The creation of LA-based multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Jada Wagensomer, Brass Tax conjoins 60s soul and garage rock with smart, classic storytelling pop inspired by The Kinks, Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman, Dusty Springfield, and Harry Nilsson, all tied together with a swath of punk spirit. The songs on Brass Tax’s debut long-player Brass Tax Album comprise a work of immaculate detail with wide array of instrumentation (saxophone, violin, lap steel, wurlitzer, wind chimes, kazoo, etc) coloring the spaces between Wagensomer’s clever, sometimes dark (sometimes humorous) tales.
Growing in depth and resonance with each listen, it’s an album that sounds epic and spacious but the subject matter brings it somewhere closer, more intimate. From the countrified psychedelia of the album opener “And Then It Starts All Over Again” to the retro R&B stomp of “I Won’t Cry” to the orchestral, sweeping pop of “The Man With The Tooth”, Brass Tax Album covers a lot of sonic ground in just 8 songs. While you couldn’t say that this album is locked into any particular sound, it is unified by Wagensomer’s versatile twang, and echoes of Spector, even Lou Reed’s Transformer, or John Cale’s Paris 1919.
Generous with her musical talents, Wagensomer lends her abilities to many LA outfits including Jail Weddings, Dante Vs Zombies, Baby & Guy, Streetrobe and the Zappa/Fugs-style doo-wop group, The Dumbheads. The current incarnation of Brass Tax includes other LA players who get around including Brian Watson (The Pope), Alex Myers (Watts Ensemble), and Lowell Abellon (Airships).
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