Braids: Playing on Prefix

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Braids by Marc Rimmer
Braids by Marc Rimmer (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Playing on Prefix is a feature on KCRW’s Music Blog in which writers from the eclectic music site Prefix hip you to what’s coming out of their computer speakers each week.

There’s no shortage of adjectives to describe Braids’ sonic experimentalism. Awe-inspiring. Swirling. Enchanting. Floating. Unique.

Whatever your choice, it’s hard to deny the charms of the band’s debut single, “Lemonade.”

Sprawling, bewitching, endlessly engrossing, “Lemonade” is an encapsulation of Braids’ blending of Cocteau Twins, post-Animal Collective haze, and self-confessionals. From Montreal by way of Calgary, Braids show the same fearlessness on their Kanine debut, Native Speaker, due out in January.

Getting signed to the same label that launched Surfer Blood and Chairlift to ad placements and major-label deals is a co-sign that should put Braids in position to break through in 2011, but they could represent a different end of the indie spectrum.

After a stretch where the bands breaking big off the blogs were safe, populist picks, Braids are a highly experimental, non-traditional band bent on doing songs of stretching complexity. There’s a willingness to go all out and try everything that isn’t necessarily evident across the board in indie-dom.

The shortest song on the 43-minute, seven-song Native Speaker, “Plath Heart,” is still knotty and complicated, but it shows what Braids can do in a shorter context.

Braids haven’t played a whole lot outside of Canada, but they’ll be touring the U.S. this winter with another Playing on Prefix band, Baths. In the meantime, they’ll be playing on Prefix, and we’ll be trying to unpack all the tangles of Native Speaker.

By Andrew Winistorfer