8:30pm, Mohawk Patio
Like Will Sheff and Annie Clark before him, indie-pop songwriter Martin Crane knew when it was time to leave Texas and try his luck in the big city.
"I left quietly," the Brazos leader says of his unannounced departure in January 2011. "I was a feeling a little stagnant. I needed a change of pace. I had gone through many layers of change. I needed to shed everything."
It's easy to understand why. In late 2009, Brazos released its full-length debut, Phosphorescent Blues, a stunning album of buoyant pop built on Crane's winding narratives and curiously colorful production that recalled the work of Jon Brion in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Despite earning local praise and a national tour with White Denim, the album was never picked up for broader release.
But it did catch the attention of Dead Oceans, the Austin-based label offshoot of Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian. The indie label signed Brazos early this year, and a new album is expected in late summer or early fall. Thus far, Crane has about 15 new songs tracked with new Brooklyn bandmates, bassist Spencer Zahn and drummer Ian Chang.
"My idea of a perfect song used to be like a poem in the ways that the structure of a thought unfolds, without repeating much, just moving forward and ending with a small conclusion," Crane says. "But what's exciting me about some of the new songs is that they have a couple of lyrical voices where the perspective changes with the melody. It's almost musical theatre or something. That's been fun to explore. One person can view a problem from several different angles."
While Crane's found success in NYC, he's looking forward to visiting Austin.
"I'm definitely going to go to Broken Spoke, and then I'll hit up Red's shooting range. Those are the two things I've missed the most. Two-stepping is the best. It's a whole world of chivalry and really excellent music."