Brandon Berry’s Short Takes

Short Takes

Our Short Takes today comes courtesy of Brandon Berry of The Paint Splats. The band came on the scene with a blast of indie rock goodness with “I Gutted My VCR” which eventually joined nine other songs for the first self-titled record released on November 16, 2019! A split with Mike Bankhead, “Defacing the Moon” came out around the same time! Some of Brandon’s contributions to that shared record includes the heartbreakingly beautiful “Annie”.

a2463795233_10This past March, The Paint Splats released a terrific EP …With a Side of Fries. That continues the terrific indie pop and humor that The Paint Splats are becoming known for in the Miami Valley. As Brandon wrote about the project: “An unhealthy blend of power pop melodies that grew up listening to garage rock and the man shouting obscenities from the comfort of a street corner.”

Reaching out to Brandon to ask if he would give us a few ‘Short Takes’ of music that he is listening to lately was an easy call for us to make here at YTAA. Take a few minutes and review his excellent recommendations!

The Kinks – Sleepwalker

In my high school band, we attempted to cover the Kinks – “All Day and All of the Night” and our “Lola” parody, “Ebola” – but I just passed them off as another forgotten novelty spawned from, and muddled up by, the swingin’ ’60s. It wasn’t until I started taking chances at the record store that I discovered their massive catalogue of inventive tunes that would serve as major inspiration for my own songwriting. The early stuff will always be dear to me, but their late ’70s and early ’80s albums, like Give the People What They Want and Sleepwalker, stand out for the risk-taking, something they’ve been known for since the amplifier cabinet-slashing origins.


kink2Life goes on
It happens ev’ry day
So appreciate what you got
Before it’s taken away


I’m not sure if there’s a more apropos quatrain for this present moment.

Kurt Baker – Brand New Beat

Power pop never died; the arena has just been cluttered by artists who shouldn’t be included in the category. There is hope, though. Musicians like Kurt Baker are keeping the original spirit alive. I came to this guy fairly late, but after hearing “Weekend Girls” and “She Can Do It All” from Brand New Beat, I had to get the record. I wear my nostalgia on my three-quarter length sleeves. The album cover alone would’ve been enough for me to throw down the cash. With vocal fluctuations à la Elvis Costello, I can’t help but get sucked into Kurt’s expertise in the genre.

a3565109622_10The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

When I write lyrics, I channel my inner John Darnielle. Destructive and off-putting sentiments with underlying sadness and regret over a major key chord progression. When I heard that he was recording a new album during quarantine, I had no idea the promo videos involving John and his sideways, trusty Panasonic tape deck would be the final product. Going back to his roots, he released the new batch of songs on cassette. I wasn’t around or conscious enough to consider myself an original fan, but I feel like I’m a part of something special now. I’ve been listening long enough that when a limited release such as this presents itself, I am to jump on the opportunity to be one of the few to have a copy. Though the cassette hasn’t been officially released, the lo-fi grain can be streamed online. Gather up your pagan crew. Do yourself a favor and listen to this record.

Various Artists

I have a playlist on Spotify called “songs that make me feel better,” which is comprised of mostly ’80s ballads and bops, like Mike & The Mechanics’ “All I Need is a Miracle” and “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister. You’d be surprised what else you can find in there. When I was a youngster, I discovered the Beatles and the Stones through my dad and the big haired ’80s through my brother, eventually blending and inspiring me to dive into genres from every era. During the time of mandated isolation (remember that?), I needed something positive to listen to, so I dug up the old playlist and added some new songs to the repertoire amongst all the Scandal and Wilson Philips songs:

YTAA MonsterI suggest you make a playlist like this, too, adding only tunes in the key of happy that you can dance to at the drop of a hi-hat. A dash of positivity never did any harm.

Many thanks to Brandon for sharing what he has been listening to with us!

your-tuesday-afternoon-alternative-color copy

Video of The Day: The Typical Johnsons – Sleepwalker

From their latest record, Rustbelt Renaissance, The Typical Johnsons have a great video for their song, Sleepwalker.

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From the band:

Sleepwalking…

Awake, but not awake…
We all know people just like this who shamble through life as sort of spectator. It’s like they are in the audience at their own private movie. The truth is, how many of us right now are pushing through the mundane architecture of our lives in a day-to-day grind that lulls us into this sense of waking sleep. We say it to each other all the time, things like, there’s always more time, or I will start tomorrow. We tell each other to “get out of the house” , or “go live your life” or the ever popular between friends “you deserve to be happy”, yet how many of us are doing that ourselves. How many of us are actively chasing the dreams we keep to ourselves because we are embarrassed to follow them or scared to break away from what people would consider safe or normal. I’ve watched more than a few dreams of my own crash and die along this very same line of thinking and there have been times where each one of us [The Typical Johnsons] has been sleepwalking through existence. Over here, we know the feeling rather well actually.

Ultimately, we all are attracted to those who forge the paths, who live life to it’s screeching, cataclysmic, beautiful and sometimes dizzying heights. Why are we so attracted to that? We believe it’s because deep down… way in the depths of your consciousness… you KNOW that you can be doing that “thing” you’re dreaming of and you aren’t. Maybe it’s just easier to semi-close your eyes and stumble blindly into the morning light and sleepwalk your way through another day. That’s what this song is about and that’s what we are about as a band. We sort of believe that if you have a dream, no matter how big or how small or how grandiose… you should go grab it. There’s a whole lot of life for you to live yet. What life do YOU want to live? WAKE UP… WAKE UP… WAKE UP…

The Typical Johnsons, are intensely proud to present the song and this video for Sleepwalker off our album Rust Belt Renaissance. After a band practice one day I asked my oldest daughter to come up with some lyrics just to see what she would bring back. Written in her messy handwriting, she brought back these words, “Where I’m running I don’t know” “Where I’m running is my choice alone”. This struck me pretty hard, that she would dive that deep into the pool, so to speak, so fast. I took it and ran with it and the song Sleepwalker was put onto paper. Andy, Jeff and Lynne brought the song to life and we all worked out the harmonies around the kitchen table on a cold Ohio night before heading off to Pearl Sound Studios outside of Detroit to record the thing with Chuck Alkazian. (It should be noted that the drumming was tracked by none other than Chuck himself and it put the capstone on what is without a doubt one of our favorite songs off this record.) This wonderful piece of video was created by Jake Wisecup, from WISEUP Entertainment, with not a little help from one of the great videographers in the area Joe Bardgill, of Broken Lamp Productions. Of course, this video would absolutely not have been the same without the beautiful Katherine Zacheis, who definitely is not sleepwalking through her days. A special thanks to Peach’s in Yellow Springs (One of the coolest towns in Ohio!), for the live shots (When we played with “The New Old Fashioned” !) Most of all thank you for taking the time to read this far and for watching the video. A few things to leave you with as you go live your life…

1: PLEASE Share this video.
2: Consider throwing us a like on Facebook or recommending the website www.thetypiclajohnsons.com
3: Buy the CD on iTunes / Amazon / Spotify or COME TO A SHOW!!!! and buy it there!
4: SUPPORT your local music scene wherever you are!

Peace, God Bless, and live this life to the blistering hilt. You only go around once…

As Hunter S. Thompson said… “Buy the ticket… take the ride…”
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For your critical evaluation… as you most certainly will…

Sleepwalker Lyrics:

Where i’m runnin i don’t know
Where i’m runnin is my choice alone
Always runnin never a choice
Always screaming without any voice

Tired of dreaming i am stuck in one place
I’m tired of dreaming of the wind in my face
Stuck in this dream caught in first gear
Stuck in a rut and paralyzed by my fear

But i dreamt this dream before
Drifting farther and farther from the shore

(Chorus)
I’ve lived my life / sleep walking through my days
Kept my eyes open in the haze
One foot in this world and another in my head
I’ve been sleep walking through my days
I’ve been sleep walking through my days … instead

Like an old dog , ready to fight
Too long in the tooth and too tired to try
Trained to be real hard but brought up on the leash
Scarred up paws and i’m scared of being beat

But i dreamt this dream before
Drifting farther and farther from the shore

I’ve lived my life / sleep walking through my days
Kept my eyes open in the haze
One foot in this world and another in my head
Sleep walking through my days (x2)