Pennan Brae harvests another crisp, fresh batch of tasty tunes with his latest album Picked — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The eternally prolific, boundlessly creative Vancouver singer-songwriter and multi-talent’s 11th studio offering — and the second volume of his Garden Series that kicked off with last fall’s Planted — Picked picks up precisely where its predecessor left off, with Brae delivering a new bumper crop of classic rock, vintage pop and anything else that floats his boat.
The 10-song album hits the ground running with the speedy single Zulu, a crunchy nugget fuelled by Brae’s chugging guitar chords, slinky licks and urgently whispered vocals. The energy and enthusiasm don’t let up for the duration of the 43-minute set. Paradoxical Recoil‘s choppy chords hit the sweet spot between Beggars Banquet-era Stones and early Devo. Shimmy‘s surging groove serves as a fine showcase for Brae’s fleet-fingered fretwork. Underground could be a long-lost deep cut from a late ’60s Kinks album. Super Storm programs a piece of robotically cool rock. And Dominos sets playful female vocals and chiming six-string melodies against neck-climbing chords, crafting a cool cut that’s fun for kids of all ages. As usual, everything comes flavoured with Brae’s signature ingredients: Elastically fluid picking, intimately dusty vocals and whimsically sharp-witted lyrics.
Like his past few albums, Picked was recorded at Vancouver’s Blue Light Studio with co-producer Kaj Falch-Nielsen, who also handled bass duties. Edward Whalen played drums and Alison Jenkins supplied backing vocals. The album artwork by photographer Dan Jackson reflects the gardening theme of the releases, with a guitar neck sprouting up from the ground — much as Brae’s artistic pursuits continue to flourish. Between 2018 and 2020, he was busy writing and crafting the soundtracks for two feature-length films: The Astronot and 2 Below 0. These films participated in over 100 film festivals, with The Astronot now streaming on Amazon Prime. “I miss filmmaking,” remarks Pennan, “and I’d love to get back into it, but now is not the time for that.”
Instead, Brae has fed his moviemaking jones by working on music videos for his YouTube channel. “These music videos have been really fun to make,” he exclaims. “It’s wonderful researching old film footage and; we can create them safely in the current environment. I’ve fallen in love with the medium. It’s really fun to clearly share the lyrical content of the songs