Music seen at Empire Dine and Dance, July 5, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 9, 2008

In indie-rock, familiarity usually breeds contempt. It’s a silly irony — the “genre” is essentially becoming a radio-friendly updating of any semi-neglected music scene of the past 20 years — but it makes sense: if a songwriter, structurally or lyrically, doesn’t have anything new to say, why bother with them?

Brenda poke a lot of holes in this reliable theory. Their debt to the more halcyon moments of ’90s heavies like Sunny Day Real Estate and Pavement is suffused with a fuzzy, earnest nostalgia. Along with Phantom Buffalo, they’re one of the only indie acts in Portland with genuine crossover appeal, “good times" music in the non-pejorative sense.

The group is fronted by Cult Maze’s Joshua Loring, with sideman Peet Chamberlain (Cult Maze, An Evening With) and a dreadlocked fellow named DJ on drums. Loring and Chamberlain continue to have impeccable chemistry; Brenda’s rhythms aren’t as jagged as Cult Maze’s, but their chord changes still turn on a dime, which keep the songs bouncy and involving, even before you consider DJ’s nasty kick in back.

Loring’s quickly developing a knack for writing a good pop song too. Brenda’s subject matter — summer nostalgia, overcoming adversity, girls — is hardly groundbreaking, but Loring’s lyrics are focused and punchy, more so with each new song, and his delivery is warm and charismatic. Brenda are a pretty ideal no-frills, no-pretension band to have around this summer.

Brenda play at Slainte on July 10 with Moneycastasia

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TEN YEARS, A WAVE  |  September 26, 2014
    As the festival has evolved, examples of Fowlie’s preferred breed of film—once a small niche of the documentary universe—have become a lot more common, a lot more variegated, and a lot more accomplished.
  •   GIRLS (AND BOYS) ON FILM  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 17th year in Waterville, remains one of the region’s more ambitious cultural institutions, less bound by a singular ambition than a desire to convey the breadth and depth of cinema’s past and present. (This, and a healthy dose of music and human-interest documentaries.) On that account, MIFF ’14 is an impressive achievement, offering area filmgoers its best program in years. With so much to survey, let’s make haste with the recommendations. (Particularly emphatic suggestions are marked in bold print.)  
  •   AMERICAN VALUES  |  June 11, 2014
    The Immigrant  seamlessly folds elements of New York history and the American promise into a story about the varieties of captivity and loyalty.
  •   CHARACTER IS POLITICAL  |  April 10, 2014
    Kelly Reichardt, one of the most admired and resourceful voices in American independent cinema, appears at the Portland Museum of Art Friday night to participate in a weekend-long retrospective of her three most recent films.
  •   LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX  |  April 09, 2014
    Throughout its two volumes and four hours of explicit sexuality, masochism, philosophical debate, and self-analysis, Nymphomaniac remains the steadfast vision of a director talking to himself, and assuming you’ll be interested enough in him to listen and pay close attention.

 See all articles by: CHRISTOPHER GRAY