Seemingly since the dawn of time, or at least since man’s vocal cords were developed enough to create hums and grunts, life and death have concurrently inspired song. For Kings of the Brushwood Thicket’s Bruce Brauer, the inspiration behind the band’s initial slew of material was an especially tragic one: the loss of both his father and uncle and his own realization of his place just a little further up the line in the family patriarchy.

Formerly a member of Dog Society (a band that once premiered a single right here on Popdose), Brauer spearheaded the Kings’ debut album, The Lies You Leave Behind, creating a raw, acoustic pop account of loss and remembrance that sounds disturbingly like ’70s Bowie. What makes the entire collection of songs so magnificent is the relatablity of not only the lyrics, but also the simplicity of the orchestration. There are no weird, obnoxious instruments to distract us from the emotional vibes, just the dirging drums of “Sweep Away,” the brusquely upbeat tempo of “An Open Letter to GOD,” and the heartbreaking nostalgia of “Time Moves On.” Trust me, keep a tissue or two nearby. This is the kind of album that moves you in every way possible. Kudos to Brauer for allowing us to experience his catharsis and, in turn, discover our own.

Take a listen to “He Was a Man,” a folky eulogy that’s surprisingly catchy and infectious, from The Lies You Leave Behind, and be sure to check out the Kings of the Brushwood Thicket’s debut album when it drops on May 5.

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About the Author

Allison Johnelle Boron

Allison lives in Los Angeles where she is a freelance music journalist, jug band enthusiast, and industry observer. She is also the editor of REBEAT magazine. Find her on Twitter.

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