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LISTEN UP!!! Great new CD by T.S. Brooks

T.S. Brooks
Reacclimator

Self-Released, 2011

Reviewed by Kent Manthie

[Recorded between January and February, 2011, in sunny San Diego, CA, at the House of Plenty. New songs, like ‘Spiral anymore’ and ‘When you sleep’ blend well with hitherto unrecorded live favorites ‘Ribbon’ and ‘Kelly in se.’ Quite raw, quite sparse, quite real; and only available digitally (until further notice). ~ From the artist’s download page. Editor]

Out of the blue I was just turned on to this troubadour, T.S. Brooks, a native of San Diego who is currently living it up in Berlin. The album that has turned me on to him is his latest, Reacclimator, which is his third album under his real name.

I don’t know how I could’ve missed him, as eclectic and being the low-fi, neo-folk, singer-songwriter in the tradition of geniuses past such as Nick Drake, Tim Buckley and Robyn Hitchcock. But, hey, better late then never!

For the past 11-12 years, Brooks has been recording records under the nom de plume, Minmae, as well as many single releases, collaborations with other like-minded bands/artists as well as contributions to various compilation CDs. Also, during his time as Minmae he did a LOT of touring – criss-crossing North America five times as well as a multitude of gigs up and down the East & West Coasts as well as the occasional turn at some music festival, e.g., SXSW & CMJ.

Reacclimator, as was mentioned, is his third “solo” (?) album, a follow-up to The Spanish Years which has been in record industry limbo for some time now, but for you need-to-hear mavens who love to hear the freshest, idiosyncratic indie workmanship, you can get to it through his MySpace page: www.myspace.com/tsbrooks.

Brooks’s first album as T.S. Brooks, Tertiary Allotment is a Delightfulness was released on San Francisco’s Snowstorm music last year (2010) and it made its way around the country through that wondrous, almost-magical thing called word-of-mouth that is so crucial to getting one’s indie gems to the ears of people who know where to look for such hip, new stuff and it’s helped build up a cult-following for Brooks.

The main groove running through the veins of Brooks’s work is its sparseness: on Reacclimator all the songs are just Brooks singing and playing acoustic guitar. But the feeling one gets from listening to these introspective, heart-felt tunes makes the quiet, folksy, almost Neil Young-like creativity, seem gigantic in its thoughtfulness and soul-baring nakedness.

Of the eight songs on Reacclimator, it’s impossible to pick one or two out and say that they are the best, when each one is a creative opus in itself; it’s definitely an album that is meant to be listened to all at one sitting, though not a concept album in any obvious way. But a couple tunes worth mentioning, just for one to pick up a good feel of where he’s coming from include: “Angel On a Pin”, “California Grass” and “Lori to the Nines”.

T.S. Brooks should definitely be heard by those who cried when Elliott Smith snuffed it, who get lost in some of the lush beautiful acoustic melodies of Neil Young or love the low-fi bigness of Lou Barlow’s superb songwriting, whether with Sebadoh or the too-short-lived Folk Implosion. Brooks is just that good, captivating and should be heard.

KM

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