Week in Pop: Promise Keeper, Saudade Sisters, Younger Lovers

Sjimon Gompers

The Younger Lovers win the week with a brand new album (from left), Rich Guttierrez, Brontez Purnell & Ezra Rabin; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

The Younger Lovers

One of the Bay Area's finest—The Younger Lovers; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

One of the Bay Area’s finest—The Younger Lovers; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

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The Bay Area and far beyond has been buzzing all week over today’s arrival of the new Younger Lovers album Young Brothers, available now from Southpaw Records. Fronted by the fearless & influential Brontez Purnell (of Brontez Purnell Dance Company, formerly of Gravy Train!!!, and all around people’s champion) alongside bandmates Rich Guttierrez, Ezra Rabin; their latest 12 song cycle is some of the best news you might hear all spring, or heck, maybe all year. Keeping their peppy & punk attitudes cool, queer & conscientious; Brontez’s Younger Lovers prove they cannot & will not be pigeonholed for anyone else’s purposes while committing themselves to concocting a sound that is all-inclusive & fast acting with an aesthetic of absolute immediacy.

Young Brother finds The Younger Lovers offering up an album of solidarity with plenty of style, sass, & sweet some rhythmic riffs arranged to move your entire being. Brontez begins the party with a haircut appointment that edifies & glorifies the tenets of a “Tight Fade” that is the perfect rocker to enjoy while fashioning your own hairstyle. Those remotely familiar with Purnell’s own prolific, multidisciplinary works understand how much heart Brontez pours into everything, where we hear the Oakland based icon providing some wisdom & words of guiding love & light to a family member on the honest & heartfelt intentions heard on “A Song For My Nephew Ethan”. This sentimental nature rages forward on the tribute to the late-great Marvelettes leader “Gladys Horton” where Brontez sings his heart out with an inspired passion, right before laying the smack down with “Poseur” that rails with an eye-rolling/head-shaking talk to the palm because the face don’t want to hear it aggression. Brontez & company tone it down for an electric slow dance that is dedicated to a pair of difficult dudes with requests to “lay me down easy, before you lay me down, lay me down right now…”

Younger Lovers then pick up the tempo on the lonesome kick-flipping “Lone Skater Ghost” that is the sound of boarding your way all around the Bay with an upbeat song in your heart. The single “Whiskey and Water” is an instant dive bar anthem guaranteed to wet your whistle while enjoying anything & everything between top shelf spirits to whatever is being served in the well. The inevitable after midnight phone call occurs on the super stripped down & succinct “Call On You”, keeping the two minute pop tournaments turning on “Web In Front”, right before Brontez, Ezra & Rich send a smile straight to your face with the romantic whims & proposals heard on “If You Send For Me”. All apologies are expressed on the fence mending wailing chord cruiser “Forgive Me, Phillip”, right as The Younger Lovers round everything off with “What Are You Waiting For” that leaves you with bated breath & awaiting & wanting more from the ‘Lovers. Right after the following listen be sure to read our latest exclusive interview with the always amazing Brontez Purnell.

Brontez, first off thank you for your prolific & relentless creative contributions to the Bay & the world at large. Tell us what’s good & awesome in your world right now.

Same old same old—writing music—Making dances—writing books—trying to get into a Berkeley graduate program…

Oakland legends The Younger Lovers; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

Oakland legends The Younger Lovers; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

As someone who has spent his life career making loud music I feel that this new Younger Lovers record might be your loudest and most hi-fi thing maybe you have recorded to date. And even with the clearer recording & loudness there is still a genuine yearning heard especially on songs like “Call On You”, “If You Send For Me”, “What Are You Wanting For” & even more on this record. What stories can you divulge behind these songs? And can you tell us about the process of making such a raw, free, yet refined record with Young Brothers?

Ugh—it’s all about boys—I actually feel kinda ashamed saying that. I feel like these songs were written two years ago and the subject matter is boring to me now. I’ve moved into this new realm where men bore me—but as far as how it was recorded I wanted to finally do a recording with a band and it was rad. I played drums on two of the songs you mentioned and Rich on the other. Rich and Ezra were the first boys I really wanted to be tied with musically forever so that’s why this is the diary of the first time I recorded with a full band officially. I have mixed feelings. We finally went to a hi go studio, but I feel like that’s a troop of all garage bands who wanna sound mature. I love this recording but I feel like The Younger Lovers sounds best recorded in a garage or stairwell—I love this but I feel more ourselves when we are raw—I feel like too many bands aren’t raw y’know?

Posing up with The Younger Lovers' Ezra, Brontez & Rich; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

Posing up with The Younger Lovers’ Ezra, Brontez & Rich; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

Walk us through some of your early works from Sugar In My Pocket, Rock Flawless, Newest Romantic, California Soul, Pogo Punk, and so on, and so on….and how have they paved the way for the new album Young Brothers?

Newest Romantic is me figuring it out, Rock Flawless is better and rarer—only 300 copies exist on vinyls. Sugar is my OPUS and Young Brothers is like mature.

Best examples of activism happening right now in Oakland, the East Bay & surrounding vicinities?

Email me personally—whoever is reading this—and I will tell you week by week… I’m in like 90 different communities and it’s too much to list at once…

The Younger Lovers' (from left), Rich, Brontez & Ezra; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

The Younger Lovers’ (from left), Rich, Brontez & Ezra; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

From everything you have experienced, witnessed, seen, felt, observed, etc; what are some of the most important causes that people around the world can get involved with?

I think the term “acting locally and thinking globally is important but mostly in terms of the inner landscape…I think people should get involved with THEMSELVES first (on the most non selfish way possible) find out what you like and what interrests you… and then share it in a way that feels accessible to people where someone can say “I can do that” or “I can do that better” or ” I wanna watch them do that”.

Getting lost in the supermarket with The Younger Lovers; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

Getting lost in the supermarket with The Younger Lovers; photographed by Fabian Echevarria.

Everyone wants to know—what is Brontez listening to/watching on Netflex or whatever/reading/etc right now?

I don’t really watch a lot of tv actually. I will say a night time fave of mine is the 1960s British Kitchen Sink drama called “A Taste Of Honey” about this young (mod?) Irish girl living in England whose mom is a drunk so she moves away from home early—gets pregnant by a black sailor and moves in with her gay best friend. I only find it on YouTube and can’t find an American DVD of it anywhere. I learned about the movie as a teen by listening to The Frumpies.

What to watch out for next from The Younger Lovers, Brontez, the Bay Area & more in 2017?

I’ll probs be resting more. Go start yr own thing so I can come to it!

Younger Lovers’ new album Young Brothers is available now from Southpaw Records.

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