Monday, October 10, 2011

Philadelphia-based musician Benjamin Schurr to release new album of dark sentimental songs as Br’er.

In his hands, industrial soundscapes, bittersweet songwriting, modern classical music still sound pop.


 Benjamin Schurr of Br’er as photographed by Darian Scatton.



“You Go, We’ll Stay Here” is the first single from the upcoming Br’er album City of Ice.



Philadelphia-based songwriter Benjamin Schurr (recording under the name Br’er) will release City of Ice, the follow-up to Br’er’s 2007 album Of Shemales and Kissaboos via the Edible Onion label on November 22nd. The first single from the album “You Go, We’ll Stay Here” is now available for free download.

Schurr’s influences range from the dark songwriting of Leonard Cohen and Michael Gira of Swans to 60’s pop and even the sounds of Philadelphia itself, with Schurr explaining that “The sounds and rhythms of the trains are what influenced the album’s percussion.” On City of Ice these bleak industrial soundscapes, bittersweet pop songwriting, and modern classical music are combined with the refined hand of a young, but experienced songwriter.

Schurr’s sensitivity to his surroundings is what makes City of Ice such compelling listening.  “Since Br’er is a personal coping mechanism for me, I really want the music to reflect the lyrics appropriately and to get the right sounds by any means necessary,” says Schurr.

This meant either learning an instrument simply to satisfy the need for a specific part or as Schurr states, to arrange for “musical one night stands” by recruiting players he’d meet at parties. Schurr would record them and typically never see them again. While extreme, this method served his mandate to honor the vulnerable subject matter on the album.

Like a dark, electronic version of The Smiths or Bright Eyes produced by Trent Reznor, the songs on City of Ice are also similar to those artists by satisfying the listener’s need for intensely personal songs containing universal truths and accessible melodies. Focusing on topics that tend to be marginalized such as abuse, displacement, and mental illness (love and joy make appearances too), Br’er manages to still wrap it in a way that commands repeat listening.

City of Ice comes packaged in a double gatefold CD sleeve built out of recycled paper, with an attached booklet containing lyrics and photography. The sleeve is housed in handmade cases covered in gel transfers of photography used in the album artwork on top of acrylic and watercolor washes. Each one is unique and hand numbered.

City of Ice will be released on November 22nd, 2011 by Edible Onion Records. Benjamin Schurr is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.


Br’er On Tour

10/26 Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA (531 North 12th St.) w/ David Liebe Hart
10/27 Brooklyn, NY @ 10 Forward (13 Thames [#3])
10/28 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY @ Bard College w/ Eskimeaux & Bellows
10/30 Lowell, MA @ The Sock Hop Daytime Acoustic Halloween Brunch
11/01 Easthampton, MA @ The Flywheel (43 Main St.) w/ Jordan Knecht
11/02 Burlington, VT @ The Monkey House (30 Main St.)
11/04 Buffalo, NY @ The Vault (702 Main St.)
11/05 Jamestown, NY @ Labyrinth Press Company (12 E. 4th St.) w/ Jerry Fels & The Jerry Fels
11/08 Peoria, IL @ Copper River Coffee & Tea (2535 W. War Memorial Dr.)
11/10 Beloit, WI @ Music House (716 Emerson St.)
11/14 Lincoln, NE @ The Powerhouse (1122 D St.)
11/15 Omaha, NE @ Side Door Lounge (3530 Leavenworth)
11/18 Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves (411 E. Sycamore) w/ Baruch The Scribe
11/19 Little Rock, AR @ House Show For Info:
11/20 Memphis, TN @ The Lamplighter (702 Madison Ave.)
11/22 St. Louis, MO @ LEMP (3301 Lemp Ave.)
11/25 Murfreesboro, TN @ House Show For Info:
11/28 Charleston, SC @ Communications Museum (58 George St.)


City of Ice
(Edible Onion – Nov. 22nd, 2011)

Track Listing:

01. I’ve Forgotten Nothing
02. Milk of Kindness
03. You Go, We Stay Here (STREAM | MP3)
04. Hope
05. Sea of Doubt
06. The Butcher
07. City of Ice
08. The Kissing Glove
09. Coersion
10. Safe Word
11. Oestrus


Br’er Links


Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion

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