The past two years have been pretty weird for all of us, but especially for Dave Brandwein, co-founder of powerfunk band Turkuaz. After 10 years of touring regularly as festival mainstays, the band suddenly parted ways while on the road with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, marking the 40th anniversary of the classic Talking Heads album Remain in Light. . Amid a pandemic-induced shutdown, the dissolution of her marriage, and a stint in rehab, Brandwein moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Los Angeles, California, to pick up the pieces. He took the opportunity to assess his past accomplishments with Turkuaz and the uncertain future that awaited him, a chance to clean out his closet and start fresh.
Setting up a new home studio in his California home, Brandwein turned to writing and producing for other bands – as he had done before at the recording facilities he had in Boston, Williamsburg , Bushwick and Greenpoint – coming full circle with the completion of Turkuaz’s final two albums, Paradise and Apollyon (both released on September 9) and the first releases of two new projects, New Originals and Band For Sale.
New Originals is a collaborative project between Brandwein and producer Rob O’Block, who first co-produced a pair of songs on Turkuaz’s 2018 album Life in the City, as well as the upcoming Paradiso. The songs reflect their origin, recorded between New York and Los Angeles (where Brandwein’s studios were based) and Nashville (O’Block’s home), three of the epicenters of modern music.
New Originals’ debut single, “Wasteland”, features drummer Daru Jones (Jack White, Pete Rock, Jamie Lidell), Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, with Turkuaz singer/electronic artist Danke on vocals.
“It seemed time for a new energy that could reflect more edge and darkness in my lyrics and in the state of the world,” says Brandwein.
While New Originals demonstrates the next possible step for Brandwein, Band For Sale looks fondly at its past, reflecting early influences such as the Beatles, Paul Simon and Jackson Brown. The forthcoming album, Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon, spotlights songs and melodies he first hummed at the age of five, and others composed throughout his life.
Recorded intermittently over the past decade, Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon is indeed an eye-opening and deeply personal record for Brandwein, who produced and mixed the entire album himself. Blending the charm of the British invasion with classic rock and folk intimacy, it’s a timeless and airy collection, which manages to feel at once deliberate and spontaneous, polished and raw, modern and retro all at once.
Some of the musicians invited to appear on the album include former Lucius vocalist Andrew Burri, Stepkids drummer Tim Walsh, Turkuaz colleague Taylor Shell, London Souls bassist Kiyoshi Matsuyama, Train drummer Matt Musty and Grace Potter band member Kurtis Keber, as well as drummer Jonathan Smith and guitarist Michael Haziza.
“I’m just finding out who I am as an adult, sober, unrelated or in-group, living alone,” Brandwein says. “I am in a period of rediscovery, which is certainly terrifying… I take this opportunity to understand. Getting all that music out after that time is kind of like a purge of all those things that made me who I was before and figuring out what the next phase has in store for us.
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