Brady Brock: I Will Live in You Where Your Heart Used to Be

Andrew Gilstrap

Brady Brock

I Will Live in You Where Your Heart Used to Be

Label: Feel
US Release Date: 2001-11-20

Brady Brock's debut stems from a nice conceit. After graduating college, he traveled, visited friends, and reminisced into the wee hours of the night. He repays the favor of all those borrowed couches and beers by writing 11 songs, all based on the stories his friends had to tell him after the idle chitchat had faded away in the night. Unsurprisingly, the central theme is love -- after all, it's what colors most of our triumphs and failures -- and the real-life range of Brock's subjects means that he tries on almost every mask loneliness has to offer.

If it seems like Brock centers on the bleak side of love, it's probably because, by his own account, he was leaving his own intense relationship at the time. I suppose it also has to do with the fact that his friends were probably more prone to talk about their failures than their successes. Without sounding perverse, failure is also more interesting -- it shows us what we're made of. Consequently, Brock's songs teem with varying reactions to lost loves, not to mention ambivalence about finding love again. Remarkably, he never succumbs to melodrama or cheap dynamics, preferring to let the lives of his friends merge with his own sensibilities into their own distinct stories.

His presentation is decidedly lo-fi: mainly him and his guitar, melodies stripped to their unadorned essence. It may be too unadorned for some, and he's definitely fond of using simple strum patterns as the barest bedrock for his melodies. So those not fond of unembellished indie-style guitar playing might want to tread with caution. Once past that minor hurdle, though, you've got a songwriter who deserves the plentiful praise he's getting. One listen to a song like "Pantomimed Pictures (on a Silver-Lined Tree) and you'll be convinced that patron saints of loneliness like Lou Barlow and Elliott Smith need to start clearing some space at the table. Only "Walk, Don't Walk" bounces briskly, and even that boasts lyrics like, "She's read the lyric sheet of your life / She got to page 13 and got tired". As a whole, I Will Live in You Where Your Heart Used to Be is tailor-made for solitude.

The disc's two strongest tracks, "Pantomimed Pictures (on a Silver-Lined Tree)" and "Corpus Christi" both feel like lullabies, with Brock playing repetitive, chiming guitar patterns. It's the lyrics, though, that show these gentle songs to be pure anguish. "Corpus Christi" exclaims, "I can't move on to bigger things because that was the biggest thing left in me" and "Pantomimed Pictures" paints perhaps the bleakest portrait ever of a lonely Christmas. Not only is this Christmas sad, but the narrator imagines himself two years down the line, still sitting by the tree without someone. Other highlights include "Western Song for the Missing", "Empty Bottles and a Similar Heart", and "The Illustrated Book of Trees", all of which follow Brock's basic template. Once you get into Brock's frame of mind, though, Brock's strumming and the mournful touches of strings in many of these songs feel as natural as a relaxed heartbeat.

According to Brock, one reason for telling his friends' stories is that he wasn't objective enough to tell his own. It's impossible, though, for an artist to not leave some small part of himself behind in a work. It'd be interesting to know if Brock achieved his goal of interpreting his own life through the universal experiences of others. As it is, he's certainly crafted a record that the rest of us can identify with.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

Keep reading... Show less

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

Keep reading... Show less

Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

In a staid city like Washington, D.C., too many concert programs still stick to the basics. An endless litany of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concerti clog the schedules and parades of overeager virtuosi seem unwilling to vary their repertoire for blasé D.C. concertgoers. But occasionally you encounter a concert that refreshes your perspective of the familiar. The works presented at The Kennedy Center on 25 October 2017 might be stalwarts of 20th century repertoire, but guest conductor Antonio Pappano, leading the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, reminded us how galvanizing the canonical can still be. Though grandiose executions of Respighi's The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome were the main event, the sold-out crowd gathered to see Martha Argerich perform one of her showpieces, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

Keep reading... Show less

Rather than once again exploring the all-too-familiar territory of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva's debut novel contextualizes the work's origins and gets inside the mind of its creator.

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been told and retold so many times over the years that, by this point, one might be hard-pressed to find a single soul evenly glancingly familiar with western culture who isn't at least tangentially acquainted with the holiday classic. This is, of course, a bit of holiday-themed hyperbole, but the fact remains that the basic premise of A Christmas Carol has become so engrained in our culture that it would seem near impossible to imagine a time prior to its existence. It's universally-relatable themes of the power of kindness, redemption and forgiveness speaks to the heart of the Christmas season – at least as it has been presented in the 174 years since it was first published in 19 December 1843 -- just in time for Christmas.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.