An influential Southwestern songwriter, Brian Lopez’s name has crossed into circles ranging from indie and art rock to grunge, psychedelia, cumbia, and other musical regalia. Fans of Calexico, XIXA, and Mostly Bears will recognize him for his contributions, and his solo music has found its home with avid alternatives—oft uttered in the same breath as Thom Yorke or Nick Cave. 2023 marks a new movement for Lopez, who has defined desert noir with his music for nearly 20 years. A new album, TIDAL, is dropping this summer and bringing a fresh cinematic cut for the celebrated artist.
Some see it as a return to form, viewed from the vantage point of over 15 years plugging away at his musical endeavors. TIDAL’s debut single, “3000 Stories”, is indie rock and folk this side of Elliott Smith, finding its mellow vibe in subtle, undulating synths, guitar tones, and soft-sung vocals. It’s a gorgeously crafted, unassuming first single that sets the tone for something special from Lopez in the coming months with TIDAL.
Lopez tells PopMatters, “It’s the first song off the album and has particles of the entire album’s DNA woven throughout its sonic thread. It’s also not an overwhelmingly obvious lead single. I’m not going to hit you over the head and say, ‘LISTEN HERE!’ No, to the contrary—I want to cultivate a patient and attentive listening experience. If you like ‘3000 Stories’, you will love the rest of TIDAL. If not, then I’ll hit you over the head with the next single.”
Having recently returned to the stage with a scorching set at Tucson’s Club Congress, Lopez reflects on the performance ahead of an ongoing tour with DeVotchKa.
“It had been about four years since I’d played a solo show with a full band backing me. For the longest bit, I’ve been saying no to gig offers. When you’ve been off the grid for that long, it’s hard to gauge the public’s interest in your craft. The brief hiatus, as it turned out, helped. People were curious to see what I was up to and packed the house. I used the opportunity to revamp the live band and reconceptualize the live look and sound. I put together a four-piece band composed of four multi-instrumentalist producers—a high-risk, high-reward situation. The band was beyond stellar It felt good to get back on stage and hit a new, different stride. Get out of my old patterns.”
Regarding DeVotchKa, “These guys are like family. I’ve been on tour with them before, and it’s always a great time. I’m looking forward to legendary venues like Meow Wolf in Santa Fe and Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. I’ll be doing this run solo, so I’m going to try and convince some DeVotchka bandmates to jump on stage and sit in during my support set. We’ll see.”
2/14 – Los Angles, CA @ Lodge Room Highland Park
2/15 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up
2/16 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s
2/17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Musical Instrument Museum
2/18 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf