Friday, July 24, 2015
THEY'RE PRAISIN' RAY BRAZEN!
As most of you know, not only am I a well seasoned punk rocker and avid gig-goer of well over thirty five years' standing, but I've been creating my own music for nearly that long a time as well. Last year, my dear friend Joshua Rogers, who runs the awesome label Illuminated Paths, invited me to assemble a compilation of some of my favorite lo-fi home recordings from the 1980s which we released both on cassette and online as "Ray Zinnbrann's Time Tunnel 1983-1988," its title a nod to the stage name I used up until 1995. Since then, the Brazen mystique has grown anew in a wild and wonderful way, including but not limited to my fair share of renewed attention from the local press here in Orlando and various other music blogs.
First and foremost, "Time Tunnel" received a solid four stars out of five from Orlando Weekly's Bao Le-Huu, who even went so far as to give it an Undie Award in his This Little Underground column as one of 2014's best local releases. He calls it "a vivid, vintage glimpse inside the restlessly creative mind of a true eccentric, and one of the best imaginable primers to weird Orlando." And as if all that weren't enough, he attended my most recent live show at Uncle Lou's last month, and praised that accordingly as well: "On his incidentally signature Brazen electric guitar (the interesting story of which can be heard on this recent episode of the Moonmen From Mars podcast), the unboxable outsider artist swung wildly from punk to metal to quirky pop. If being anti-norm is the meter, he may be the punkest one around here."
"Time Tunnel" has also received favorable notice from the music blog Raised By Gypsies, where Joshua Macala raved: "There exists this raw, punk quality to the sound of Ray Zinnbrann... it's something that as it stands, for the influences it has, maintains a level of sincerity that cannot be matched and based on that merit alone this should be an instant classic." After comparing my tape to a few contemporary artists who weren't even around yet when I recorded it all, he further concluded: "Listening to this is like finding a cassette from the 1900's that had music on it that could be classified as the rock n roll sound made most famous by Elvis Presley and it being noted that he and other contemporaries could not have possibly had any knowledge of its existence. Except for the fact that, you know, that would be impossible... and this is not only an entirely possible scenario here but it is in fact sitting right in front of me."
Not one to rest on these laurels, I've forged straight ahead and added to the revelry by following up with a cassette/digital EP of my own with three new songs, "The Revenge of Davey Dawson." And wouldn't you know it, this too has won me critical acclaim, this time from one Drew Smith on his Riot in My Brain blog: "He’s an eccentric and awesome personality that’s hard not to love. 'The Revenge Of Davey Dawson' is a classic campfire-style story telling song, it’s freaking awesome. 'Me Too!' is a pretty awesome acoustic punk track... these songs work together to make a really awesome and fun little tape. I definitely think you should check it out if you want one of the funnest rock n’ roll personalities in America; I really think more people should embrace the eccentricities of Ray Brazen."
He's absolutely right, you know. And you should embrace Mr. Smith's eccentricities too, for that matter, for he is also on Illuminated Paths, as a member of Bad Kids To The Front, whose "Post-Teen Drama" is truly unique and like no other release I've heard in the past year, a heady mix of spacey and experimental influences well worth your time to get your ears involved in.
I know I'm tooting my own trumpet (and those of my friends) quite a bit here, but dammit, I think we're all more than worth it, and we all wish more of you were heeding some of this great hype and buying some of this great music accordingly. None of it will break your bank and I promise I will treat you right, and maybe even throw in an extra surprise or two for the privilege. I'm sure everyone else named here will do the same.