Young Nashville musicians Robbie Jackson and Gusti Escalante comprise Keeps, a band with an uncanny knack for pleasantly languid guitar music. The songs on their album Brief Spirit conjure many different kinds of beauty — shimmer, jangle, sparkle, chime — all while grounded in vaguely rootsy pop-minded rock. The duo namechecks a handful of titanic influences — Yo La Tengo, the Go-Betweens, the Cure — and if you dig that sort of pantheon college rock, Keeps are a band you should hold on to. Some words from Jackson and Escalante:
Brief Spirit was recorded over the course of a year and a half with songs we’d written our sophomore and junior years of college. As a whole, the record tackles the experiences we’ve had over the course of that year whether it was heartbreak, the loss of loved ones or just the pains of growing up. While it is by no means a concept album, there does seem to be an overarching idea that flows throughout the record. An idea that stems from the naivety of adolescence, the overbearing shadow of adulthood, and the seemingly never-ending question of what happens next. Taking over a year to write and record these songs helped form them into a consistent narrative that we feel truly captures this period of our lives.
Many things inspired this record. Yo La Tengo and Spiritualized were easily the two biggest musical inspirations along with The Cure, The Go-Betweens, Television and so many others. We spent so much of that year trying to discover new music and find inspiration in both film and art. From the start, we didn’t set out to create a record that reinvented indie rock, but instead wanted to write songs that felt the most natural with what we were listening to and experiencing. We feel that there is something special in an record that still holds a certain uniqueness but is no doubt informed by the many incredible songwriters who came long before it. That is what we tried to do with Brief Spirit.
We’ve already shared “Let It Fall (Keeping Time),” a song “wrapped within the perfect combination of reverb, distortion, and subtle twang”; Brief Spirit is full of songs that explore that sonic space, so check out the full album below.
Brief Spirit is out 3/4 on Old Flame. Pre-order it here.