KCRW’s Album Previews — helmed by Eric J. Lawrence — offer a chance to hear new album releases in their entirety each week, prior to and just after release.
The new collaboration between Anthony Newes and Brendan Kelly, aka BK-One, comes from good intentions. Both Minneapolis-based musicians had participated in a variety of music-making projects through the years, from folk-rock to hip-hop, but only met through their work with the developmentally disabled at a group home. That fortuitous encounter led them to share ideas about music, and they agreed to try making a record together. But they didn’t want to be saddled with needing to keep to the genres they had been known for before; they wanted to start afresh, and that decision pays great dividends on this new self-titled album under Bones & Beeker.
Diverse sounds, from sampled beats to kalimba, coalesce around crafty melodies throughout this debut recording. Assisted by members of Polica and Atmosphere, Newes and Kelly strike new ground with songs like the signature track, “Samana,” which have a vaguely international flavor, much like artists like Vampire Weekend or Tune-Yards. But it is a sound of their own: modest, but memorable, and with enough nooks and crannies to reward repeat listens.
Brooklyn-by-way-of-Austin musician Martin Crane has been recording under the name of Brazos for a number of releases, but makes his official solo debut with Physical Therapy. Like the actual rehabilitation technique, Crane’s album relies on repetition to strengthen the melodic musculature of his dynamic pop songs. But, reminiscent of cult-favorite percussionist David Van Tieghem, Crane generates his rhythms from a variety of unexpected places, keeping things lively with sounds both organic and otherworldly.
“Gunk of Stars” aims for the heavens with its bright vocal hook, while “Gadesco” inspires with the melancholy of standing on an empty shore. The album came together by combining the best elements of a live performance of the songs with his sometimes Brazos bandmates with a demo version cobbled together at home, making for a record that retains the intimacy of a true solo record while allowing for big vistas and even bigger themes.