Building from Scratch for the Modern Age

After almost a year of delay, Brian DeRemer makes his solo debut with his album “Dusty Songs for Children of the Modern Age”

Local musician Brian DeRemer is debuting his solo record entitled Dusty Songs for Children of the Modern Age. The CD release show will be Friday at the Turf Club.

Marisa Wojcik

Local musician Brian DeRemer is debuting his solo record entitled “Dusty Songs for Children of the Modern Age.” The CD release show will be Friday at the Turf Club.

by Raghav Mehta

Brian DeRemer didnâÄôt know much about the robbery that Christmas morning when the news first broke. In a fit of rage, his production partner and friend, Alarmist frontman Eric Lovold, had posted a status about it on Facebook. His recording studio, located in St. Paul, had been broken into. It was Christmas Eve and Lovold, a longtime and well-respected member of the local music community, returned to his apartment to find a trove of TVs, iPods and computers missing. HeâÄôd soon find out roughly $25,000 worth of electronic equipment had been stolen from the studio that night. In the months prior to the break-in, Lovold had been helping DeRemer put the finishing touches on his debut album âÄúDusty Songs for Children of The Modern Age,âÄù which was, at the time, slated for an April release. While he wasnâÄôt exactly clear on the nature of the robbery, DeRemer had anticipated some losses of his own but had underestimated the extent of it. âÄúAt that point I thought âÄòOK they probably took my guitar cases.âÄô I had some guitar cases and an amplifier, but it turned out they were just looking for electronics,âÄù DeRemer said. The suspects, who were never found, didnâÄôt leave even the smallest piece of hardware behind, managing to get away with a bundle of external hard drives containing years of recorded material, which included DeRemerâÄôs record. The album had taken seven months to record and DeRemer had already spent more time away from his two young daughters than he was comfortable with. But now he was left with nothing to show for it. âÄúI was absolutely devastated. It was a lot of work, a lot of time spent away from my family to do it,âÄù DeRemer said. âÄúIt was much harder for Eric than it was for me. It was his house âĦ Eric got physically violated. In my case I got something taken away from me that was a passion of mine.âÄù It took months for DeRemer to recover from the loss, but he insists heâÄôs over it. DeRemer and the other musicians affected managed to bounce back thanks to an outpouring of support from the local music community that coincided with a benefit show at the Varsity Theater last January. Given the end result, itâÄôs a good thing DeRemer had the wherewithal for a second take. âÄúDusty SongsâÄú might not offer a whole lot in the way of sonic innovation, but itâÄôs 11 tracks of earnest folk-pop that skirts imitation thanks to DeRemerâÄôs craftsmanship, personality and penchant for melody. The instrumentation is fairly conventional âÄî neatly layered arrangements of what is, for the most part, acoustic guitar and piano. But despite opting for some of these time-honored traditions, DeRemer tosses all kinds of musical curve balls, continually varying volume levels and structure. For instance, âÄúSmall DâÄù starts off as standard pop fare but each chorus is punctuated with buzz-saw distortion ending with a clamor of white noise. âÄúDusty Songs For Children of The Modern AgeâÄùâĨ is a thoughtful and earnest debut that sees DeRemer learning to accept new realities âÄî newfound fatherhood in particular âÄî but not feeling entirely ready to abandon the past. DeRemer doesnâÄôt change the dynamics of music with his debut, and heâÄôs obviously not trying to. ItâÄôs an album that sounds familiar, but not tired, conventional, but not dull. And to do that takes a certain level of musical acumen that not many artists actually possess.