You know how Brian Eno is supposed to have said something like, "Only 5000 people ever bought a Velvet Underground album, but every single one of them started a band"? I bet the same is true of Eno's first three records, though it escapes notice because those inspired by the Velvets wear their influence much more obviously. It is, after all, a much more straightforward proposition to mess with a few guitar chords and a drone than, say, to cop the vibe of anything in Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy).
Drew Brown's new EP (touted by his people as an appetizer to an upcoming full album) is a discreet song cycle about Tiago La, one of the many personae he's developed during his self-conscious rise as a sort-of-underground indie enigma. The early Eno influence is there, concealed in part by a vocal similarity to the late Elliott Smith.
Brown is currently the toast of the same boho LA circles that lionized Smith, and he's collaborated with Beck. (Tiago La's "Hostage" could well be a mellow Beck outtake.) He has talent to spare, a solid record collection, and vaulting conceptual ambitions. We've seen and heard this tale before, and I wish him the strength to deliver on this EP's promise. Stay tuned.