Brute Force is an incredible American artist whoʼs been a cult secret for far too long (46 years and counting). Now more than ever the world needs Heavy/Funny, and you, gentle reader, prescient buyer, are in for a transformative treat.
Stephen Friedland, born in 1940, is the man behind the pseudonym Brute Force. As a young man in New York City, Friedland was introduced to The Tokens, an all-male doo-wop vocal group known for their hit, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
The Tokens hired Friedland to work as a songwriter for their music publishing company, Bright Tones Productions, and he eventually became the group’s keyboardist. While working for Bright Tones Productions, he wrote The Chiffons’ 1965 hit “Nobody Knows What’s Goin’ On (In My Mind But Me),” of which his version appears as a bonus track on this album.
In 1967, with famed producer John Simon on board, Friedland went into the studio to record his debut, I, Brute Force – Confections of Love. With this record, he embarked on a journey to depart from the conventions of the current pop music. Sprinkled with surprisingly conspicuous lyrics and diverse instrumentation, his debut certainly stretched the envelope. His characters, weirder than most, are still your basic star-crossed lovers, just ones who march to a slightly quirkier drum. The music sounds familiar and the challenges are the same, but it’s all happening in an alternate dimension.
After the hopefully, but tragic defeat of his single "King of Fuh", Friedland decided to leave the music industry. While working for his father as a paralegal in Edison, New Jersey, he continued songwriting. Eventually regaining his confidence in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Friedland performed as a musical stand-up comic under his given name.
In 2001, Gareth Jones, bandleader of Misty’s Big Adventure, an eight-piece band from Birmingham, England, sent him an email. Jones had read about Brute in Irwin Chusid’s “Music in the Key of Z,” and found “Tapeworm of Love,” a song of Brute’s that appears on this album, on the Internet. He began covering the song with his band, and hoped that Brute would come to England to tour with them. Brute accepted his offer, and since then has toured with Misty’s Big Adventure, as well as with his own band, which features his daughter, Lilah, performing as Daughter of Force.
One of New Zealand music’s maverick spirits, Hamish Kilgour formed The Clean with younger brother David in Dunedin in the late 70s.
A major part of Flying Nun’s early success, they have been hugely influential internationally, particularly in US indie circles, where fans include members of Pavement and Yo La Tengo.
Hamish Kilgour's second-ever solo album, Finklestein, flips the singer/guitarist/drummer's path taken on All Of It And Nothing. Having previously gone for intimate, minimalistic performances, Finklestein displays a chock-full production quality akin to a fairytale. It's a fitting change, seeing as the songs are based around a children's story Kilgour conceived for his son about a kingdom that invents a way of dealing with their depleting gold resources. The songs include organ, saxophone, pedal steel, piano, vibraphone, harmonica, even footsteps (Hamish is renowned for his stepping), most of it performed by Kilgour and his producer/collaborator Gary Olsen at Olsen's studio, Marlborough Farms in Brooklyn. Originally conceived as being a children's book as well as album, Finklestein rides roughshod through this fairytale world with grace.
21+, 8pm doors