Two new tracks by JONATHAN BREE are at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

If you have any knowledge of New Zealand pop music (a subject in which I’m proud to have a small amount of professional expertise), you might recognize Jonathan Bree as former bandleader of cute ’00s twee popsters The Brunettes, or label head of influential NZ label Lil Chief Records. He also has been known to play with Princess Chelsea. My history with this guy goes way back and spans many of these United States: I first saw the Brunettes play in North Carolina when they were on tour with the Shins back in the dark ages of 2005, and then we actually became friends a few years later when I lived in New York and they happened to be passing through there. Princess Chelsea needed some help booking a NY show and getting a US working visa and I was thrilled to be able to help out with that: that became my very first ever “Band Mom Presents” live show in 2011, which even had the poster designed by a pal who was a music director at the time! Anyway fast fwd a bit and Jonathan is 3+ albums deep on a solo career; I last caught him in Austin at SXSW this year, which is when I first encountered his most recent stage show: it involves solid white spandex masks and pioneer-woman-styled backup dancers with complex choreography. He’s still on that tip with these two newest tracks. I would say his present-day music is best described as Magnetic Fields meets Casket Girls. You have to check it out, it’s really amazing.

To decode the title here, which is formatted in NACC’s preferred style: it’s two songs packaged together as a single; the lead, because it’s the newer release, is “Cover Your Eyes”, and the B-side is “Waiting on the Moment”, which has technically been released since September but I bet you haven’t been playing it since nobody was working it to radio (until now). In my opinion “Waiting on the Moment” is clearly the more radio-friendly, pop-oriented track, but “Cover Your Eyes” is newer and it’s also not radio UNfriendly, so you make your own decision here. It’s only two tracks. You can listen to them both, and you can play either or both, in any order. They even both have pretty striking videos, if you’d rather first check ’em out that way: here’s the video for “Cover Your Eyes”, and here’s “Waiting on the Moment”. Then make sure to grab the download so you can add it for your station; no hard copies exist of this one, it is download only. And this really is a standalone (double) single; there will be a full album eventually, like SOMEday, but its release won’t be happening until this upcoming April at the earliest, it’s not even finished being recorded yet, and no promises that these particular tracks will be on it, so this is not a lead-in to an album campaign but rather just a full-on single campaign, not like a trick or a tease, this is the full event. Don’t miss it!!



Lil Chief Records

Jonathan Bree is a musician from New Zealand, known for melodic compositions where he croons about modern life and love, over string parts that slide precariously between notes and dulcitone chimes. The end result is a musical palette one could describe as dark Disney. These elements are present in his breakthrough viral hit, “You’re So Cool,” which currently has over 12 million views on YouTube.

His live shows have also gained him a cult following across the world. Masked band members in pioneering clothing are set against a backdrop of cinematic projections created specifically for each song. Unusual for an indie act, he also has two dancers who perform other-worldly choreographed routines along with the music. These performances have seen Jonathan Bree tour extensively across the globe.

After “You’re So Cool” went viral, many likely assumed Jonathan Bree was a new artist. He began writing his own songs at age 9 and performed live as a drummer in his cousin’s band until age 13. This was interrupted after being sent to live in Australia with his father, who was an aspiring cult leader. Bree subsequently left home and independently navigated his teenage years.

When Bree returned to New Zealand, he formed The Brunettes, who in their active years toured the world and released music through Sub Pop Records and Bree’s own label, Lil Chief Records. The frustrations of trying to take this traditional route to success saw him take a long break from releasing his own music. In the interim, he happened to produce the song “The Cigarette Duet” for Princess Chelsea (in 2011) and directed its video which has since surpassed 47 million views.

When he finally returned to releasing his own music it was as a solo artist with the album The Primrose Path (2013). His only promotion for it was uploading to YouTube an album length video of himself watching shows on his laptop in bed accompanied by his girlfriend and cat.

Bree’s second album A Little Night Music (2015) saw him embrace a more cinematic approach, while retaining strong melodies and hooks. Nonetheless, it is his least pop-focused album to date and leans more heavily on classical soundscapes – Nick Cave meets the Nutcracker Suite. It was during this album campaign that Bree first introduced the concept of his period piece masked band. The debut single/video “Weird Hardcore” (2014) featured his musicians appearing as if within a skewed timeline, think Amadeus meets The Old Grey Whistle Test. It’s rumoured that around this time Jonathan acquired a time machine…

In the lead-up to his third album, Sleepwalking, he released his viral single and music video for “You’re So Cool”, which was named Time Out New York’s Video of the Year. Sleepwalking (2018) has a heavy orchestrated element featuring real strings, horns, celeste and soprano vocals. His arrangements draw distinct influence from orchestral pop of a bygone era (think Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra), but many of the songs dip in and out of the avant-garde in a way that is also distinctly modern.

In 2019, Bree released “Waiting on the Moment” – the first single from his forthcoming album due for release in April 2020. The track is a break-up song you can dance to. It expresses the pain of revisiting places where a love you once knew had significance. In this case a karaoke bar. Rather than presented within a tearjerker ballad, the music gives another angle: one of celebration. There is an optimism in moving on, confronting and acting on your sense of loss. Many of Bree’s signature sounds are present – bendy strings, clicky bass, dulcitone and arpeggiated synth, but it’s perhaps his most pop focused track to date.

Bree’s next single, “Cover Your Eyes”,’ is about the escapism of gaming. Set in a hypothetical authoritarian society where the rules of social engagement and expression are so monitored and repressive that the only sense of freedom is to be found within a game. “Cover Your Eyes” releases on November 15th, 2019.

RIYL: Princess Chelsea, The Brunettes, Ruby Suns, Lawrence Arabia,
Anthonie Tonnon, Lee Hazlewood, Serge Gainsbourg, Scott Walker,
The Magnetic Fields, Casket Girls

Start With: 1, 2 (it’s only two tracks and their order doesn’t matter)                


Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!

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