Dan Brodie – When We Turn to Dust
by Reverb RaccoonAug 29, 2019, Song of the Day
Grasp the hands of the giant clock and unwind time to an unhappier and more confusing era…
Walking on a narrow road scratched into the coral substrate of an unnamed island. An automobile has been abandoned in a patch of viny vegetation. The salty air, the rain, the sun have reduced the car to a heap of rust and unconnected remnants. The machine had ceased to be a car years before. Yet the oxidized pile is still recognizable as a car.
The liaison on which I was marooned had deteriorated into dysfunction the previous year. But a passerby, seeing the couple ponder the corroded car, might point to us and say, ‘They are in a relationship.’ That’s what it said on Facebook, anyway. It would require another five years of decay before the pairing became unrecognizable as a relationship, even to its participants.
In ‘When We Turn to Dust’ Dan Brodie contemplates a connection in which the metaphysical molecules have lost their chemical attraction. Someday it will exist, like the abandoned car, not in a physical sense but only as a memory. But, unlike the thoughts carried into the present by the unnamed couple on the island, the singer’s future reminiscences will perhaps be pleasant in a wistfully what if? sort of way.
When we turn to dust
Don’t cry no tears for me
And if we start to rust
It’s only a memory
‘When We Turn to Dust’ is a gently-spoken statement carried by a piano that alternately mirrors the melody then wanders free to create a beautiful fill. The shimmering guitars and muted drums remain in the background. Listen for the sparse strings and the second voice that enhance the atmosphere without clouding the mix.
Dan Brodie is based in Melbourne, Australia. ‘When We Turn to Dust’ appears on his new album, Funerária do Vale. Recorded by Mic Hubbard, ‘Funerária do Valeshowcases Brodie’s musical influences which have shaped his world to date; at times tender and haunting, at other times loose and spirited.’ Dan has gained significant traction, touring the world and releasing a succession of well-received albums.
BY SIMON SWEETMAN // OFF THE TRACKS, JULY 2
Melbourne’s Dan Brodie has been releasing his own versions of cow-punk (You Make Me Wanna Kill), blustery rockabilly twang (Take A Bullet), lonesome, windswept balladry (Tear Us Down) and shit-kicking swagger (Booze to Blame) for a while now. Here he combine all of the separate vestiges of his career to date and focusses them on turning a set of rock and pop classics on their ear with a covers-album project that should please both the fans and newcomers.
Dark and brooding are the two moods most conjured here, with Dan handling most of the instruments himself and many of the songs stripped back to a couple of guitars and a bassline – a bit of piano here and there and some licks from the lap steel on a chugging version of Iggy Pop’s The Passenger.
The devastating mood – and the announcement of a vital interpreter – is announced with the opening cover of Dylan’s Standing In The Doorway – multi-tracked backing vocals bubbling and brewing.
Same deal with Merle Haggard’s Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down which has the slow-churning intensity of Mercy Seat-era Nick Cave.
The Cave comparison continues across the piano/guitar intro to Brodie’s version of Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al, but the double-tracked lead vocal sounds like Dan Kelly covering Elliott Smith – Simon’s lyric that bounces along on an Afro-pop beat in the original sounds threatening in this slowed, dramatic take: “I will be your bodyguard” – and “Where’s my wife and family/What if I die here” is almost spat out in a distorted panic. It’s a stunning reinvention.
In a disc full of highlights I also want to mention Prince’s Take Me With U, as with Call Me Al, the very meaning of the lyric seems to distort and twist in the way that Brodie slows and bends the tune; warping the original intentions but still honouring the (power of the) song.
Lost Not Found is a Sunday hangover for any day of the week, a loner’s gem, a startling set of back-alley takes on established classics; new life breathing in through the bones of these songs, the flesh exposed, the spirit soaked in new bar-room spirits no doubt, but something wonderful has happened here. For it never feels like a cold gimmick, it always feels like another correct way for these songs to live and breathe and feel.
POST TO WIRE, Chris Familton, November 20, 2017
Covers albums can swing two ways, attempts at slavish replicas of the original songs or those instances where the artist recasts the songs in a new light, with their own personality and style at the forefront. Dan Brodie has successfully taken the latter route with a collection of songs that reveal some of his influences and spotlight his accomplished and affecting way with re-interpretation.
The source material here includes numerous titans of the music world – Bob Dylan, Prince, Iggy Pop, Paul Simon, Merle Haggard, Motorhead – plus a trio of Brodie’s own compositions that easily hold their place amid such defining artists.
Invariably Brodie invests the covers with a brooding, gothic country pall, taking them into the shadows and finding their dark corners. Simon’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ is impressive in its new form. Devoid of its bounce and pop it could be a message from a kidnapper to his intended victim. That murder ballad mood permeates the album in the way that Nick Cave might also approach the songs. Prince’s ‘Take Me With U’ retains a distant electronic pulse that is coloured by Brodie’s high and lonesome vocal, taking the song into a world of melancholic desperation.
Metallica covered Motorhead’s “Damage Case’ but it never sounded like this, a heartfelt and fragile meditation on a wounded soul. Dylan’s ‘Standing In The Doorway’ lifts the pace of the slow-swaying original and hits gothic-country trails with added urgency and cold-hearted menace, suggesting revenge is just around the corner.
BIG HEARTED LOVIN' MAN – A RETROSPECTIVE (1999-2014)
(Fat Swine Records)
In light of his 2013 face-off with mortality, you might think Brodie wrote these songs to pass time during cancer-busting treatments. The Melbourne maverick's reworked musings on life and his renegade ways now evoke that bigger picture. Back-catalogue gems feature (solo, Broken Arrows, Grieving Widows) plus covers of Sonic Youth's and Spencer P. Jones' . This lot was recorded live in one session with Brodie solo but for occasional guitar from brother Chris. remains raw and exhilarating. The alt-country, indie rock continues between plaintive balladry and Tex-Mex flavours. Versions of bookend the pilgrimage from unchallenged youthful swagger to fear and doubt, then onward to victorious redemption.
A finales de este mismo mes de mayo volverá a España el australiano Dan Brodie. En esta ocasión, el músico de Melbourne lo hará en su formato más íntimo, en solitario y sin banda.
Nacido en una familia de músicos, Brodie debutó en 1998 con un EP titulado "I'm Floatin Mamma", al que siguió el álbum "Big Black Guitar" (1999), publicado éste acompañado de The Broken Arrows. En 2001, EMI reeditó el disco - anunciándolo a bombo y platillo – e hizo su primera gira europea, con aclamados conciertos en Gran Bretaña y Francia. A su regreso a Australia, Brodie grabó un nuevo EP, esta vez bajo la supervisión del productor John Wooler (Willie Nelson) y el técnico Oz Fritz (Tom Waits), titulado "Make Me Wanna Kill" (2001). De esas mismas sesiones nació una de las obras maestras del rock aussie, "Empty Arms, Broken Hearts" (2001), con el que Brodie obtuvo dos nominaciones a los Aria Awards. Tras un respiro, dedicado principalmente a descansar y componer, Brodie regresó a primera línea con "Beautiful Crimes" (2005), una colección de canciones cargadas de armonías, incluyendo una de las canciones del verano de ese año. Tras el éxito, y el agotamiento, Brodie se traslada a Brasil durante medio año y cae en un hoyo del que no sale hasta 2010. Ese año, Brodie regresa a la música y, un año más tarde, forma Dan Brodie & The Grieving Widows con Dave Nicholls (Ian Rilen, Spencer P. Jones) y Chris Brodie (The Broken Arrows), con quienes publica "My Friend the Murderer" (2011), disco publicado en Europa por Beast Records y que presentó con banda al completo en más de 25 ciudades europeas. Ahora, como decíamos, llega acompañado únicamente de su guitarra acústica para presentar su último disco, "Deep Deep Love" (2013), un disco acústico, personalísimo y sin florituras, aunque precioso. Lo componen once canciones que el músico australiano ha ido componiendo a lo largo de los últimos quince años y que hace cosa de poco más de un año se vio con ánimo de plasmar en un disco. Canciones escritas mientras compartía habitáculo con Robbie Rocket (Cosmic Psychos) y Shane Walsh (Rose Tattoo) unas, con influencias del gran Ennio Morricone y que no tenían cabida en álbumes más contundentes otras y la mayoría cuando estaba a muchas horas de casa en cualquiera de los muchos lugares por donde ha viajado. http://ROCKANDROLLARMY.COM
Brodie makes music because he has stories to tell, songs to sing, melodies to share – art to create. He’s a largely unsung poet, troubadour, rocker and a minor legend.
Recorded in one night in January 2015 in Melbourne, with only sporadic electric guitar from guitarist brother Chris Brodie, Big Hearted Lovin’ Man sees Brodie reinterpreting his songs with just an honest voice and acoustic guitar, bringing a fragility and raw truth to the likes of Big Black Guitar, Take A Bullet, Sonic Youth’s 100%, (I Don’t Want) Another Lover, the rootsy spiritual stomp of Lower Me Down,
In light of Brodie’s cancer battle which took him out of play for most of 2013, the gentle touch, emotional vocals and evocative lyrics of I’m Floatin’ Mama, Lullaby and I Seen The Light make them impossible not to view in a brand new light.
If it’s part of the magic of art to take on new meanings dependant upon their interpretations as time goes by, then Dan Brodie’s Big Hearted Lovin’ Man is magic indeed, and shows in no uncertain manner how he garnered the admiration of the likes of Spencer P Jones and Paul Kelly.
Breaking into intermittent parables, and keeping in line with almost the entire record, Brodie favours more of a brutish holler than a tuneful vocal manner. “I gotta heart full of hate and a belly full of beer/A lifetime of mistakes has brought me here,” he informs on ‘That Ain’t Too Cool Man’, before spewing forth his omnipotent tirade – one of many. “I hope that your end is a fucking disgrace/With your pants round your ankles/And blue in the face/With a belt round your neck/And a plug up your arse….” Damn!
Where Big Black Guitar (1999), Empty Arms, Broken Hearts (2002) and Beautiful Crimes (2005), all threatened this livid demeanour, My Friend The Murderer just goes straight for the jugular with some of the more maddening and pissed-at-the-world progressions committed to tape. Kudos to his wingmen: brother Chris Brodie on bass, lap-steel and guitar, plus the unremitting drumming of Dave Nicholls for coming out of this alive. No soft-cock balladry found here, nor an introspective examination of one’s own existence these past six years – on My Friend The Murderer, Brodie is all rather absolute about things.
Much more than simply an archetypal rant record, My Friend The Murderer is poignant like a punch in the face, and uber-belligerent the way unsympathetic rock intended.paisajeselectricos.com
DIG IT! #55
"MY FRIEND THE MURDERER" ALBUM REVIEW
BY Lo' Spider
"Dan Brodie n'est pas à proprement parler un inconnu puisqu'il commet ses premiers méfaits dès 1998, avec son frère Chris au sein des Broken Arrows... Un groupe semi acoustique qui devait autant à la country qu'auGun Club et qui a été approché, le temps d'un album, par EMI. Aujourd'hui, retour sur un label indépendant (deux même, puisque Beast Rds sort le disque par chez nous) avec un nouvel album, My Friend the Murderer. Le frangin est toujours là, à la basse cette fois et l'on retrouve derrière les fûts le batteur de Spencer P. Jones... Ai-je oublié de vous préciser que Dan Brodie est australien ? De Melbourne, pour changer ! Bref, la musique des Grieving Widows est plus électrique que leurs travaux passés, moins introspective. Une sorte de boogie-blues moderne où se croiseraient AC/DC, les White Stripes et leurs congénères 6 Ft Hick, par exemple. Le son est massif, brut de décoffrage, la voix prenante et les arrangements choyés... Un des bons disque du trimestre"