Current Releases

Brainstory "Sounds Good"

Big Crown Records is proud to present Brainstory’s sophomore full-length album Sounds Good.

Based in L.A. but hailing from the Inland Empire’s own Rialto, California, two-thirds of Brainstory, Kevin and Tony Martin are brothers by blood, while Eric Hagstrom is a brother through their music and long term friendship. Since they started the band they have constantly faced situations that forced them to rise to the occasion. They got signed to Big Crown Records, they stepped up their game. COVID happened, they learned to record themselves. They started touring a ton sharing the stage with the likes of Lady Wray and they got their live show super tight. All of this time spent grinding and growing has certainly paid off. The path to take their art to the next level is clearer than ever, and once again, they are here for it. If there is one thing that is abundantly clear on Sounds Good, it’s that Brainstory has leveled up.

Part of this evolution is undoubtedly attributed to having access to and working constantly in their own studio in Long Beach. Another major factor is that their brotherhood has expanded. “I’ve been playing music with my brother all my life and now with Eric for a long time,” Tony tells us. “Leon, though, is like another brother I’ve just met.”
Leon Michels, Big Crown’s co-owner, produced this record and applied his unmistakable golden touch in crucial ways. The other member of the extended Brainstory brotherhood whose contributions were essential to the album, is studio engineer legend Jens Jungkurth who controls the tones and textures of the music. “That’s what you’re hearing, our connection, the fun moments, the little details,” Kevin describes. “This record isn’t half what it is without them—and it made us want to match that effort,” and match that effort they did.

Album opener “Nobody But You” is an uplifting, dance floor burner, that shows off a new side of Brainstory’s range. Drummer Eric Hagstrom’s crushing back beat lays the foundation for an inspirational feel good banger that manages to take the uncomfortable truth that “nobody will save you but you” and turn it into pure blissful motivation. “Peach Optimo” is a laid back half time tune that blends the bounce of Down South Hip-Hop with California G funk and Jazz. They once again show off their B said ballad talents with “Gift Of Life” but this time taking the genre to a new place with lyrics about existentialism and a track that is drop dead gorgeous, haunting, and profound all at once. “NyNy” is an homage to Kev and Tony’s recently deceased grandfather while “Too Yung” is a show stopping, deeply personal, stripped down number about being introduced to alcohol at a young age. They put another hit on the boards with “Hanging On,” a Latin / Psychedelic Soul inspired banger featuring Claire Cottrill on background vocals while “XFaded” addresses the all too common vicious cycle of smoking and drinking too much over a trippy shuffle.

“It’s been four years since our last full length record, and with everything that’s happened since, it’s like we’ve been catching up to ourselves.” That’s one way to describe change: catching up to oneself. Each member of Brainstory has gone through shifts, both personally and musically, and all of that threads through Sounds Good. It’s easy to say that the music industry can be short on lasting, genuine relationships. However, for Brainstory, from day one it’s been about standing by each other, for each other. Their friendship started the group, and now, this expanded brotherhood is supporting them to push it further. The stars have aligned for them to take a big and well deserved step with this new album and it couldn’t have happened to a better group of guys. Ups and downs of course, but they are acutely aware of how good the big picture has been for them and you can hear it in their music—music that just Sounds Good.

Emel "MRA"

Tunisian- American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, Emel Mathlouthi, also known as EMEL, will is back with her 4th Studio album, MRA, out now.

“A beautiful 100% Feminine/female odyssey, an ode to women, sisterhood and humanity”

claire rousay "Sentiment"

claire rousay is a singular artist, known for challenging conventions in experimental and ambient music forms. rousay masterfully incorporates textural found sounds, sumptuous drones and candid field recordings into music that celebrates the beauty in life’s banalities. Her music is curatorial and granular in detail, deftly shaped into emotionally affecting pieces. sentiment is a meditation of the poignant emotional terrains of loneliness, nostalgia, sentimentality, guilt, and sex. The album’s narrative arc is guided by delicate musical gestures and artistic vulnerability, audaciously synthesizing disparate and unexpected influences. rousay crafted the songs in various homes, bedrooms, hotels, and other private places, the feeling of time and energy spent alone radiating from each passage. The album is a collection of heart-rending, incisive pop songs that explore universal feelings with subtlety and remarkable vision.

rousay’s vocals and guitar take center stage on sentiment. Her intimate, diaristic lyrics contrast with her mechanical-inflected vocal effects, emphasizing a powerful desire for connection, a deep yearning and a lingering sense of separation. The spare guitar playing and laconic tempo both drive the songs and exude a sense of resignation. Her delicate mastery of nuance draws on her explorative musical past that she, with sincerity and admiration, seamlessly interweaves into her adventurous textures and distinctive compositions. “I want to belong to the worlds and communities I look up to. Same as someone using a Fender guitar or dressing like Kurt Cobain. Emulate your heroes,” says rousay.

From a sprawling math-rock duo, to an array of emo-inflected rock outfits to a hired hand in evangelical worship bands, rousay worked as a percussionist for over a decade before shifting her focus to the solo collage work she’s known for. sentiment folds those experiences into her compositions. rousay explains, “As the drummer in an evangelical rock band, it’s your job, with the singers, to manipulate the crowd. You start building on the drums and you know it’s one bigger chorus and then we’re out and you can see the tears, people just start crying. I still feel a version of that when playing my own shows now.”

The album balances the poetic soul of her influences with a documentarian heart, rousay capturing moments of her life while living alone in houses across the country, learning to play guitar, and reconnecting with pop music. “I have been on a quest to communicate my feelings and ideas as clearly as possible lately. Pop seemed like the way to do that this time,” says rousay. The confessional nature of sampled fragments of conversation give her pieces a specificity and sense of intimacy that is both immediate and curious. rousay’s innate ability to conjure pure feeling from sound derives from her delightful embrace of pop forms, the vulnerability found in field recordings, minimalistic arrangements and innovative sound choices. The resulting songs of sentiment are as anthemic as they are breathtakingly personal. sentiment is blissfully, achingly melancholic, and an undeniably sensual listening experience.

The Juniper Berries "Death and Texas"

Facing the tragic passing of both his brother and grandfather, as well as the looming pandemic, The Juniper Berries’ Josh Stirm hit upon a strange realization. “The grief felt weirdly impersonal,” The Austin-based multi-instrumentalist says. “It brought me a broader understanding of what it means to love people and lose them.” Stirm turned that overwhelming connection to the very idea of connection into Death and Texas, a set of character-driven tracks that explore loss as an affirmation of life.