The former frontman for Bigfoot Buffalo previewed his new band for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by Troll for Trout, Sixman, Deadflower, Perren, Jeremy Ensley and more.
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To some fans, Kyle Brown & The Human Condition might come off as a “mellower Bigfoot Buffalo,” referring to Brown’s previous, rootsy West Michigan rock band.
But for Brown, it represents a long journey toward a fresh, more intentional, genre-melding approach with stronger vocals and songwriting.
The band dispatches new songs inspired mostly by the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii, the island paradise where Brown relocated in 2019-2020 while “taking a step back from music” – something he insists “did wonders for my writing.”
“I was able to give my songwriting the time and patience it needed, and I subsequently became a better writer. These songs have more subtle detail, especially lyrically, as compared to Bigfoot Buffalo,” he suggests.
“I’ve also taken a more natural approach to my singing instead of the rock ’n’ roll growl that I often approached Bigfoot Buffalo with. The result was more thoughtful songs and a more developed singer and songwriter in myself.”
Welcome to The Human Condition, a band Brown formed after moving to Montague in September 2021 and after recording his new batch of songs.
He first linked up musically with an old pal, drummer Mike Schertenlieb of Muskegon’s Flexadecibel, followed by bassist Kosta Karis and eventually, keyboardist Mikey Olsen.
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“We’ve been getting together regularly since the end of January 2022, and it’s been an incredible experience working with these guys,” Brown said of the group’s “really nice organic process” of developing its sound.
“We all come from different musical backgrounds, but we all speak the same language, and their dedication to the group and the input they’ve given on these arrangements has been an absolute blessing.”
The new band officially celebrates release of the debut studio album with a performance tonight (Friday, 22) at Founders Brewing Co. The free show — the first Grand Rapids appearance for The Human Condition — starts at 9 p.m. with Nathan Walton & The Remedy also on the bill. Details here.
To preview the new material, Brown showcased two tracks from the album – “The Thicket” and “The Sun” – for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE. You can watch a video for a third new track, “Built Like a Fish,” here and scroll down to listen to the other songs and the full radio show podcast.
VIDEO: “Built Like a Fish,” Kyle Brown & The Human Condition
Brown continues to lean on songwriting idols such as John Prine and Paul Simon, but he’s also found inspiration in the music of Anders Osborne, Dire Straits, Graham Nash, George Harrison, Western Centuries and The Gladiators.
Incorporating a mélange of jazz, world music and reggae textures amid his new music’s rootsy rock vibe, Brown said he’s also “toned back on the more aggressive rock ’n’ roll stylings” and “slightly toned back on the jam element” of his past project.
Add to that “a bit more depth” in his lyrics and, voila, Kyle Brown & The Human Condition are ready to hit the ground running this summer with performances at the Cowpie Music Festival in Alaska in early August, North Grove Brewers in Montague on Aug. 11 and Forest Trail Music Festival in Free Soil in late August.
Brown – who grew up in Ada, went to high school at Forest Hills Eastern and works in a woodshop by day – anticipates a more robust touring schedule for the band in 2023.
“We already have the next record in the books, or started in the books,” he said. “It’s been a really fun process bringing this project to life.”
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights local and regional music on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org at 11 a.m. Fridays – also boasted new music by Troll for Trout, Lost Magic, Sixman, Perren, Deadflower, Bradley Sinclair, James Spalink and Jeremy Ensley, as well as tracks by Samuel Nalangira and Nathan Walton & The Remedy. Listen to the radio show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (7/22/22)
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