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When former the Clips member Edo Van Breeman realized he'd written songs that didn't quite fit into his current band's fast-paced sound, the Miami-raised, Vancouver-based musician joined up with trumpeter Bryan Davis to fully realize the songs. Joined by Brennan Saul on drums and John Walsh on bass, the newly formed four-piece delivered their first EP, Old World Lies, in September 2008. After gaining positive reviews for the EP, the band were offered a residency as part of the 2009 Banff Musicians in Residence program at the Banff Centre in Alberta. Using the time to collaborate, write more material, and finally record, the now expanded six-piece -- which included Tariq Hussain on guitar and Sam Davidson on clarinet and EWI -- headed out on a tour of North America, although they realized they were unhappy with the resulting mixes of what would be their debut album. Returning to Vancouver, the band re-recorded and rewrote the material to fit their now-expanded sonic palette and their debut album, Mount Chimaera, finally appeared in March 2010. Receiving positive reviews upon release, although unfairly being dubbed indie-jazz rock by the press -- the band's fuller-sounding direction had more in common with fellow Canadians Arcade Fire and Tucson, Arizona's Calexico -- the album was eventually long listed for the prestigious 2010 Polaris Music Prize.
Putting the drawn-out recording process of their debut behind them, the band returned to the studio in 2011 -- this time with Colin Stewart (Ladyhawke, the Cave Singers) at his Hive Studios in Victoria, British Columbia -- to record their sophomore release. The resulting Mean Sun appeared the following year. Spending most of 2012 and 2013 promoting the album with tours across Canada, the U.S., and Europe, the six-piece eventually went their separate ways to focus on individual projects outside of Brasstronaut. With Van Breeman based in New York, drummer Saul in Winnipeg, and the rest of the band in Vancouver, the group opted for a democratic way of recording their third album, with each member adding a couple of songs into a pool of material. Taking a more stripped-back and upbeat approach than on 2012's Mean Sun, the band recorded the final touches at studios in New York and Vancouver, and once again brought in Colin Stewart to oversee the producing. Their self-titled third release appeared at the tail-end of 2016. ~ Rich Wilson
- Vancouver, B. C., Canada