Bryant Eugene Vazquez, Charles Ellsworth/ The Coo, Broke Body, Smellco

Bryant Eugene Vazquez

Bryant Eugene Vazquez has been called a prolific artist, a musical chameleon, braggadocious, a jack of all trades, a musical genius, manic and moody. He’s been compared to the likes of masters: Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Elliott Smith, Randy Newman, and David Bowie. All hyperbole and biases aside, Bryant Eugene Vazquez is an artist who holds the craft of songwriting to its highest esteem. There’s a reason for all the comparisons, and that evidence can only be found in the work be continues to produce at an inexhaustible rate. Since moving to Philadelphia in October 2013, Vazquez has released a total of ten albums; of these ten separate bodies of work, four of them have been written and recorded in Philadelphia, including 2015’s All Damn Day/The Greatest Hits, which premiered on WXPN The Key and enjoyed much critical acclaim.
Enter 2016, Vazquez makes good on his promise to deliver the second album in a trilogy of “album studies” which focus on specific genres from different decades of popular music. On September 30th,The Key once again graciously provided the platform for premiere, this time: Grey Expectations, an album which sets its sights on the genre-pioneering sounds of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain. As Vazquez himself states the album consists of, “pop/rock songs, disguised to replicate the sounds of the mid 80s/early 90s noise/pop/rock/ shoegaze; all themed around the bitterness of winter,” providing a collection of work where the “production is crowded and fuzzy, the guitars are tinny and abrasive, and Vazquez’s vocals are more breathy and buried than ever before,” as described by WXPN The Key’s Chad Snyder. Mitchell Hillman of The Phoenix New Times further drives the point of the album stating, “the entire album is an homage to the noise pop, post punk and shoegaze sound found in abundance from the mid-'80s to the mid-' completely captures the essence of early Jesus & Mary Chain or the pre-Creation Records pop of My Bloody Valentine.”
Recorded using only two microphones, Vazquez continues his tradition of the lo-fi/DIY/home-recording process. As done on his previous effort, Grey Expectations is entirely written, performed, and recorded by Vazquez-- a feat which continually grows impressive and awe-inspiring with every self-released album. From start to finish, Grey Expectations assaults the ears of its listener by constructing a dense wall of noise, fuzz, and reverb--bulldozing through eight songs in just under half an hour, all the while maintaining a structure of simple chord progressions and memorable hooks.
In summation, perhaps Mitchell Hillman best encapsulates Bryant Eugene Vazquez in his endeavors, “It appears at this point in time that Vazquez can simply apply himself to any genre, any music construction, and master it by making it his own. It also seems he likes to play a game of "Anything you can do, I can do better," because he actually can and it doesn't matter if it's grunge, folk, Americana, hard rock, or in this case alternative noise pop. The man is something of a master painter in which each brushstroke is attached to a sound or a concept or an era, and he takes those strokes to create an entire painting that becomes his newest, best album to date. I cannot admire his attitude, aptitude and altitude vigorously enough, much less his chameleon-like career and an ear for essential audio ephemera most would never notice to include.” As 2016 nears its end, only one thing is certain for Bryant Eugene Vazquez: the nature of his prolific onslaught doesn’t appear to be in danger of losing steam anytime in the foreseeable future.

Charles Ellsworth/ The Coo

Broke Body




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