For Nick Anway, life is all about embracing contradictions. The 27-year-old frontman and primary songwriter of D.C. indie-rock band Brushes expounds on this philosophy while talking about his band’s new song, “Mars and Me” (listen below).
“‘Mars and Me’ is about the tension we feel between Venus and Mars within ourselves,” says the Mount Pleasant resident. “When one’s self is truly illuminated, we see beauty and horror.”
The track certainly explores two vastly different musical ideas. “Mars and Me” opens on a lovely but anxious note, with minor-key arpeggios buttressing Anway’s soft vocals. The band doesn’t settle into a mood, though. Before long, drums and strings propel the song into another atmosphere.
“Mars and Me” continues Anway’s partnership with producers Tommy Sherrod and Mike Okusami. The three worked together on Brushes’ debut release, Whatever, Again. Since then, they have recorded over 20 songs together and grown into a live quintet that includes guitarist/keyboardists Matt Henderson and Nick DePrey.
“Mars and Me” appears on Grizzly Beach, a split EP with Boston band Today Junior. Unlike Brushes’ more nuanced approach, Today Junior is all about the fist-pumpers. Grizzly Beach features their song, “Lee’s Anthem,” a shout-along ode to believing in yourself.
Once again, the contrast in styles is deliberate.
“One of the things I love most about Today Junior is that they write songs to make you feel good,” says Anway. “Their music connects me to Boston, where I grew up, and to many of the surf themes that have become fundamental to how I write songs.”
Anway and Brushes met Today Junior over the summer and the two bands immediately struck up a friendship. Aside from working on Grizzly Beach together, the two bands co-wrote a song that will appear on a full-length Brushes album out next year.
In the meantime, Brushes and Today Junior plan to embark on a mini-tour of the Northeast U.S. and drop a vinyl release of Grizzly Beach in early 2017.
Brushes, Today Junior and Homeshake Monday play Nov. 28 at Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe.