In the final thirty seconds of “Feelin The Villains, Huh?” the downtempo beats that ALRIGHT brother deploys across the rest of the Tan Goth EP just break down. Here, concluding the minor progressions of synths and bleeps, the bottom falls away from the track, and a surreal surge of distorted guitars smolders to a close. The effect is one of sonic corrosion – but also something else. This dismantling of elements, three tracks in to a four track sequence, shows the punk element that sits like a lava bed beneath the new EP from the one-man project.
ALRIGHT brother has an incredibly prolific output. The DIY artist is responsible for a string of releases that have long been passed around the digital underground. His 2017 conceptual EP, different seasons, wasn’t the first release we’d heard from the man who calls Venice Beach home, but it was the first sequence of tunes that signaled the intended route that we explore here.
Moving away from acoustic guitars and the classic arsenal of the singer songwriter, it seems odd that we’d be discussing the punk ethos of the project that’s smooth, melodic and somewhat delicate. This sequence has a complexion of synth beds, digitally altered vocals, and a range of early 90’s equipment that point to the previous artists covered by ALRIGHT brother. Kendrick Lamar, The Velvet Underground, and George Michael each inform the DNA of the lyrics, passed through a beachy, breezy sound. Samples used called back Biggie Smalls, Maya Angelou, and NASA mission recordings. ALRIGHT brother travels through pop culture; he borrows this, he references that, he toys with what you know, and what you think you know. He delivers a kaleidoscopic result. Think about it, Tan Goth as a title makes no sense, but also it makes absolute sense. Put your tongue in your cheek and say it again. Nothing is sacred, and yet everything is sacred.
Opening track “This Could Be Us (But You Playin’)” signals the melodic ear. This thing is exquisite. It’s blissed-out, smokey, and hyper-normal. The bare-backed keyboard work that drifts in to punctuate the electronic palette is a master stroke; the sensitivity that ALRIGHT brother displays here is unusually vulnerable for a man so familiar with the cool, ultra-hip meme-universe.
Playing with the vacuity of social platforms another meme is explored. “Do It For The Gram” is a heartwarming, beautiful take. This track has a breakdown that was apparently designed to encourage every smoker to put down the bong, and tap dance. What ALRIGHT brother achieves with programmed beats is deeply refreshing. Something afforded to the DIY artist is the luxury of exploring their own branch of evolution. Aware, but unaffected by the other creatures sharing the landscape, we’re in a place of truly unique creatures.
Tan Goth isn’t a big release. Despite the growing audience, turning on to the work of this artist, the measure of this EP isn’t in how many people will hear the work of ALRIGHT brother. Instead, the standard of this work will be felt on some nuanced level. The initiated will recognize the openness of heart, and the motivation to move toward beauty, and away from the regular, basic bullshit of the noisier elements in your feed. There’s the very real sense that if you feel more beautiful, more optimistic, more open to change, ALRIGHT brother will consider this a good day at the beach.