When Lehigh Valley outfit Our Griffins released its debut EP Conversations last year, it was not yet a fully-formed band. Centered around the introspective songwriting of Easton native D.J. Brown, the songs we heard at the time were quiet, spacious and minimal – a haunting vibe that carried over to the Key Studio Session the band released last December. It was striking, for certain, but Brown wanted to do much more. Flash forward six months to Johnny Brenda’s, where we caught Our Griffins opening for Nightlands. With new drummer John Kimock in the mix, the songs were anthemic and emphatic, radiating offstage in a epic pulse somewhere between Explosions In the Sky and Coldplay. This is the sound we hear on Michael Boyd, the debut full-length album Our Griffins self-released today (and celebrating with an album release show at The Fire on Thursday).
We’re exploring the album all week on Unlocked, The Key’s regular series highlighting new and significant music from Philadelphia-area artists. Tomorrow, we’ll look at a video of Brown performing on the air for XPN’s Helen Leicht. Thursday, we’ll have a review of Michael Boyd. And Friday, we’ll get to meet Brown himself in an interview. Today, we begin with a free download of “Blood on my Sleeves,” a song that gives an idea of the album’s urgency – while still maintaining some of the hushed sound of the EP. It also could be Brown’s mission statement: faced with thoughts of death and mortality, its narrator vows to live for himself. Powerful stuff. Listen below, and check back all week for more on Our Griffins in Unlocked.