what she's feeling. Her vocals are smooth, and yet have some punch to them, her use of staccato and enunciation of select words/verses is wonderful, brings out the feeling of the songs. 

I really like every song on every album, but here are some highlights:

Spark: A few of my favorites from Spark are Sure Thing, with it's catchy, bouncy melodies, Word for Word, another happy, melodic song, Photo Chemicals with it's waltzy tempo, breathy vocals and perfect guitars. 

Birds Barely Know Us: Good Guess is a highlight of this album, it's a good girl-rock song. Great electric guitars. Mister is another great track. It's back and forth from soft to hard vocals is awesome, and the lyrics are fantastic. Looks Like my Motivation is a ballad, backed with a great string arrangement, great lyrics and vocals.

Wound & Will: It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorites on this album, I love it all, but if I had to narrow it down Cut & Paste, Fool, Mercy, It's Coming Out Tonight and Blame would make the short list. It's Coming Out Tonight has a slight country ballad feel to it, I really like it. I love the vocals and lyrics of Fool. Fool is probably my favorite on the album, and I think my favorite Little Brave song.

Little Brave's new EP, Wild: All four songs are immaculately constructed. They feel a little more mature, more evolved than the previous three records, not that the others aren't great, they are, but this one feels different. Cigarette VS Guitar has a grab-you-in guitar opening, and the lyrics of this song are brilliant, they hit me in just the right way, stay with me all day. A bass line opens Say So, then Briggs vocals come in, and a little later, the rest of the band; another great song lyrically. I Know the World had echo-y vocals, but in a good way, I really like the keys in this song, they almost have a circus-organ sound to them. Under Wings closes the EP, and it's another winning track. This EP is an all around winner. If I had a top hat rating system, it'd get 4/4 TopHats.

Little Brave in an artist that we all should keep an eye on, I see big things ahead. You can buy her albums here (you can pre-order Wild) or Wound & Will can be found on iTunes or here: I think it's pretty safe to say that I am Spokane's biggest Little Brave fan, maybe even Washington State's biggest Little Brave fan (though I think the same can be said about FilligarRunaway DorothyBrown BirdForeign Fields, and (though maybe only Spokane for) Tender Mercies)

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