You'd never know it listening to Dig Up The Dead by the Mansions, which is Browder's one man band that recruits musicians for live performances. Fact is you might not know it listening to his earlier releases, New Best Friends or Best Of The Bees, either.
Yet it was just seven years ago that Browder was equally known for his self-described "weird obsession" with the song White Houses by Vanessa Carlton. So obsessed that he skipped his afternoon classes to record an acoustic cover of the song as his alter ego Bristopher Crowder. More covers followed, but now they are as hard to find as the band Once More Than Never.
Dig Up The Dead by the Mansions is bittersweet and unflinching.
As the latest self-produced album, Dig Up The Dead is superbly brilliant as a dark, brooding, and fuzzy mix of acoustic and alternative rock. It's the kind of music that makes you want to pour a whiskey sour and dig into the sincerity of it. It also makes you realize all his early sarcasms hint at what he calls a lack of confidence. Even one recent interview alludes to it.
"Last time the record sort of just came out and no one really knew about it, so that's probably what I expected this time," Browder told Musik Discovery. "But reviews have been really positive and it seems like people are getting into it and responding to the songs, which is kind of incredible and a huge relief."
Relief or not, Browder is just getting started. Word of mouth and a growing list of solid undercard reviews are carrying Dig Up The Dead forward across the Northwest. On the East Coast, you can catch him live in May when he plays Brighton Music Hall in Boston, The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City, and Club Hell in Providence for starters.
After, Browder will work over to the Midwest on a non-stop schedule with at least one show booked every day into June. Here's a clip of what you might get, keeping in mind he'll will team up with friends and strangers on tour (people like Jarrod Gorbel, David Bazan, Salvatore Cassato, Robin Dove, or Ryan Davis, to name a few).
Dig Up The Dead is the title track and sets the mood. But all ten songs on the playlist have a much bigger sound amidst the angst of it all. When you check out the samples, start with the crunchiness of Blackest Sky, the honesty within Close The Door, and the candid, open and seamless build that makes You Got Cool memorable.
There isn't a bad song in the bunch. It's almost impossible to believe that it was recorded mostly over a six-month period. During that time, Browder didn't even have a set place to lay it down. He just recorded in whatever house or apartment he happened to spending the night.
Dig Up The Dead By The Mansions Breaks Earth At 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Dig Up The Dead is exactly the kind of offering from the Mansions that ought to give Browder the lift he deserves. Past efforts have been solid but everything about this unpolished album nails the space between no concern for what anyone thinks and masterfully written, composed, and mixed. Browder is one to watch.
Dig Up The Dead is available for download on iTunes. You can also find Dig Up The Dead on Amazon. Browder also offered an unreleased acoustic edition with artwork drawn on the CD. Limited to 100, it sold out in hours.