Brainstory Creates Psychedelic Experience for DTSA Audience

Vocalist and guitarist Kevin Martin of Brainstory performs at the Yost Theater on Nov. 15. Ashley Ramynke / el Don

Growing up in the suburban sprawl of Rialto, Calif., brothers Kevin and Tony Martin didn’t have much to do — except make music.

“There was nothing cracking,” Tony said. “If you wanted something to crack, you had to do it yourself. We kind of made something out of nothing.”

The two found temporary escape through skateboarding and the Inland Empire’s close-knit punk-rock scene. But it wasn’t until they started studying jazz at Riverside Community College that the guitarist and bassist met drummer Eric Hagstrom. Together they started Brainstory.

Since then, the psychedelic-soul, jazz-rock trio has used its two EPs to transport fans into a never-ending Sunday afternoon of California sunshine met with existentialist dread.

The band took listeners on a trip at their record release show Friday, Nov. 15 at The Yost Theater in Downtown Santa Ana.

Brainstory’s debut album, Buck, on New York’s retro-soul label Big Crown Records, is a level-up for the band, which released its previous music under Chicano Batman’s SoCal-based El Relleno Records.

Buck is a soulful expression. Life can be hard and sometimes you need a good buckin’,” said Kevin, the vocalist and guitarist. “Basically, it means doing whatever you’re doing to the fullest — to the max —to get that release.”

The official video for Brainstory’s Dead End off their debut LP Buck on Big Crown Records.

The feeling of release was definitely translated from the album to their show. Songs like “Dead End,” a smooth soul jam with hints of the Classic IV song “Spooky,” took the crowd from the purple-lit venue to the sunny streets of Los Angeles in the ‘70s.

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With eyes closed and heads swaying, the audience was in a trance. A feeling of liberation overtook the crowd.

It was exactly what Brainstory hopes to share with their music.

“I want people to feel a general sense of abandonment,” Tony said. “I want them to feel free to go on a journey in their minds and come back after the show and feel like they went on an experience.”

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