The next Big Stir Digital Single comes from THE WALKER BRIGADE, frequent and favorite performers at Big Stir's Burbank concert series since its very earliest days, before the label, before the magazine, before anyone showed up. The brand new “Tower”, b/w their cover of Madeline Kahn's Mel Brooks-penned “I'm Tired” (!) with its attendant video, are out Friday October 4 at www.bigstirrecords.com/big-stir-digital-singles and up for pre-order now!
Equal parts art-punk and pop, the band caught our ears with their early demos, mixing fine originals in the vein of X and Pixies with covers of Wire, Only Ones, Ramones and Soft Boys tunes (Rex is still badgering the band to let BSR release their version of “Rock and Roll Toilet”). We count ourselves fortunate to have been able to include their track “DisEASE” on the pre-BSR compilation CD BIG STIR: THE FIRST YEAR and can't believe it's taken us this long to feature them on an “official” release from the label!
The driving, angularly melodic “Tower” is their debut selection from recent recording sessions at Karen Basset’s Laurel Canyon New Boom Chic Studios. Side B is “I’m Tired” with a video conceived, produced and art-directed by the band’s front-person, Tracy. The song has been licensed and placed in a film, coincidentally entitled “Tired”, featuring award-winning actor Bradley Whitford. The band’s video stars genius competition-champion, drag artist Abhora. It was filmed on location at the spectacular Salton Sea.
During the pre-Brexit, American Kardashianation period, Tracy Rose Keaton and Mark Fletcher became obsessed by UK bands like Wire, Subway Sect, X-Ray Spex, The Soft Boys, and The Only Ones. During that era, no two great groups sounded alike. (That was a thing.) They began learning those songs to play them live. After people at their shows at The Redwood, Café NELA, Taix, etc. said they could not tell which songs were covers or the band’s own, The Walker Brigade began recording their debut album Therapy Animal, released in 2017... but not before the kraütrock-meets-the Pixies “DisEASE was selected by the Big Stir powers-that-be to appear on their Big Stir:The First Year CD compilation. The tune was singled out for praise in a Goldmine magazine review of the multi-artist compilation. Therapy Animal was hailed as ‘[a]n instant classic (Ralph Brown, The Guardian, UK)' and the band itself cited as “a catchy combination of anthemic despair and savior faire: Punk, art-pop, and some clever harmonies” by David Bash (International Pop Overthrow).
Tracy and Mark employ a writerly sensibility to their approach to The Walker Brigade. Tracy’s training as a playwright brings emotional nuance to her songwriting and performing. (Her book on The Shangri-Las was published by Rhino.) Mark is a staff writer at AFI and brings a cineaste’s sensibility to his metteur-en-scène bass arrangements. Drummer Craig Tyrka has played with Doug McGuire (Mod Hippie) and Chissum Worthington (Wormstew) – he's a New Yorker and a CBGB alumnus. Jeff Charreaux, a bridge-and-tunnel guitar player, eventually made his way to L.A. too. He co-wrote two songs on Michael Simmon’s celebrated First Days of Summer solo LP and sings on a track by The Armoires on their Side Three EP—securing him a Champniss of London Big Stir caricature.
THE WALKER BRIGADE continues work with Karen Basset (Test Pressings, Pandoras, Arthur Alexander Band) on the followup to Therapy Animal for release in 2020. “Tower” gives a bracing glimpse into what to expect from the new record as the band continues to gig regularly around the LA area, winning new attention with each performance. More on the band can be found at:
Radical Inclusionist (BMI)
Recorded by Karen Basset at New Boom Chic Studios, Laurel Canyon, Mixed by Brad Gordon at Gordotone, Los Angeles. Mastered by Steven Wilson
(Brooks) Warner-Tamerlane Publishing (BMI)
Recorded by Marc Doten at Coma Trend Bootlegs Studio, Echo Park. Mastered by Brad Gordon
Walker Brigade is:
Tracy Landecker—vocals & guitar
Jeff Charreaux—guitar & vocals
Mark Fletcher—bass & acoustic guitar
Craig Tyrka—drums & percussion