TSP is the musical project of brothers Jeff Brown and Ben Brown, both vocalists and guitarists. As teenagers growing up in central Pennsylvania listening to albums from The Ramones and David Bowie, among others, and taking their musical and songwriting cues from many other artists and bands they admire.
When the brothers were in their early 20’s, they decided to start recording their own music. This wasn’t a difficult thing to do for the musically-inclined brothers; in fact, they went the only path that made sense at that point: create original music that combined their love for so many different musical styles, including Americana, garage rock, cinematic music, 80’s UK post punk and indie music.
Further influences such as The Replacements, The Smiths, Lou Reed, Roy Orbison, The Cure and Doug Sahm have all helped to shape their music.
The Savage Poor’s musical influences and other talents and personalities culminate in the release of their new album, The Grown Ups (dropped last week, Aug. 18), engineered and mixed by producer Christine Smith, who has also worked with artists like Crash Test Dummies, Jesse Malin, Ryan Adams and Marah.
One of the highlights of the album, “Caligula,” is “an expansive sound painting that lyrically, through abstraction, tries to capture the emotional insanity and increasing surreality of American politics.”
Another track, “The Violent Bear it Away,” Brown says: “Partially a fish out of water comedy about the kind of American least adapted to modern times, the white conservative male.”
“The best records always straddle the line between accessibility and mystery. Thematically I knew that we wanted to make an unsettling record that spoke to the insanity of modern America, but more poetic than topical in its approach. The records that I like all have something to say.”
The other band members and contributors to The Savage Poor’s new album include Alex Moralez on drums and Roger Wuthrich on bass. Smith also contributed in many ways, including piano, synth, accordion, BVS, melodica, and omnichord.
“Because we used a variety of technology for recording,” Jeff Brown says, “from 60’s Studor tape machine to digital manipulation, and because we combined a lot of different influences from different eras, I really feel that the record sounds outside of time.”
“There will be plenty of times that you might think something sounds like so and so,” he says, adding, “but then you’ll realize that some element of it doesn’t fit your first impression.”