Song of the Day: “Cyborg”

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Local Indianapolis duo Brother O’ Brother takes on artificial intelligence with a heavier sound in their most recent single, “Cyborg”.

If you’re familiar at all with the Indy music scene, then you’ve no doubt at least heard of Brother O’ Brother. Their live performances have been dubbed as some of the best in the area, with publications like NUVO going so far as to call them “the best rock band in all of Indianapolis”.

I’ve personally seen Brother O’ Brother live a few times over the past few years at random venues or music festivals. And I’ve got to say, every single time I did, they were one of the most entertaining acts on stage. It’s hard to believe just two guys can create so much energy.

Before we get into our song of the day, here’s a little bit of info on Brother O’ Brother’s career so far.

Brother O’ Brother

Brother O’ Brother is just two guys, and a lot of rock. Chris Banta brings the shredding guitar and soaring vocals, while Warner Swopes bangs the drums. Similarly to The Black Keys, Banta and Swopes have found success by keeping their lineup simple, and their output relentless.

With roots in garage rock, blues, and gospel, on paper Brother O’ Brother may look like a Black Keys doppelganger. But as soon as you listen to them, you realize they’ve managed to carve out their own niche within the space.

Since 2013, Brother O’ Brother has been pumping out quality material through a variety of labels including Fonoflo, Grimtale, and Romanus Records. In 2017, Brother O’ Brother released their most recent album, “Neon Native”, following it up with their EP “Monster Truck” last year. Earlier this year, they announced that they were at work on another album with the release of “Cyborg”.

Cyborg

After listening to “Cyborg”, fans can expect a change in tone for Brother O’ Brother’s upcoming album. The single brings the high-energy we’ve all come to expect from Banta and Swopes, but has a heavier edge to it than most of their other material. I know, I know, “Monster Truck” was pretty dang heavy. But “Cyborg” is a different kind of heavy. It’s much closer to thrash, punk, and metal than anything else they’ve made.

Another interesting development we can hear in “Cyborg” is the light use of electronic sounds and synths. This could be a hint that we’ll be hearing more of that in Brother O’ Brother’s upcoming album. I wouldn’t be surprised if this slight shift in style is foreshadowing a concept album around artificial intelligence and technology.

The lyrics and structure of “Cyborg” seem to reflect that a concept album may be in the works. Halfway through the track, there’s a break where Banta belts out a paranoid A.I. monologue.

“Hundreds of thousands of years of knowledge wrapped up in mere seconds, mere moments / What was once a wiretap, now turns on your light / Yes, it turns on your wife, turns on your very soul”.

It goes on, but I won’t ruin the experience of listening to it all first-hand.

Final Thoughts

Overall, “Cyborg” is an angry, thrashy push back against the rising influence of artificial intelligence. While listening to Brother O’ Brother’s song on repeat may convince you there’s cause to panic, you can probably relax for now. Artificial intelligence isn’t going to become a Terminator-level threat anytime soon. Probably.

For the past few months, we’ve mostly pulled our songs of the day from the realm of relatively well-known or successful musicians. But in doing so, we’ve unintentionally been ignoring some of the great music that’s right in our own backyard. Going forward, we’ll be putting a larger emphasis on showcasing songs from local Indianapolis artists. We want to show off just how awesome our local scene is.

If you like the local Indy scene, be sure to check out LemonWire on YouTube, where we’re bringing in local artists to our Music Corner and showing them off!

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