Braid weaves back together for a new EP and two shows
For context, I am 21 years old. I was not a teenager in the 90s, although there are many days that I wish I had been, or should have been. I like my music loud, energetic, and almost always accompanied by complex and jarring guitar sections. Oh and this guy: Bob Nanna.
Braid formed nearly 18 years ago. Their first release was Frankie Welfare Boy Age 5. It's a relatively full record with songs that, upon first listen, seem forgettable. The thing is, Braid is a band that you can't experience in a specific sequential order. I might even say they're a hard band to get into.
So, that being the case, I'm recommending everyone (humans, androids, ponies and small mammals) to go pick up their third record, Frame and Canvas first. Listen to it. Revel in it. If you don't believe me, check out their best song, "A Dozen Roses." You can even substitute "the" for "their" and still remain truly upstanding.
Breath taken away? I hope so.
Braid's newest EP, Closer to Closed hints at closure and an ending rather than a new beginning. In an interview with Miles Raymer of the Chicago Reader, Bob Nanna reaffirms that a new EP and two shows: one at the Metro on August 27th and one as headliners for the Pygmalion Music Festival in Champaign-Urbana on September 24th, does not mean Braid is back together.
The EP grew out of a desire to put out a two song 7-inch for Record Store Day last year. However, that did not come to fruition, so the group decided to make it a four song EP and release it this August. If after listening to "A Dozen Roses," which was released in 1998, you come to Closer to Closed with the expectations that 13 years hasn't changed anything about Braid, you're going to be slightly disappointed. The new EP is good. It's Braid, so it has to be good. Is it "A Dozen Roses" good? Probably not. It's a softer, more pop-rock record and has seemingly eliminated all the complex guitar work that Braid was known for, mainly because nobody got it back then. And in today's music scene, probably no one would get it now. I would be lying if I said wasn't completely addicted to the new EP, but I do really miss the heaviness of older Braid records. Let's face it, I'm at the age each member was (more or less) when Frame and Canvas was recorded. I connect with the aggressive guitars and screaming chants. They're older now and evolutions happen and this record reflects Braid as such.
Either way, it's incredible a band that, like so many great artists, has been more prolific after, rather than during their career. Braid's discography is something to marvel at, and Closer to Closed represents a nice new gem to the collection.
Off of Closer to Closed,"Universe or Worse":