A few years ago, around the time Matthew Broyles, a.k.a. the matthew show, released his album february on Wampus, he passed along the name of another artist he thought we might like — another wry, deadly serious observer, in other words, with a knack for a good hook. The guy’s name was Mike Shannon and he called his band Big Bus Dream. His music was a blend of Lou Reed and Eels and a gritty sort of ’70s retro noir, and it was difficult to ignore or forget. It was very personal — but universal, too.
When Wampus was putting together the Poetic Licenses: Songs for Films compilation (delayed in the flying dust of the financial crash and still unreleased), Mike submitted a track in progress called “Fried,” a travelogue of mid-life burnout. The spooky final version of that song, along with other affecting curios, became the heart of the album Big Bus Dream is releasing today.
Big Dream Baby is the offspring of recordings Mike and songwriting partner Chick Tsikouras made in the middle of the last decade. Seizing the folky DNA of those songs and running it through a Marshall stack, they recast the whimsical “My Parade” as a breakneck rave-up and turned their understated musings into anthems.
“Often I fall,” Mike sings in “Fried,” his voice a strained whisper. “But more often I rise.”
We’ll see you up there.