Featuring the works and commentary of Andrew Bruss

Monday, December 30, 2013

In Memoriam: Benjamin Curtis - 1978-2013

It’s with deep sadness I report that Benjamin Curtis of The Secret Machines passed away today at the age of 35 as a result of his yearlong battle against cancer. The bulk of the news articles being published pay the most attention to his recent project, School of Seven Bells, but it was his work alongside his brother, Brandon, and Josh Garza in The Secret Machines that will always endear him to me.

After being utterly floored by TSM’s late night performance at Bonnaroo in the summer of 2005, the budding music journalist in me wanted nothing more than a shot at these guys. Their publicist at Warner Brothers told me she’d give me access if I’d provide some press for Taking Back Sunday. I played ball.

While this horse-trading was an unpleasant intro to the music industry, one on one, Benjamin was as kind and gentle as an artist can be. I had the chance to interview him and his band mates on a few different occasions and he always remembered me and thanked me for my coverage. The reporter in me these days brushes things like this off as an attempt to gain favor with the media, but as a 19 year old who could barely hold the recorder straight, this meant a lot to me. He was my first interview.

In 2007, Benjamin left TSM at their height to join School of Seven Bells, a group that he got more professional success out of, and he never played with The Secret Machines again.

The national blogs are focusing on his work with School of Seven Bells and the hometown press from Dallas are making note of his work with local acts like UFOFU and Tripping Daisy but The Secret Machines remains one of my favorite acts of the early 2000’s. It always disappointed me that the group sort of fizzled out when they had such potential but for as long as it had been since they’d made any news, The Secret Machines’ Now Here Is Nowhere remains one of my favorite albums of all time.

Benjamin was an innovative guitarist with a sound all his own, a voice that radiated with warmth, and a kind presence that endeared him to fans.

He will be missed.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cover Your Ears: My Bloody Valentine

I don’t like to write reviews in first person, but in case my article didn’t speak for itself, My Bloody Valentine was by far the loudest concert I’ve ever attended. GWAR, Metallica, Rage Against The Machine and The Black Crowes all have nothing on these gentle looking Anglo’s.

I went into greater detail in my Jambase review but lets just say I still hear ringing…

Monday, October 21, 2013

PolicyMic: Pearl Jam

I’ve enjoyed writing for music publications such as Relix Magazine and Jambase.com for years and with some luck, I’ll continue to report for them for years to come. Today, however, marks a new benchmark in my career as a music scribe.

PolicyMic, an up-and-coming hard news site, has published a review and some photos I took from Pearl Jam’s performance in Mass last week and I couldn’t be more excited to have a new audience. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Interview: Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood

John Scofield just might be the greatest guitar player I’ve ever had the honor of seeing play before my very eyes. Watching him perform on Jam Cruise might have been the most effective guitar lesson I’ve had in my 15+ years of playing.

I had the opportunity to interview the man, the icon, along with his cohorts, Medeski, Martin and Wood, the freak-jazz trio from New York who accompany Sco better than any act I’ve heard to date.

Rather than ramble, I’ll link you to the interview on Jambase.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Jam Cruise Recap

It’s been a while but there’s much to report. I’d spent 5 days on Jam Cruise 11 reporting daily for Jambase.com and while I was on the boat I had the opportunity to interview Brock Butler from Perpetual Groove. A week later the group went on an indefinite hiatus and my article gives a lot of insight into what led to this decision.

Expect more interviews from the likes of Stanton Moore and John Scofield to come…

Friday, August 3, 2012

Photos: The Black Keys, TV On The Radio and more!

While reviewing the first day of the Catalpa Music Festivalfor Glide Magazine last weekend, I took plenty of photographs that Glide didn’t have space for. I felt like it would be a shame for good shots of acts like The Black Keys, TV On The Radio, Umphrey’s Mcgee and more to go unseen so I’ve plastered them to the digital walls of andrewbruss.com. I hope your summer has been rocking as hard as The Black Keys did on Randalls Island.
Kip Malone of TV On The Radio
Tunde Adabimpe of TV On The Radio
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys
Umphrey's Mcgee

The Sheepdogs
The Sheepdogs
Hercules and Love Affair
Hercules and Love Affair 
Hercules and Love Affair 
Hercules and Love Affair 
Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's Mcgee
The Black Keys
Patrick Carney of The Black Keys
The Black Keys
The Black Keys
The Black Keys

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Radiohead Owns Boston

Thom Yorke moaned out the lyrics to “Pyramid Song” from behind a piano, looking like 1984’s Big Brother as a half dozen video screens dangled over him showing his face through an orange filter. The take on the tune off 2001’s Amnesiac sounded even better than the studio version and the performance in Mansfield Mass might have been the best Radiohead has delivered to the Bay State in almost a decade.

While the addition of Clive Deamer as a second drummer was a logistical necessity in order to perform the material off their latest album, 2011’s The King Of Limbs, Deamer added some serious swagger to pre-Limbs material like “15 Steps”

The lights were perhaps the most impressive Radiohead has ever played in front of. Using an LED display behind the band, in addition to hovering video screens projecting footage of the band, they effectively combined the best parts of the stage schematics they used on their last two summer tours

The bulk of the set list was the same as it has been on every other stop of the tour, starting off with “Bloom,” the opening track off Limbs. However, fans got a rare treat when Yorke played a verse of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush,” as a lead-up into “Everything In It’s Right Place.” Material from their first two albums, 1993’s Pablo Honey and 1995’s The Bends, didn’t make the cut. But Radiohead performed a handful of newer unreleased tunes that the crowd roared in approval of. “The Daily Mail” is a mellower piano-based tune that has a gradual build up and “Supercollider,” arguably the best of the recent batch of new tunes, sounds like the start of a whole new phase in their musical evolution. 

The sound mix was incredible from every corner of the venue, although during guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s solo on “Lucky,” his guitar was hard to hear over the rest of the band.

Radiohead were firing on all cylinders and sound better than they have in years. If their tour is coming through your town, get tickets. Now.