Brain Idea

I consider my wife to be a great cook. Not because she develops groundbreaking, never-before-tasted recipes highlighted by exotic combinations of rare ingredients, but because she is able to take existing recipes, even things you’ve eaten hundreds of times, and make them exceptional by putting her own unique spin on them. What can I say? The girl knows how to make food her own.

Chicago’s Brain Idea approaches music in much the same way. The band’s strength lies in its ability to mash together established sounds—lo-fi fuzz, shoegaze, indie pop, hints of roiling punk and inebriated psych-rock—and blend those familiar ingredients into something that stands out on its own. Their songs, shimmering in a hazy, reverb-heavy atmosphere, lure you in like a mirage. Just when you think you know what you’re headed for, the surroundings shift—an unexpected tempo switch here or a jarring blast of distortion there—and, suddenly, everything’s changed. The metamorphosis may last for just a short moment or sometimes a minute or more, but inevitably, as quickly as it arrived, the mirage dissipates, and you find yourself right back where you started. And yet, despite this air of unpredictability, there is a feeling of comfortable familiarity to Brain Idea’s music—your ears have feasted on these flavors before and they’re more than happy to indulge in them again.

Unfortunately, details on the band are scarce. What I can say for certain is that the group released their nine-song debut cassette, The Survival Scrolls, in December of 2009, which led to a deal with Chicago imprint, Permanent Records (Steel Pole Bath Tub, Purling Hiss), who re-released the record digitally and on vinyl last year. In December, two tracks from the LP, “Days Blown Away” and “One More Time,” were made available as a free digital-only single by Atlanta-based Double Phantom Digital, which is how I came to know the band.

You can stream and download the two tracks in the player below or on Double Phantom’s Bandcamp page. The files can also be downloaded directly via Mediafire.

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