December 7, 2012. A day that will live in infamy. That was the first time I mentioned Pony Boy on the pages of this site. It was a fairly auspicious beginning, since the post was my Top 100 Songs Of 2012 and Marchelle Bradanini’s onstage persona had nabbed a spot with a song that you can download free on MTV Hive (??? Ok……). It was a fresh take on the folk-Americana genre that was beginning to saturate the airwaves around that time, and one I found very appealing.
In the time since then Bradanini’s has released some singles and an EP (The Devil In Me) while playing shows in the UK and Australia. Unfortunately her touring schedule hasn’t brought her to many cities in the States, but if you’re in Los Angeles, NYC, or Nashville you might be familiar with her. Music City is where she lives in record, enlisting fellow Nashvillian Justin Collins (Deer Tick) to produce her first full-length, Blue Gold.
Pony Boy’s influences are all over the map, with obvious roots in 50’s era country jumping all the way to glam rock and shoegaze. On the Bandcamp page where you can stream/purchase the album it’s tagged as Doom Wop, which seems to be gaining in popularity and fits Blue Gold just fine.
Right off the bat with “When Tomorrow Never Comes” you get the big fuzzy guitars joined by a dark sense of dread. Throw in the regretful longing of Bradanini’s vocals and you’ve got yourself a great introduction to Pony Boy.its junk yard gospel for the enlightened willing to give it a shot.
A great video was released a couple months ago for the single “Metal Dreams.” It pushes the Julee Cruise/Twin Peaks comparisons to the forefront, to the point where I can hardly think of anything else when I see it. Solid video on its own merits, but it works especially well for Lynch fans. It hits the feeling of quiet desperation out of the park, with a sense of constantly searching for something just out of sight.
The other single, “Marquee Man,” might be the best example of those old and new influences coming together. It could be a straight-ahead Chicago blues/Motown hybrid tune and work just fine. Instead, Bradanini works in some quirky sounds you’d likely find on a record produced by Jon Brion to add a layer of modernity. It keeps the track locked into the timeless aesthetic I think Pony Boy and Collins we’re going for. Is it a new throwback or old and way ahead of its time?
Having been a fan for a few years now, Blue Gold pleases me to no end. It’s true to the sound I liked when I first heard her, and takes it just a little bit further. Hopefully she keeps evolving and people discover her stuff now that this is out. Speaking of, you can buy the album on Bandcamp for $7. It’s also streaming on Spotify if you’re one of those people who thinks an artist should be paid $0.00000001 every time you listen to them.