The duo's sophomore effort holds an edgier indie rock-vibe than the clean '60s pop-folk sound that filled their first album. Their signature light-hearted harmonies and breezy melodies are still present, but the sounds are backed with deeper musical layers and clever, satirical lyrics this time around.
Record label, release date, and producer: "Just Because" was released by ATO Records on March 25, 2014; it was produced by Shawn Everett.
Hometown: Los Angeles.
About the band: The Belle Brigade is comprised of sibling duo Barbara and Ethan Gruska. Before forming the Belle Brigade, Barbara was a touring musician and one of L.A.'s most popular drummers. In 2009, she took a break from touring and started writing songs with Ethan, who began playing piano and writing songs at an early age. The two found that they were heavily influenced by pop and folk from the late '60s and early '70s, especially Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon. The siblings used Barbara's connections within the industry, compiled a backup band and began recording. In 2011, they released their self-titled debut album under Warner Bros. Records. After feeling too controlled by the label, the duo switched to Dave Matthews' artist-friendly independent label, ATO Records for the making of "Just Because." (Official bio and Spotify bio)
Did you know?: Barbara and Ethan come from a musical family. Their father, Jay Gruska, was a solo artist in the early '80s. After releasing two of his own albums, he began writing songs for artists like Michael Jackson and Amy Grant. Barbara and Ethan are also the grandchildren of famed film composer John Williams, whose credits include "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park" and "E.T."
Play it while: "Just Because" is most enjoyed while lounging poolside this summer. The album is also at its best when you're in need of an immediate pick-me-up while sitting in the parking lot that is Highway 40 during rush hour.
RIYL: The Givers, Blind Pilot, Wild Child.
What the artists say: The duo told the Los Angeles Times that while their debut album had their voices on the tracks, the production was "funneled through the idea of what other people might want." They feel that "Just Because" is truly them in their natural element.
Current tour dates: The Belle Brigade is opening for Ray LaMontagne this summer. They played in St. Louis on June 18, 2014 at the Fox Theatre.
KDHX coverage: Don't miss the Belle Brigade's Live at KDHX session from June 18, 2014.
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