Thomas Conway – Indy Writer
Mac Demarco has developed into America’s Canadian sweetheart over the last couple of years. While it’s true that his discography is consistently great and his persona is definitely worthy of a write-up, it’s also true that the rest of the music world agrees. Mac is far too popular to be considered under-appreciated. To profile him would be to do what hundreds of music writers have been doing since roughly 2012. That’s not very “Indy,” now, is it? Luckily there are plenty of other artists who deal in the same kind of hazy guitar pop that made Mac Demarco famous. Travis Bretzer is one of the most impressive of these artists, and something tells me he hasn’t peaked yet.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Bretzer comes from the same city that produced his much more popular contemporary. The similarities between Demarco and Bretzer’s lives and musical styles are striking. In fact, the two met at a show in Edmonton in the mid-2000’s. According to Bretzer, they were loose acquaintances back then, but they have since drifted apart. Despite Bretzer’s uncanny resemblance to Demarco on tracks like “He’s a Gun” and “Giving Up,” he’s no imitator and he’s no amateur. This time last year he was working for a “huge music company” in Canada, writing catchy jingles and hosting occasional radio shows. The infectious quality of jingles certainly comes through on his most recent album Waxing Romantic, which was released in February, 2015.
Waxing Romantic is a polished studio-album; a significant departure from his older bedroom recordings. The added warmth of the studio realizes the potential embedded in Bretzer’s expertly crafted pop songs. “Idle By” feels like sunshine and a light breeze, the vocal harmonies on “Lonely Heart” and “Don’t Forget” are perfectly blended, and the whole album sounds lush. Compared to Bretzer’s bedroom recordings, this is a stylistic leap forward and it implies further improvement in his future when you consider that Waxing Romantic is only his first LP. Since Waxing Romantic, Bretzer hasn’t released much, nor has he made any public statements about when his next album will be released. Only one song, “Rose Tint (Felt So Good),” has seen the light of day since last February. It came out in October, 2015 on Bretzer’s Bandcamp and it sounds downright Beatlesque. It was also followed by a mysterious Reddit post (from someone who is most definitely not Travis Bretzer) claiming that Bretzer has a new album to be released February 19th, 2016. Unfortunately, they were lying (bummer, right?). Until some legitimate news surfaces about Bretzer’s second LP, we’ll just have to enjoy Waxing Romantic.
(Featured image retrieved from: noisey.vice.com)