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Brant Bjork - Keep Your Cool (2003)
Brant Bjork (born March 19, 1973) is an American musician from Palm Desert, California. A drummer, guitarist, vocalist, and producer, he is perhaps best known as the drummer of the influential Californian stoner rock band Kyuss.
Bjork currently performs in Vista Chino, formerly Kyuss Lives!, along with former members of Kyuss. He is one of the more notable figures in the stoner rock and Palm Desert scenes.
Bjork began recording his first solo album, 1999's Jalamanta in February 1999. Bjork performed all instruments, including guitar and vocals. He would also perform guitar and vocals in the short-lived stoner rock band Ché - a side-project collaboration with former Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age drummer Alfredo Hernández. Ché released their only album, Sounds of Liberation in October 2000. Bjork's next album, 2002's Brant Bjork & the Operators, named for Bjork's fictional backing band, 'the Operators', was recorded in November 2000 with Bjork again performing vocals and most instruments. He would continue to be the sole performer, except for a few guest spots, on 2003's Keep Your Cool and 2004's Local Angel.
Bjork would form the band Brant Bjork and the Bros in 2003, featuring guitarist Mike Pygmie, bassist Dylan Roche, and drummer Michael Peffer, with Bjork performing vocals and additional guitar. They toured Europe in October 2003, performing a mixture of Bjork's solo material and Ché's Sounds of Liberation. Pygmie was replaced by Scott Cortez for further touring in Europe and North America in 2004. This line-up went on to record the 2005 double album Saved by Magic. The album featured a return to the sound of Bjork's earlier sound from his Jalamanta/Sounds of Liberation era.
2006 saw the release of Sabbia, a feature film "visual soundtrack" by filmmaker Kate McCabe, featuring Bjork's music. Brant Bjork and the Bros would go on to record another album, 2007's Somera Sól, with Alfredo Hernández replacing Michael Peffer on drums. In the same year, Bjork released his fifth solo album, Tres Dias, an acoustic album featuring reinterpretations of older songs, as well as some new material. The title of the album (Three Days) comes from the purported amount of time that Bjork claimed it took to record it at producer Tony Mason's house in Joshua Tree, California.
Bjork also reported in 2007 that he had ended his label, Duna Records, citing that it took too much time and energy to run. Bjork soon created a new label, Low Desert Punk Recordings, and the Duna Records website now functions as a Brant Bjork community fansite and forum. The first release on the new label was Bjork's 2008 album, Punk Rock Guilt, made up of recordings from December 2005 referred to as the "New Jersey Sessions". This release was followed up with the 2010 album Gods & Goddesses. Recorded in LA in 2009, Gods & Goddesses was the first Brant Bjork solo album not to be primarily recorded by Bjork himself. Instead, Bjork recorded with a new line-up of musicians including guitarist Brandon Henderson, former Yawning Man bassist Billy Cordell, and former Mondo Generator drummer Giampaolo Farnedi.
A new solo record entitled Jacuzzi is mixed and planned for release in late 2013. The album will be all instrumental featuring jazz and funk influences with break beats.
Review by Guy Peters:
Quote:He should?ve called it Dear Music Fan, the Shiny Disc You?re Holding in Your Hands Basically Contains One 33-Minute Groove, and the title would?ve been even more fitting than it already is. Keep Your Cool is possible the grooviest album I have EVER heard (it tops Jalamanta, which is quite an achievement). From start to finish, it?s concerned with the flexibility of the vertebras in your neck, the elasticity of your hips and your spiritual well-being. Gone are the hesitant pop pretensions of Brant Bjork & the Operators and so is most of the noodling that some of his earlier songs contained. What you get instead are simple, minimalist rhythms, riffs and vocals that combine the sheer funkiness of early Funkadelic records with the trance-like progressions of Fat Possum-styled blues. I bet some people would accuse Bjork of underachieving for releasing an 8-song album that barely makes an emotional, or even stylistic, impact, and flows for a good half instead, but it?s something he?s really good at. It?s quite superfluous to discuss the songs separately, but there are slight differences that keep things interesting enough to distinguish ?em: the short nonsensical introduction ?Hey, Monkey Boy? is followed by the pothead groove of ?Johnny Called,? which then basically continues for a few songs. When ?Rock-n-Rol?e? goes a bit tougher, it sounds like a laidback version of AC/DC-meets-Thin Lizzy, while the funk-blues riff of ?I Miss My Chick? is an addictive stomper you?ll want to hear over and over again. The instrumental title track offers some sonic diversity by including acoustic guitars as well, and ?Gonna Make the Scene? has falsetto vocals that once again remind you Bjork is the desert version of the midget from Minneapolis. And so it goes on, until the album reaches its conclusion when ?My Soul? - which does contain what it?s about ? simply fades out. That?s about it, there?s nothing more to tell. Keep Your Cool is a short, warm, funky, sexy and immensely enjoyable album by a guy who?s doing what he does best and realizes that ?less? may not be ?more,? but can certainly be ?enough.? He?s right.
Quote:01 - Hey, Monkey Boy
02 - Johnny Called
03 - Rock-n-Rol'e
04 - Miss My Chick
05 - Keep Your Cool
06 - Gonna Make the Scene
07 - Searchin'
08 - My Soul