Following the release of last year’s energetic single “Silver Streets”, Thomas Killian McPhillips VII, Derek Tramont, and Ryan Colt Levy of BRAEVES zealously uprooted themselves from the familiarity of New York to explore how the band could flourish with a little change in scenery.
“When the prospect of moving to LA came up,” said Tramont, “It was a lightning bolt that hit us so hard, we just picked up and drove across the country together, practically no questions asked.”
And “Bitter Sea” makes it clear: California sun sure suits them well.
Equal parts love letter and break-up song, the track illustrates a bittersweet goodbye to a personified New York City.
“We were kind of at odds with the New York music scene, partly because we have been living and playing in New York all our lives,” recounts Tramont. “It could have been Chicago, London, or Portland. I’m sure you would grow tired of your hometown; that’s just natural. But we felt a bit of a disconnect. Whether it was some of the bands we played with, the venues, or the real lack of a music ‘scene,’ something just felt like it was holding us back from truly expressing ourselves.”
It’s a new kind of relationship they’re developing with LA, as the band “really needed something that would make us feel like we were growing and not just stagnating…something drastic needed to change to get us to the place we want to be.” But while BRAEVES may be based on the West Coast now, lyrics such as, “And the more my body tells me I’m entranced/The deeper in your quicksand I’ll descend” show that even if you leave New York, it never quite leaves you.
Recorded at Red Rockets Glare with Raymond Richards (known for his work with Local Natives, whom the band often cite as a key influence), “Bitter Sea” illustrates a fresh vivacity and prowess that were never lacking in older songs, but rather, have been elegantly refined. It has BRAEVES sounding refreshed without straying from the soulful and shimmering echoes that define their ethereal sound, and it has us eager for their forthcoming sophomore EP.
Stream the track below, and if you’re on the West Coast, catch them live, where you certainly won’t be disappointed. Plus, you might just be lucky enough to hear even more new songs: