Similar Approach, Different Result: Rog & Glenn's Second Release of 2013, Martians, Out Soon
In music, breaking rules and challenging conventional wisdom are often deliberate efforts to establish a marketing niche, but for Rog & Glenn they’re a natural state of being.
The duo’s January 2013 release, Close The Club, garnered rave reviews from indie music critics with long attention spans but violated the modern requirement that pop and rock music provide instant gratification – a violation for which Rog & Glenn were unapologetic.
With their new release, Martians, the two have moved away from the progressive rock pacing of their previous effort, producing 12 tracks that more closely resemble pop songs in terms of length and musical form, but this is not to say the music is conventional.
“Even our friends and musical colleagues aren’t quite sure what to make of this stuff,” said Glenn Hubbard, a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer who had a long list of credits before his recent work with Roger Brandon.
“This music even surprises us when it comes out, so no wonder it takes others a while to get their heads around it,” Brandon said.
The two began writing and recording music together as high school students in Boone, North Carolina. Both have been involved professionally in the music industry through the years – Hubbard as a hired-gun instrumentalist in variety bands, pit orchestras, restaurants, bars, and as a freelance recording engineer-producer – Brandon on the business side, formerly working in management at a large western North Carolina concert venue.
They have rarely gone more than a year or two without bouncing musical ideas off each other, but their collaboration took on a new vitality in early 2012 when a musical “guys’ weekend” yielded an unexpected cache of song ideas, most resulting from a creative approach more akin to improvisational comedy than musical composition.
“We’ve been fascinated with the ‘rules of improv’ – the idea that actors working opposite one another are supposed to accept all offers and build on them, rather than say, ‘no, let’s try something else’,” Hubbard said. “The result is a lot of crazy, incomplete ideas, from which we pick our favorites to refine using more traditional songwriting, arranging, and record-production techniques.”
This was not Hubbard’s first venture into musical improvisation. He spent much of his youth playing gigs with his father, Bill Hubbard, a jazz musician who ran big bands in Miami in the 1950s and North Carolina in the ‘80s.
“I think more of my jazz influence shows up on this album than the last one,” Hubbard said, “but, then again, I’m the worst person in the world at analyzing my own music.”
What is clear is that the duo’s unusual influences result in unusual pop-rock music, described as quirky, pensive, funny, intense, powerful, and even silly.
“We’ve been compared with They Might Be Giants, Frank Zappa, and Steely Dan, with more than a little hint of Pink Floyd mixed in,” Hubbard said, “which is great, because we love those artists.”
“There’s also a significant jam-band influence, although we avoided long jams on this album, trying to keep it song oriented,” Brandon said.
Martians, by Rog & Glenn, will be released December 1 on CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and many other platforms. More information is available at RogGlenn.com.