I’m incredibly late to find out about Middle Brother, the semi-super group consisting of Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, John McCauley from Deer Tick and Matthew Vasquez from Delta Spirit, but the better late than never proverb definitely applies.

When I saw Deer Tick at Coachella last year, singer John McCauley announced that he had a side project entitled MG&V, and he played a song written by that band.  Although the music was good (and, performed by Deer Tick… sounded like a Deer Tick song), I could only focus on the poor choice of name, as popular indie rockers MGMT were playing the same festival later that night.  For that reason alone, I shrugged off the group.

A few months later I saw Deer Tick perform again, this time at Lollapalooza.  He announced an MG&V song again, and I had a similar reaction.  MGMT was also playing Lollapalooza.  McCauley has a rambunctious stage presence and a tendency to fire off drunken jokes in between songs, so I cast the title MG&V as a dig at the more popular indie rock band.

It took a short blurb in a music magazine to finally make me realize what I’ve been missing out on all this time.  MG&V now goes by the more fitting title of Middle Brother, and is actually serious.  And good.  Very good.

How could they not be with such an incredible lineup?  Dawes, Deer Tick, AND Delta Spirit?  Combined?  Those three groups are undoubtedly three of my favorite up and coming alt-country/folk-rock bands.

Deer Tick is a perfect homage to a time when country music was more raw and reckless, and the band’s live show is one of the best of any younger band I’ve seen in a while.  Delta Spirit has had me hooked since I first heard “Trash Can.”  I don’t know Dawes as well, but have always liked what I’ve heard.

Apparently I’m not keeping close enough tabs on any of those bands, however, because their combined debut album as Middle Brother was recorded almost two years ago.  The self-titled album was officially released a few weeks ago on March 1st of this year, and it definitely lives up to my high expectations of the supergroup.  With Middle Brother, the sum is greater than its parts.  The parts are better than most similarly-minded musicians out there.

One of the album’s standout tracks is “Me, Me, Me,” a song in which the three members trade off and share singing duties.  Here’s a video of the three performing the song at their December 20th performance at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

If we don’t hear anything more from Middle Brother in the future, we can still look forward to more impressive material from the members’ respective groups.

Will Hagle
Author, Earbits.com
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