Words by Sean Walsh

Today JEFF the Brotherhood released Dig the Classics, a six-song collection of covers of their favorite songs from yesteryear. The Nashville duo offers up their distinctive psy-garage style take on cult classics from the likes of Pixies, The Wipers, My Bloody Valentine, Colleen Green, Teenage Fanclub, and Beck.

Is it the most prolific album you’ve ever heard? No. Is it a publicity stunt to promote next year’s follow-up to Hypnotic Nights? Maybe. Is it a demonstration in musical and emotional sincerity? One might believe so. Luckily for us plebian-esque fans, this is just a warm-up for their upcoming East and West Coast tours, in which some new material should undoubtedly be showcased.

The Orrall brothers have really played the fuzz out of these songs, each one resonating with a different psychedelic-garage-fuzz-punk element, truly leaving you stranded in another dimension in time—a dimension which years ago was muddied with mediocre acts striving for their shot at making it out from underneath their dad’s garage door. I remember that time, when the two red-headed boys from Wellsville had a leading children’s series whose theme music happened to be made by in-house band Polaris. Even more interesting, the show’s creators wanted to use a Pixies song for the credits, but could not get the licensing necessary. The Pixies clearly influenced that era—so much so that JEFF the Brotherhood felt the need to cover one of their favorites, “Gouge Away.” This is my favorite cover on the album.

Their take on Colleen Green’s “Cujo” is also particularly good, as new life is pumped into it by the Nashville rockers. Unfortunately, the rest of the release falls a bit short for me. Granted, this is a covers album. I happen to like a lot of the original versions of these songs better. I also think that the song selection is a bit off the beaten path, which is great for that on-top-of-everything-hipster-music-loving fanatic, but probably will not resonate with the same ferociousness in 2015 as if it were released in the nineties. In retrospect, maybe that is their the biggest selling point—the music and artists they have decided to cover on Dig the Classics are not staples of pop culture, but instead indicative of having an important role in the larger garage-rock movement.

Some say garage rock is dead—no, it’s not. In fact, this album may influence the right people to make the next wave of garage-fuzz-psychadelica happen. A movement that needs traction and momentum to fend off all of the absolute heaping piles of trash continuously being churned out of the all-powerful and hungry EDM/shit-pop hype machine. Everyone needs to know that there was a time when the music mattered. It didn’t need to have a dance attached to it, or a smut-filled, not-safe-for-work video in the background. It just needed to be turned the fuck up to eleven and actually heard and felt. This album isn’t so much about their strengths as musicians, but rather their genuine attempts at paying respects to both the music and the artists that paved the way for the artistically and lyrically different in this world full of endless copies of identically boring drones.

JEFF The Brotherhood
‘Dig The Classics’
Warner Brothers Records
© September 30th, 2014



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