One band which has had our attention over the past few months is definitely The Brummies.
The Nashville trio, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, have been teasing their sophomore album Automatic World for weeks. And as of Friday, the record is out in full, via Sandbox Entertainment, with a vinyl release set for Dec. 18.
Given that this is the year 2020 and music is unfortunately so disposable much of the time, what stands out about The Brummies' new record is how much of a full, true LP they have created. It's the type of record you want to spend time with, as it dazzles with big, classic rock flare and shiny-neon disco sounds, before plunging into intimate ballads, as the band navigates love, fear and a wide range of emotions.
The album features several previously released tracks such as "Tomorrow," "Fever Dream" and standout "After Midnight," which premiered over the summer on Variance. The latter is sandwiched between "That Night" and title track "Automatic World," a sturdy trio of songs which are perhaps the most exceptional on the album.
It closes with "Island," which only further proves the band's incredible prowess, as the track is the perfect closer, literally fading into sounds of the night—crickets, trickling rain. And then the music returns, with a proper, funked out instrumental closer. A reminder that these songs will sound great live, in front of an audience. Come on, 2021!
Hear the new album below, followed by our chat with the band about the new record.
There’s such a diverse range of sounds on the album, going from almost classic rock to big, pop-rock anthems, and everything in between. How do you decide what fits the band and what doesn’t?
JOHN: You just kind of know. You either connect with something, or you don’t. And the same goes for the band as we move through songs that would potentially make the album. It’s really all unintentional, and reflects all the different types of music that we like and are listening to. All musicians steal, but the proper term is to be “inspired”… and what we have at the end of the day is hopefully a wide range of sounds like the types of music that everybody can hopefully connect to and feel something from.
What do you think has been the biggest change between your first album and now?
JOHN: A lot has changed since then and now in terms to what we are inspired by musically, what is going on in our lives, and what’s going on around us. With the first album, we wanted to stay true to consistent instrumentation and the way that we recorded the songs. I love Eternal Reach for those reasons. For Automatic World though, we wanted to branch out a touch sonically and experiment more. We kept the basics of tracking to tape but then wanted to expand to using more synths, sound design, and most importantly to focus on the groove. The groove has and always will be the backbone of what moves us in music.
How has the pandemic/shutdowns/etc. affected you guys?
JOHN: Most directly, it’s affected us by keeping us off of the road. We live to tour and feel like that is one of our biggest strengths. I think we can connect to anybody if we get the chance to perform. While we are dying to get back at it and to play shows again, we are deciding to focus on the positives and to keep writing during this time. That will surely lead to a much different third album, which we will gladly welcome into the evolution of the Brummies.
What has been the biggest challenge of being a band and rolling out this album given this year’s limitations?
JACOB: I think one of the biggest challenges of rolling out an album during this time is that it’s been really hard to build up to the release of Automatic World in the “traditional” way we are used to. In a normal world we would be touring and playing new songs out live and getting to interact with fans which gives us so much energy and joy and at the same time gets everyone excited for new music! Everything is having to explore different ways to connect in an authentic way, so we are just navigating those waters as well.
What’s something you did in 2020 that you hadn’t done before?
JACOB: There have been a lot of firsts but one that sticks out as a band is that we started writing virtually with people from around the world. Using Zoom/FaceTime and everyone having home studios has made us create in brand new way. It's been a huge challenge, but also really fun!
A lot of your music is big and fun, although you guys do reveal a bit of your more personal side at times. Is there anything people might be surprised to learn about you?
JACOB: Hmmmm. That’s a tough one. A lot of our music is big and fun, but a lot is really sad as well. Some of the most creative people I know are also some of the saddest behind closed doors. I think many people would be surprised to learn that it’s actually harder to write happy songs than sad ones.
If you could collaborate with anyone right now, who would it be and why?
TREVOR: If I could collaborate with any artist it would definitely be Tame Impala because Kevin Parker is a mad genius and I don’t think there’s any cooler music out than that. The band has always been fans and completely inspired by him.
What does the album mean to you?
TREVOR: The album to me just puts a stamp in time for where we were at as a band when we recorded it. As musicians we are always changing and always recording what we like and feels good at that time. This record was written primarily in 2018, and recorded in 2019. Automatic World was always the plan for the album title, it just happens to feel like thats the world we have all been living in this past year.
What comes next after the album?
TREVOR: Hopefully what comes next after this album is many, many shows in 2021 to get to play all these songs out live in front of crowds again. Of course, we will all have to wait until that can be done safely but we are hopeful. Also we have already started recording a third album so we will continue with that. :)