Tucson’s Brian Lopez, of the band Mostly Bears, just put out his first full length album as a solo artist, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but first I have to talk about myself. It’ll connect, I swear.
I spent a few years living and playing music in Tucson, and I couldn’t go for 15 minutes without someone talking to me about Mostly Bears or their lead singer Brian López. It used to annoy me - I’d listened to all of about 20 seconds of a Mostly Bears song on Myspace (does that date this?) and decided that they sucked, so why did everybody keep on talking about them so much? Then I saw the last ten minutes of one of their sets at Tucson’s Sky Bar and thought, “Okay, so they’re not awful or anything, but what’s the big deal?”. Then a few months ago, I played a house party that Brian López was at. The bands were playing out on the back porch, but right before my set it started to rain cats and dogs. We moved the equipment to the front room, but by that time the crowd had dispersed. So I did what I always do when there’s a group of musicians in a room together- I passed around my guitar.
Brian López took my guitar and started playing a song that he had written, and when he was done, I didn’t want the guitar back. I wasn’t going to do anything that came even close to what he had just done with nothing more than my guitar and his voice, so what was the point?
Here’s the thing about Brian and his music... He’s a classically trained guitarist who put in his dues doing the rock thing for a long time and has now broken out on his own to create eclectic, expansive, genre-hopping music. In other words, he’s a terrific musician whose story fits snugly into the archetype of Rock and Pop’s many front-men who have struck out on their own only to create the best music of their career. In Brian’s case, that music is his new record, Ultra, released this September on the German label Le Pop Muzik.
The album hasn’t come out yet in the states, so you won’t get a complete review of it here until it does: here’s what I can tell you based on the “sneak peek” Le Pop Muzik provided via Souncloud and a glance through Lopez’s various Internet presences: the album is wide-ranging, astute, and ornate. It will be released on Tucson’s Funzalo records at a later point (though no firm date for a US release is provided), and in the mean time Lopez is currently on a tour of France with Gabriel Sullivan, another Tucson personality of note.
Until then, check out Lopez’s music with the links up above and get giddy for the release of Ultra, whenever that is.