You may remember Brandon from his last album, Dandelions, his 2009 post stage 3 cancer recovery catharsis in the form of a record. Now, two years later the 10 year LA resident has never been more excited about making music, a fact that is overtly evident in the Chamber-Folk-Pop 13 Satellites. Brandon describes the album as “Beach Boys meets T-Bone Burnett meets Emmitt Rhodes, with a sprinkling of Jon Brion,” but I call it his Sgt. Pepper’s. There’s really nothing not to love about this album.
Its the lush, whimsical, beautifully textured multi-layered and engrossing nature of 13 Satellites that makes the comparison for me. The Beatles genius may have been most widely recognized on their White Album, but no one argues the sheer and utter brilliance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, arguably the greatest flight of fancy in their catalog. 13 Satellites is a snapshot of album created in a playful state chock full of gusto.
There is a distinct jubilance and innocence to the album, which is emphasized by the bookends of the instrumental, lyricless Annie introduction and Fading (Outro). As we wander through the magical sanctuary of songs, Brandon evokes the feeling of excited wonder mostly forgotten after the age of 5 in songs like Early Morning Night or Building A Boat, bounces buoyantly through songs like Full Circle Round and Satellite and even serenades us with lullabies in A Daydream (…or 2 am Serenade) or our favorite My Love Won’t Let Me Down. It’s a tactile warmth and secure feeling we recognize in our solar plexus as your girl in music listens to the album, becoming so engrossed in the music while driving home from her everyday lunch spot she misses the turn entirely, but fails to realize for at least three blocks.
What also makes 13 Satellites so special is the all too apt name. 13 Satellites was born as a cross-continental collaboration with Schott’s good friend and drummer extraordinaire Billy Hawn during the spring of 2010 – and also features tracks flown in from Portland, OR, Manchester, NH and finally, just down the road Burbank, CA where Schott’s longtime collaborator Jason Wormer mixed and mastered the record into a warm, deep groove. This is perhaps the most inherently well-travelled of all his albums. It’s also the first Brandon recorded and arranged at his home on his own rig.
What this record boils down to for us is the perfect weekend/after work album to unwind to. It’s good for what ails ye, whatever that might be.
Final Verdict: #worth
Binary Rating: 1