Fill in the Blanks with Dave Brett of Busses

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted May. 11, 2010

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Photo by Rebecca Mott

You’d be surprised by how much complete and utter horseshit crosses our desks here at Philadelphia Weekly. If that sounds ungrateful, sorry, but some of it is just inexplicable. Why are we on the mailing list for the Bette Midler Christmas album, for instance? Or, oh, never mind. Won’t name any more names lest feelers get hurt. Point is, when something worthwhile comes through, we celebrate. And Philly threesome Busses’ new, self-released and self-titled album is something worthwhile indeed. Gutarist/vocalist Dave Brett, drummer Nick Apice and multi-instrumentalist Jason Bachman have written seven tightly wound gems that pack an emotional wallop. Take “House Fire,” for instance. On it, Brett’s usual high register is taken up a notch, replaced by a frenzied vibrato that would make the Darkness’ Justin Hawkins envious. The music ebbs and flows underneath him, dropping out completely after reaching a mammoth crescendo. “The dynamic drops and the fire starts,” Brett says. “It builds and builds until it’s a full-on blaze leaving nothing but embers.” Busses record release show is this Thursday at the Khyber. We started a couple sentences for Brett, and asked him to finish them. He obliged.

I was in a really bad/weird place emotionally when we were writing ... “Not so much bad/weird place, but ‘Safe Vacation Destinations’ was written around the time of the Mumbai attacks. Around this same time a friend of mine was traveling abroad and was assaulted and robbed at gunpoint. This all had me feeling pretty agoraphobic and these words came out with the music to match.”

The song I’m most proud of on our self-titled new album is ...“Foundation Myth,”’ because it covers the spectrum of sounds and approaches we have throughout the album. It was also the first song we worked on as a three piece. It had gone through so many different iterations by the time we settled on the version we recorded. This song helped establish how we write as a band.”

People keep telling us we sound like ... “We’ve heard comparisons to Television, Built To Spill and Yes, mostly because of the vocals and meandering song structures. We’d love to fully embrace the Yes reference if Jason would just start wearing a cape.”

There are only three of us in the band, and that makes it harder to ... “Have a scapegoat, load gear and pay band-related expenses. It’s also a challenge live to pull off everything we ended up doing on the recording. That said, we all really dig bands that have a different live experience than their recordings. Also, we’d be at a disadvantage in the event of a brawl with another band. You won’t find us talking any shit to the Oh! Pears gang. They have like 27 members and would totally kick our ass.”

There are only three of us in the band, and that makes it easier to ... “Make decisions. The writing and recording process is pretty fun and easy, as each of us has a distinct part of the sound we cover. We’re not stepping on each other. And actually, there’s five of us in the band anyway, when considering Jason plays bass, keys, sings, and hopefully will start playing trumpet.”

As a vocalist, I can really achieve some high pitches and top-end registers because ... “When I started playing in bands, I had to belt it out to be heard over the other instruments. That’s the sound that came easiest. With practice, I was able to develop a full range without hurting myself or losing my voice.”

Thurs., May 13, 9pm. $8. With Imperial China, Corey Duncan (of Oh! Pears) + Jeff Zeigler (of Arc in Round). Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888.

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1. Barbara Hoepp said... on May 12, 2010 at 09:34PM

“Been listening to Busses in my car and although it is not my usual listening, I am really beginning to appreciate what these guys are doing. I especially like tracks 3 and 7.”


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