Noise pop fills such an important gap between the genres. It combines the cacophony of rock and roll sounds with the soft glow of pop music. It takes a talented artist to be able to combine both genres into cohesive songs. Chicago’s brother Derek has met the challenge head on with his new collection of songs. parade break.
A classically trained cellist, gifted songwriter, and veteran Chicago bassist, Brother Derek blends these disparate musical pursuits into the magical songwriting and performance heard on the band’s new EP. parade break. Working at Postal Recording with Alex Kercheval (Coven, Jomberfox) and Tyler Watkins (Margot and the Nuclear So-and-So’s), Derek channeled all of his experience to create a sonically dense and deliciously giddy body of work.
This day Glide is pleased to offer an exclusive premiere of parade break in its entirety before its official release on November 29. the songs in parade break draw inspiration from every genre, from ’60s psychedelia on “I Consider You a Friend” to post-punk on “Cell Phone Resurrection.” On the opening track, “Baby Don’t You Go,” Derek sings in soft, echo-drenched tones. As strings and choirs swirl around the simple yet soulful melody, this calm intro evokes the sounds of Spiritualized or the softer side of Yo La Tengo. But, Derek manages to mix the bittersweet with the optimistic. The title track has an infectious beat and an irresistible melody. Derek sings: “If you give up on love / give up on the stars above.” While there are obviously lines inspired by personal experience, Derek is aiming for the universal in his writing. And it’s that openness that makes these songs special.
There is no shortage of amazing musical moments here. From the ever-changing backbeat of “Amazingly Crazy” to the lonely pop melodies of “Sweet Little Annie,” Brother Derek demonstrates his ability to mine gorgeous pop melodies from the web of styles and influences. As the songs leap across musical eras and break convention, Derek never loses sight of the melody. And that’s what makes Parade Rest a real gem.
Listen to the EP and read our chat with brother Derek below…
Do you feel that mastering the cello and bass helps you take a different and unique approach to songwriting?
I think so! Playing the cello helped me a lot in transitioning to bass and songwriting by building a foundation of skill, an understanding of phrasing, and a player’s perspective (at least orchestrally) of what moves me musically. After that, picking up the bass felt perfect, like turning the cello on its side. Then when I got my first bass it wasn’t hard for me to start creating melodies around the root notes as bass playing was hands on and luckily I had some local jam mates with great taste in music and playing skills. pop and rock. help me figure it all out. But going back to the cello, I am sure that playing the classics that have moved audiences throughout the centuries, those magical combinations of melodic changes, dynamics, harmonies, silence and surprise, undoubtedly helped me calibrate my own process of building songs that at least I can enjoy playing repeatedly.
You jump genre from song to song. However, the record still feels cohesive. What’s your secret?
The joining process certainly helped with cohesion. The crew at Postal Recording (Indianapolis) gave all songs their signature mid-south(?) indie instrumentation and production, with the lead vocalist acting as something of a director along with bass. When you listen to artists known for their genre hopping, ranging from the Beatles to Rundgren to Blondie to Prince to Blur to The 1975 to King Gizzard…etc. (I’m certainly missing some important mentions), I really think the cohesion emerges. one of those artists who are genuine, deep-seated fans of every genre they master, people who can really say with a straight face “I listen to everything.” And not just listen to it but live it, and at least aspire to the musical version of the multilingual one. I’m by no means very fluent in playing multiple genres, but from a fan standpoint, I’m fidgety and don’t pay attention to the vibes I like to experience, so I’d say that reflects on what I like to play. and record. album format, at least so far.
Did the collaboration with Alex Kercheval and Tyler Watkins help take the songs in new directions?
Completely. I remember when my friend Matt (who has known these guys forever) told me about his Postal setup when I mentioned that he needed help with production, and he had me on “Margot and the Nuclear…”. I knew Margot. and the appealingly lush, broad palette sound of Nuclear So and So, and I thought my songs would be in great hands with Tyler (longtime Margot member) and Alex, who seemed to me to hit the mark immediately with their first production for me. , the experimental country track “DeKalb County” from our 2019 debut EP “Murdernite”. Fast-forward to this year, and now there’s plenty of confidence: I always know they’ll wisely build on the basic tracks without overcooking them, adding an unexpected and welcome touch in the process. postalrecording.com for more info 🙂
What do you hope listeners take away from these songs?
A friend asked me this recently, and this is how I put it to her. I named the album after one of their tracks “Parade Rest” as I like the poetic of the phrase “parade rest” which is the name of an exercise and ceremony posture I learned in college ROTC training (and although I never finished until opting for military life, the experience was shocking). The military is about enforcing and supporting a structural hierarchy and moral order, but in the decades since my experience with ROTC, at least in my own life, I have discovered just how messy and chaotic things can get despite a lot of effort to enjoy some. semblance of stability… so in the title track, the lyric “rest your parade, delete the software” is about pausing, stopping, taking a breath, giving up some control, realizing that only love matters . That track is something of an anchor for the rest of the collection, a partial account of my own youthful bouts of confusion, lack of focus, heartbreak, longing, love, betrayal, random pleasure-seeking. So the bottom line for the listeners. – I hope – there is some resonance with these themes intertwined with some nice fresh sensations.