Bryan Scary tells fantastic tales. His art-pop songs may paint him as a schizophrenic musical oddball, but the eccentricities are hardly frivolous. They stem from a carefully tailored vision, an ambitious and well-honed mutation of the rock and roll storytelling tradition. Bryan Scary is himself a story years in the making.
Bryan Scary, the NYU Film Student:
At film school, disillusioned by camera-folk, Scary (then Bryan Treitler) recorded his first album, THE SHREDDING TEARS. Much like some other indie favorites (Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, etc.), Scary played every instrument on his debut. He won over L.A. label Black & Green Records and the album was released on Halloween of 2006. To support the record, Scary put together a touring band – ALSO called The Shredding Tears – a confusing predicament which the songwriter has recently remedied with a scalpel (he’s just Bryan Scary now).
Bryan Scary, Prog-Pop Storyteller:
Scary and his band developed a glammy theatrical stage show that quickly drew a large word-of-mouth following. Narrative songs were given glittering visual representation, complete with oddball costumes and set pieces, with everything filtered through Scary’s darkly comedic and maniacal stage persona. Scary managed to create a world . It was not just a concert, but a show in the old-fashioned sense of the word – a spectacle for the haters at the back of the bar. The band drew comparisons to Queen, ELO, Sparks, and Of Montreal, among other artists unafraid to court the dramatic. After some heavy touring, Scary returned to the studio and crafted FLIGHT OF THE KNIFE (2008), the first album to feature his touring ensemble. It was a conceptual work inspired in-part by Thomas Pynchon’s epic novel “Against The Day,” with nearly every song delineating a tale of flight, airships, or the wild blue yonder. The record got heady with interwoven themes of innocence lost and the uses of enchantment. It opened with a magical fairy-tale and closed with a cynical commentary on that same fairy tale. Fanciful, poppy and psychedelic (albeit with a glamorous 70′s bend), the material on FLIGHT OF THE KNIFE was built around ADD-inflicted arrangements and liberal genre-playing, as the band careened from jazz to funk to classical to country to music-hall….
Bryan Scary, the Ever-Resilient Star:
FLIGHT OF THE KNIFE led to two years of touring. Critical acclaim poured in – the album received praise from Pitchfork, SPIN, Rolling Stone, MTV and other delectable periodicals. It was the “Editor’s Pick” on iTunes and managed to peak at #6 in their Rock Albums section. Then came the bad news. Mid-tour in L.A., while preparing to record an EP for Elijah Woods’ Simian Record, the band’s van and trailer was stolen…along with all of their gear! Tour derailed. Goodbye original Moog synthesizers and sparkling 60s Slingerland kit. Cry us a river. But Bryan Scary is both a pragmatist and an optimist. Yes, the band was stuck in L.A., but the quarantine allowed them ample time to finish up the 5 track EP for Simian. Most of that EP was produced by thenewno2 member Jonathan Sadoff. Later, Scary added a 6th track produced with Bryce Goggin (Apples in Stereo, Pavement). The completed MAD VALENTINES EP was released in late 2009.
Bryan Scary, Man of the Theater:
During the L.A. days, Scary and then manager Dave Zonshine began work developing a political-themed rock opera with Interscope. This sparked for the songwriter a new-found focus on musical theater song-craft, an influence always essential to his work. Scary is now also developing an ARCHIE comics musical for Playing Pretend Productions, and he is a member of BMI’s Lehman Engel workshop. He writes and records film/television music with composer Giulio Carmassi (the duo recently started a music production house called SCARY CAR).
Bryan Scary, the Visioneer:
Scary’s newest album DAFFY’S ELIXIR, 2 years in the making, will be released on Paper Garden Records in April 2012. To fund the record, Scary launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $16,000 in fan donations (and that during the earliest epoch of the now established website). The album was recorded throughout 2010 in a variety of studios with a revolving door of engineers and instrumentalists. The completed DAFFY’S ELIXIR is an epic double album featuring cons, quacks, cow-gal robots, spurned lovers, villains and bandits, all set in the Old West. Euro-centric art-pop meets Spaghetti-Westernisms and old-timey yarn spinning, a unique stew congealed by Scary’s most ambitious musical arrangements yet. With an expanded 9 piece lineup, and a boatload of fresh material, the new and improved Bryan Scary will be crashing into living rooms and stealing eardrums throughout 2012 (and beyond).
“Scary understands that prog-rock is really just psychedelic pop with the between-song gaps removed– and if you want people to buy into your crazy cosmic concepts, you better make sure they have something to sing along to first. The end game is not so much prog as power-pop with chops.”