HIS: You may remember the previous post when I said that we’ve all become pussies and that everyone out there is afraid to rock. Well not EVERYONE is afraid to rock. Brain F≠ (pronounced Brain Flannel. Deal with it.) is not afraid to rock. Brain F≠ embrace the rock and kick your teeth into the back of your fucking skull (sonically, of course). That may have something to do with me calling this my #1 album of 2011. It could be that. It could be the vocal interplay that is just so perfectly off-kilter. It could be that her wobbly vocals are the perfect mix of slightly drunk and kinda slutty, making it absolutely perfect for punk rock. It could be the chugging drums. It could be the absolutely palpable energy on each and every song. Whatever it is, this is the most refreshing album I’ve heard in a long, long time. It’s just lo-fi enough but not so muddy that’s it’s unlistenable. It’s just fast enough but not too fast that the band loses one another. The guitars are just loud enough but let’s face it, the guitars could always be a little louder. Shit oh shit oh shit oh shit I love this record and I really, REALLY hope there are big things on this band’s horizon. And anyway, Brain F≠ are from Charlotte. The fact that I’m even fucking blogging is proof that I really like things from Charlotte (Just like Brain F≠, HERS is a white-hot Queen City Special as well, as if you didn’t know).
HERS: My hometown of Charlotte, NC has changed a lot since I spent my first 18 years of life there. Today it’s growing at exponential rates, it’s the second biggest banking city in the country next to New York and it’s one of those cities, also like New York, that because people flock to it from all over the country people assume nobody’s actually from there, right? But I am. And so is this band, Brain F≠ (Brain Flannel). So when the owner of the record collection at hand told me that some band from my hometown was one of his new favorites, I got curious. Do I know them? I thought, forgetting how huge Charlotte has become since the days when my friends and I would spend our nights hanging out in our cars atop empty uptown parking decks. But after further exploration, I realized that one or some of them went to my middle school (rumor has it). Okay, sounds like no big deal, who cares, whatever. But you have to understand how kickass Piedmont Middle School was and what a one-of-a-kind experience it was. I’ll set the scene. Imagine the mid-90s. And we’re 6th graders. A lot of overalls, Adidas, Pumas, plaid, slouchy jeans, windbreakers were big, lots of band instruments, big stage productions, feisty sports teams. We were the Piedmont Pirates. Colors were black and red. Our dances were held at 3pm after school for safety reasons. We were basically awesome. Lots of hippies. It because it was an “Open” magnet school (which I’m convinced stood for “super open-minded,” the curriculum was all about learning styles and how each particular student learns best. Basically imagine a “traditional” books, blackboard, lectures and tests type school. And then think the opposite. We were sitting on the floor, working in groups, everything was hands-on and there were lots of field trips. We were whale watching, catching insects on the baseball field, building a real Berlin Wall to separate the class for the whole week, doing simulated astronaut trips into space at a museum, inventing our own products, running “mini-societies” where we each had our own businesses and where there was “real money” circulating. (It should be noted that neither my “Sprinkle Brush” invention that allowed you to brush your teeth in bed nor my button-making business were all that lucrative.) And I had enough perspective at the time to know that not all schools were like that. Not all schools were asking you how you learn best or exploring history from all points of view or regularly digging into hard topics like race relations and community violence. It was awesome. Sure other schools made fun of us for our initials being “PMS.” But we were Piedmont Pirates and didn’t stoop to such sillyness. Instead, we embraced it like the hippy thinkers we were. PMS! PMS! PMS! So if these kids did go to Piedmont then it makes total sense that they’re just gonna rock out hard and rock out their own way and just rock rock rock any way they darn well please and then rock some more. And even if they didn’t, they’ve got the spirit of the punk rock Piedmont Pirates!!