Dan Bryk news feed

Like a Sisyphean caveat, Dan Bryk’s Christmas Record is quietly rolling uphill, picking up some great reviews along the way…

Grayson Currin of Independent Weekly:

“The 30-something songwriter, known for his piano playing and keen observational wit, doesn’t hate Christmas, but he certainly doesn’t like it, either. Perhaps the front cover of Christmas Record tells the story of his antipathy best: A bright, red ornament is shattered across an otherwise pristine white floor. The shards are too big for the ornament to have been thrown. It looks like it was hanging high with seasonal spirit. Then it came crashing down. The hook that held it to the branch is still there. Maybe someone bumped into it? Maybe someone shook the tree? Or maybe it just got tired of trying.

That’s the sentiment of a Dan Bryk Christmas, detailed in what has to be one of the most self-effacing Christmas albums ever. It’s predicated neither on seasonal and spiritual joy nor money-making maneuvers. It’s just an honest (if exaggerated) appraisal of the holiday’s inspired difficulties—infinite loneliness, bad luck, bankrupting ambitions and overactive materialism. You know, the kind of stuff that people call “cheer…”

Carmen Lyon of Suite 101.com’s Top 10 Indie Christmas Albums

3. Dan Bryk: “Christmas Record

“All I can really say is that this is probably the most original of Christmas-themed albums out there. It’s so strangely unique that I sometimes wonder how holiday-related it really is, and then I realize that’s what Dan Bryk does and that’s why I love it!”

John Sakamoto of the Toronto Star’s Anti-Hit List and Podcast:

2. Dan Bryk

“In which the displaced Torontonian (he now calls North Carolina home) encounters Jesus changing a flat tire in the parking lot of a Radio Shack and becomes reacquainted with the true meaning of the season. What ensues may be intermittently sardonic — after preaching about peace and the wings of a dove, “Jesus” self-deprecatingly observes, “I know they’re clichés, but they work” — yet the overall tone of earnestness deftly plays against the song’s comic premise.”

Brian Howe of Pitchfork:

“[Four Stars] Sleigh bells and chimes are a hallmark of popular Yuletide songs, evoking so much winter wonder at once– reindeer on the roof, hansom carriages in the snow, tinkling icicles falling from the eaves. Leave it to wittily depressive Dan Bryk to warp their good cheer toward the doomy, intoning them like funeral bells amid the ominous drums and minor-key pianos of this gloom-pop Christmas crash ‘n’ burn… A real grinch, all right, but anyone who’s got a shitty Christmas or two under their belt will know what he means. Oh, did I mention that the song is kind of a suicide note? Merry Christmas.”

Jeff Liberty of KV Style Magazine (Kennebecasis Valley, New Brunswick):

“Dan is one of the most eloquent lyricists who also possesses a potent sense of humour. He is also a master craftsman of brilliant pop sensibilities. Armed with a piano, Dan was the Indie “It Boy” a few years back. He has since moved south and continues to craft some of the best pop music never heard. The Christmas Record is a great addition to his already rich catalogue and is a must for the true music aficionado. Songs that are sometimes auto-biographical and other unique holiday songs soon to be classics sit side by side on the disc. This CD is for those looking for a Christmas release with a new outlook and maybe one that hits closer to home. My favorite track is Cozy Evenings (Morgan David Remix) and it is maybe one of the best Christmas songs i have ever heard! Fans of Joe Jackson, Ben Folds and Randy Newman will love this cd and i highly recommend ALL of Dan’s CDs.”

Kerry Doole of Corriere Canadese Tandem (Toronto):

“If you’re still searching for a Christmas album with a difference, seek out Christmas Record from DAN BRYK. The former Torontonian is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he’s come up with a disc that is both contemporary and seasonal in sensibility. His melodic piano-driven pop balladry suits the seasonal vibe real well, and he mixes tunes from other songwriters with originals and classics…”

Gabino Travassos of Mote (Calgary):

“You know of course that the guy who wrote “…and Now Our Love is Dead” didn’t just release a chirpy little Christmas album full of family-friendly good cheer. Nor is this a sarcastic stab in the heart of the holiday season that you might expect from a smug indie rocker. Instead this is an entertaining, sensitive yet comedic, singer-singwriter album similar to his 2000 release Lovers Leap, but instead the songs are about Christmas, a tete-a-tete with Jesus Christ, and a long drive across the United States… it will keep you alive with indie rock Christmas tales year round.”


“Someone halfheartedly complained recently in the comments section that the Christmas song I linked to didn’t sound enough like Christmas. I guess they meant an idealized Christmas where everyone’s happy and families get along and we don’t have to go back to work the next day. But the majority of folks don’t live that Christmas so here’s Dan Byrk’s (although “Cozy Evenings” is a cover) take on Christmas. These are songs that use Christmas as a backdrop to make some broader point, usually a very melancholy one about loneliness and missed opportunities. Because of that they are timeless and not just something to be consumed and used up over the holidays.”

And our favourite, from masashi on myspace:

“I just bought your X-mas album. Thank goodness, an X-mas album that rocks. You rule.”

Thanks man!

Listen to Christmas Record in its entirety here.

Yes, it’s that most commercial time of the year, and who better to capitalize on it than the Brykster? Bryk launches today not only his didactically-titled Christmas Record [listen here] but a fresh and highly alliterative new website. (All you code generator haters are gonna hate on it, but necessity was the mother of intervention.)

But back to the Christmas Record, it’s 7 to 9 songs depending on the format/download service, it’s mostly overdubbed solo by Bryk with some late-game assists from guitarists Tad Dreis, Jim Brantley and Tim Carless (all awesome singing songwriters in their own right…) and extra special guest vocalist Erin McGinn. The songs are a mix of originals and non-traditional covers. Dan explains the album’s genesis fully on his new blog.

Of course, you can buy Christmas Record direct from Dan’s new web shop or a tasty variety of online retailers. If you’re already on Dan’s mailing list keep an eye out around Thanksgiving for a special discount coupon code on everything from the webshop until the end of December. So gosh, golly, sign up if you haven’t already, and give the gift of Bryk this Christmas.

Check out the reams of critical praise for Christmas Record from places like Pitchfork and the Toronto Star!

Man, are we ever in love with the “-O-Rama” today!!

First, a flurry of Dan Bryk activity! The Bryk’s about to issue a cavalcade of one-off tracks while he finishes up his long-rumoured “difficult third record” Pop Psychology (which he keeps tweaking… most recently cutting some vocals at My Morning Jacket soundman Ryan Pickett’s Durham, NC studio.) While Dan was there, Pickett asked him to contribute some keys to veteran NC bluesman Skeeter Brandon‘s upcoming record.

But first, THE NEW TRACKS:
“We Don’t Care” (b/w “BecaRebecca”) is going to be the third release of PopUp Records’ Singles Club. (Their first track was Eric Mingus’ “Child As Target”, and the second was by Florida shoegazers Whirlaway, so let’s just say Bryk’s going to be in eclectic company…)

An overhauled, PG-rated version of “You Won’t Love Me For Christmas” is going to appear on Have a Holly, Raleigh Christmas” a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa benefit CD put together by the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association. Other Raleigh-based artists who contributed tracks include the Rosebuds, Nathan Asher, Schooner and the Brantley Family Singers. CDs will be on sale October 18th.

Yet another new song called “Hang Around” is going to be on the Raleigh Hatchet‘s upcoming compilation CD, and he will be playing Hatchetfest 2006 at King’s in downtown Raleigh Friday October 27th.


The next morning he will hop a plane to Boston for the 5th Annual ALL-DAY PIANOFEST, at the Lilypad in Cambridge’s Inman Square.

This venerable event will also feature UM artist(e) Lee Feldman (and a host of others who play piano much, much better) celebrating Boston’s unique piano culture. (The non-profit Lilypad, located in a national historic building registered as Cambridge’s oldest functioning commercial structure, serves as a community clearinghouse for a variety of innovative, disparate and often underrepresented voices in music, poetry, performance and visual art. The Gallery’s annual piano festival serves as a fundraiser to help defray costs associated with maintaining the building and the Gallery’s programs. Recently, The Improper Bostonian honored the Gallery with its “most fun you’ll have looking at art” award. UM fave Greta Gertler recently raved to us about playing the Lilypad’s 7-foot grand piano.)


Bryk will um, promote all this activity with a live interview with DJ SteveO on Raleigh’s WKNC Friday, October 20th. Dan will be on air sometime between 6pm and 8pm on 88.1 FM or the interweb.

Dan Bryk has finally gotten off his considerable ass and headed back into the studio to finish TWO new releases!

The first, Pop Psychology, is a small scale concept album about his life and loves in the career of rock. Filled with the careening, mildly ambitious pop that has earned him footnotes in dissertations and dozens of screaming fans, it adds yet another handful of great pop songs to the (perhaps that should read his) canon.

The second is Forget You, an EP featuring a handful of amazing tracks from Bryk’s as-yet-untitled next album and some filler. And a lawsuit-begging sleeve that was a hilarious idea for YEARS. At least, until the cover of “Guilty Pleasures” stared at us from the counter at Starbucks last month. Oh, well.

Add to that a new CD and shows with Down By Avalon, Dan’s other band, and it’s gonna be a busy summer!

Dan Bryk’s widely-acclaimed second long-player “Lovers Leap” will finally return to record stores this fall. Currently available in its Scratchie Records Y2K form from download services like iTunes Music Store and AOL Music, the deluxe Urban Myth reissue will feature both unreleased bonus tracks and new artwork.