The Bright Light Social Hour are an Austin-based band comprised of Jackie O’Brien on bass guitar and vocals, Curtis Roush on guitar and vocals, Edward Braillif on synthesizers and guitar, and Zac Catanzaro on drums. One year after their third full-length Jude Vol. I, they announced the follow-up Jude Vol.2 which will be out on August 28th via Roll Call Records.
With these two albums, they found making music to be a healing, a cathartic process after the band was deeply shaken by grief. A journey through psychedelic rock and shoegaze with a melancholic feeling throughout.
In 2015, around the release of the Austin group’s second album Space Is Still The Place, Jackie’s brother Alex, the band’s manager of four years, was deep in the delusional throes of severe and sudden bipolar 1 disorder. It was a time of immense stress and intensity for the musicians, who began writing songs for a new album in their home studio on Lake Travis as Alex spiraled. The songs took a turn when Alex took his own life on the shore of the lake, witnessed in its aftermath by Jackie.
“It was a terrible thing, but it was also the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced and probably will ever experience,” Jackie says. “This was all happening as we started the record. Not all the songs are about Alex, but I think even the ones that aren’t all have a bittersweet mix of overwhelming beauty and terrible loss. The music deals with the ripples it caused in all of our Lives”
The contiguous albums, titled after Alex’s middle name, are about what it means to lose someone and then be left to pick up the pieces. According to the press release, There are elements of shoegaze, drawn from bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, as well as Krautrock and New Wave. In November of 2017, the band drove to Los Angeles, armed with 18 songs that confronted their feelings of grief and loss, and spent several months recording in Sunset Sound with producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). There they narrowed the tracks down to 14 and found inspiration in the historic studio.
“Being in such an iconic space really made us rise to the occasion,” Jackie notes. “It felt like we had to make something that might be smiled upon by all the spirits of the amazing artists like Prince and The Doors who have recorded there over the years.” “It was the smoothest recording process I think we’ve ever had,”
“Enough” is the first excerpt. Listen below.