Sunday, April 14, 2013

Brother JT

"We are who we are because of the nature of who we are..."

Exactly, and no one is more who he is than Brother JT, the Philadelphia-based, outsider artiste of psychedelic garage blues boogie. Brother JT started with the Original Sins, which the great TrouserPress describes like this:

Led by diminutive howler/guitarist J.T. (John Terlesky), the quartet — which didn't change, lineup-wise, save for one drummer change, between its 1987 debut and 1996's Bethlehem — has stayed true to its chosen era, re-creating the down and dirty organ-fueled excitement and atmosphere of '60s punk bands like the Standells and Seeds. Synthesizing convincing originals from standard ingredients, the Sins have been remarkably consistent in their quality control, trying new vintages now and then but keeping stylistic ambition from overtaking them (like the Chesterfield Kings) while steering clear of the sense that they've done it all before (like the Lyres).

Brother JT has been a solo artist since the early 1990s, working a territory that is somewhat saner than Daniel Johnston and somewhat less perplexing than Beefheart -- but not by much in either case. He has a new record coming out on Thrill Jockey this May called The Sveltness of Boogietude, and it is as demented and wonderful as the man can be. It is the first Brother JT album to incorporate string arrangements (but don't worry, no softening here). It has a truly deranged lo-fi funk cut called "Sweatpants" which starts from two improbable premises -- a) that Brother JT can pull off a libido-soaked R&B track and b) that said track can be about the sexual appeal of sweatpants -- and somehow makes it work.

It's not the single, though, for obvious reasons. This is:

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