Today, (15th September) Brand New Friend release their new album Grandstand. With the songwriting inspired by novelists and characters from childhood memories the band are too young to have had themselves, we hear nods to Wendy Erskine and Joan Didion whilst Irish born television presenter Des Lynam’s time on sports show ‘Grandstand’ (1979-1991) inspired the record’s name. The vinyl itself also comes with a list of literary inspirations behind the album. Listen to Grandstand here
No strangers to Ireland’s buzzing live scene, Brand New Friend have been making waves with some incendiary live shows across the island. Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol also took the band under his wing early on in their career and has acted as a mentor figure for the group. Their honest indie-pop has also taken them from sticky-floored venues to sold-out festivals including Reading and Leeds, Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Electric Picnic.
In 2015, Johnson siblings (Lauren and Taylor) began making music in their family home on Northern Ireland’s rugged north coast. Within a few years they went from playing their local pub in the sleepy village of Castlerock to playing festival stages all over the UK and Ireland. After meeting drummer Luke Harris and lead guitarist Aaron Milligan in a Portrush pub (then performing as their own two-piece band), it seemed inevitable the five would unite, completing the line-up almost by accident. Following the release of their debut album Seatbelts for Aeroplanes in 2018, they’ve hit the road in support of Snow Patrol, Lewis Capaldi, Ash, Starcrawler, At The Drive In, RAT BOY and Feeder. The band have also received support from the likes of Tom Robinson, John Kennedy, Annie Mac, Huw Stephens and Phil Taggart.
Taking inspiration from artists such as The Thrills, Pavement, Interpol, and Mike Skinner, the band are no stranger to dramatic changes in directions. Bouncing between themes of loss, family fall outs, influential women throughout history (such as Betty Ong and Anne Frank), and imaginary conversations with Jimmy Fallon, we also witness shifts across time and place; we see contemporary New York City bathed in sunlight, a desolate county Donegal, Ireland in 2001, and we are briefly transported to occupied Germany in February 1945. We see the song’s protagonists as children, sleeping on floors and comforted by rolling 24 hour news; and then as adults, sleeping in cars.
If Grandstand is a record about the butterfly effect put in place before you were born, then it is also about the need to create your own. It’s about the good and bad coexisting and finding a way to continue when life has you know it has completely changed.