The past two years have been pretty strange for all of us, but particularly so for Dave Brandwein, co-founder of powerfunk band Turkuaz. After 10 steady years of touring as festival mainstays, the band suddenly splintered while on the road with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew, marking the 40-year anniversary of the Talking Heads’ classic Remain in Light album. Amidst a pandemic-induced shutdown, the dissolution of his marriage, and a stint in rehab, Brandwein moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Los Angeles, California, to pick up the pieces. He seized the opportunity to assess his past accomplishments with Turkuaz and the uncertain future that lay ahead, a chance to clean out his closet and start fresh.
Setting up a new home studio in his California home, Brandwein has turned to writing and producing for other bands – as he previously did in recording set-ups he had in Boston, Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint – coming full circle with the completion of the final two Turkuaz albums, Paradiso and Apollyon (both releasing on September 9), and the first releases from two new projects, New Originals and Band For Sale.
New Originals is a collaborative project between Brandwein and producer Rob O’Block, who first co-produced a pair of songs on Turkuaz’s 2018 album, Life in the City, as well as the forthcoming Paradiso. The songs reflect their origin, recorded between New York and Los Angeles (where Brandwein’s studios were based), and Nashville (O’Block’s home), three of modern music’s epicenters.
The debut single from New Originals, “Wasteland” features drummer Daru Jones (Jack White, Pete Rock, Jamie Lidell), Jerry Harrison, and Adrian Belew, with Turkuaz vocalist/electronic artist Danke providing vocals. LISTEN TO “WASTELAND” HERE.
“It seemed time for a new energy that could reflect more of the edge and darkness in my lyrics, and in the state of the world,” explains Brandwein.
If New Originals demonstrates the possible next step for Brandwein, Band For Sale looks fondly at his past, reflecting early influences such as The Beatles, Paul Simon and Jackson Brown. The upcoming album, Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon, spotlights songs and melodies he first hummed to himself at five years old, and others composed throughout his life.
Recorded on and off over the past decade, Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon is indeed a revelatory and deeply personal record for Brandwein, who produced and mixed the entire album himself. Blending British Invasion charm with classic rock grit and folk intimacy, it’s a timeless, breezy collection, one that manages to feel both deliberate and spontaneous, polished and raw, modern and retro all at once. LISTEN TO “THE URGE” HERE.
Some of the guest musicians to appear on the album include former Lucius vocalist Andrew Burri, The Stepkids drummer Tim Walsh, Turkuaz colleague Taylor Shell, The London Souls’ bassist Kiyoshi Matsuyama, Train drummer Matt Musty and Grace Potter bandmember Kurtis Keber, as well as drummer Jonathan Smith and guitarist Michael Haziza.
“I’m just discovering who I am as an adult, sober, not in a relationship or part of a band, living on my own,” Brandwein says. “I’m in a period of rediscovery, which is admittedly terrifying... I am taking this as an opportunity to figure it out. Having all this music come out after this time is kind of like a purging of all these things that made me who I was before and figuring out what the next phase holds.”