Braid / Braid

Braid

Lucky To Be Alive

Glue Factory

Braid

Movie Music Vol. 1 & 2

Polyvinyl

Braid existed from 1993-1999, churning out gems that combined singalong poppiness and constant changes with a tendency to burst. They certainly were a prolific bunch. In addition to three full-lengths they had numerous seven inches and splits and comp tracks. These recordings help tie some of the loose ends up and add some closure to their August break-up.

Movie Music is split into two volumes, released as two separate CDs, except for a limited mail-order version which packaged the two together. The first volume of Movie Music collects their singles and splits together. Some of their best songs were scattered across various pieces of vinyl (“What A Wonderful Puddle,” “Forever Got Shorter,” the entire I’m Afraid of Everything and Niagra seven inches) and it’s nicer than I would have thought to have them all together in one place. Same goes for the second volume, which is devoted to compilation tracks. More scattered favorites together: the edgy, urgent, oddball jitteriness of “To Kiss A Trumpet Player,” the textbook Braid catchy changathon genius of “Grand Theft Autumn,” “Do You Love Coffee?,” and “Bridge To Canada.” A bunch of covers as well (two unreleased), including songs by Billy Joel, Foundations, Burt Bacharach, Pixies, and two by the Smiths. Oh, and a remix of “A Dozen Roses” by Travis Morrison (Baby Trav Trav) of the Dismemberment Plan that gets increasingly interesting/less annoying with repeated listens. Kinda like bleepy-bloopy Morse code with a beat and some Braid lyrics.

“You’re Lucky To Be Alive” was originally intended to be included on the Please Drive Faster seven inch, but was cut due to time constraints. Instead, it’s the last track on volume one of Movie Music . Minus a word, it’s also the title of their live album.

Braid toured incessantly. While their recordings can be amazing, they don’t match the combined energy and emotion of their live shows. That vibrancy and heart-wrenchingness is captured on this recording, as much as that sort of thing can be. The emotion was extra-thick this night — it was their second-to-last show, and everyone there knew it. People traveled from all over the country to attend. Where the hell was I? I forget, exactly. Something made my plans to go fall through, something I can’t even remember now. Must have been mighty important.

Anyhow, there was tangible electricity in the air that night. You can hear it, especially when you the songs get quiet and the entire crowd at the Metro singing along becomes audible. This gives me chills.

A two CD set of songs from comps, singles, and unreleased stuff, a CD of one of their last live shows, and a video documentary in the works. And out soon are the double LP gatefold version of Lucky to Be Alive and the 4 LP box set of Movie Music . Really. Limited, of course. Well-documented and sorely missed.

Glue Factory Records, P.O. Box 404-BL, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; www.gluefactory.com; Polyvinyl Record Co., P.O. Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834; www.polyvinylrecords.com

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