The Brakes, a Philadelphia-based band intent on staking a claim to the lineage of American rock and roll music, have signed with HYENA Records. They’ll release their debut full-length album, Tale Of Two Cities, on May 6th. The 12-track collection was recorded live during a dual city residency in the spring of 2007. The band headed up the New Jersey Turnpike every Tuesday to set up shop at The Knitting Factory in New York City, while getting cozy with hometown fans every Thursday at MilkBoy in Philadelphia. Each show was recorded and the best performances from both cities were assembled, including stand-outs versions of "Into The Ground," "Danger Blues," "Boat Trip," "Song Of Imponderables" and "Empty House."
"I’ve always loved those live records that set the bar for how tight a band can be. Those albums were always benchmarks for me, like a goal to aspire to. And going into the Philly and New York City residencies, we saw this opportunity to make a record where we could listen through multiple shows and pick the best performances," states guitarist Matt Kass.
On Tale Of Two Cities, The Brakes are captured at an idyllic time in their evolution, transitioning between an intimate neighborhood listening room and a legendary big city rock club. But more importantly, it presents a young and swaggering rock band coming into their own, clearly electrified by the music they’re making. The Brakes seamlessly intertwine infectious indie-pop circa Ram-era Paul McCartney, crunchy California rock in the spirit of The James Gang and starry-eyed British psychedelia akin to Traffic. The resulting breadth of vision belies a band whose oldest member is 23-years old.
The Brakes formed in 2002, but their roots run much deeper. Guitarists Matt Kass and Derek Feinberg first started playing guitar together in fourth grade, only months after they’d both begun learning their instruments. All five members, including principle songwriter and vocalist Zach Djanikian, keyboardist/trumpeter Adam Flicker and drummer Josh Sack, attended the same middle school together, performing music with each another in various configurations during their high school years. By 2006, The Brakes had matured into a national touring act. The entire band would spend their 21st birthdays on the road, while going on to play dates with The Hold Steady, Robert Randolph, Widespread Panic and Willie Nelson among others.
"I think our history together adds a certain level of inter personal musical understanding. We anticipate each other musically, better than a band that’s three months old or is auditioning a new bassist," explains Flicker. "We feel the connection. It’s tangible. We’ve played a lot of music together. It’s like hanging out onstage every night with your best friends."