Hear David Brown performing live at NPR's Southern California studios:
Hear full-length cuts from the 2004 Mimicry Records CD:
Listen: 'Foreign Disaster Days'
Listen: 'Christmas in E.C.'
Brazzaville bassist Joe Zimmerman, left, and David Brown jam al fresco.
Brazzaville is a Los Angeles-based sextet with a worldly outlook, and their sound has been described as "musty noir tropicalia" with influences from Latin America and the Mideast.
Brazzaville singer-songwriter David Brown pictured in Spain
The band's lead singer, songwriter and emotional heart is musician David Brown, who finds inspiration from his troubled past and his many travels. His countless miles on the road inform the themes of his songs.
"I would say that traveling is the state of being that I feel most comfortable in," he tells Day to Day producer Christopher Johnson. "I almost never feel happier than when I'm 30,000 feet in the air on my way someplace.
Brown always travels with his eyes wide open, and the people and places he encounters often find their way into his lyrics. "One of the things that I like to do is write about the stories you don't always get to hear about — about tragic figures who had these beautiful lives and these exceptional, rich personalities, but they destroyed themselves."
Brown has known many of these "tragic figures" personally — in fact, he was once one of them. In the early 1980s, he was a teenage runaway in Hollywood, and became friends with the alcoholics, prostitutes and drug addicts that roamed the streets. Brown became a junkie himself — a habit he kicked with a move to Europe, where he found a new addiction: low-budget backpacking.
For a year and a half, Brown toured across Europe, India and South America, and taught himself to play guitar and saxophone. He eventually returned to Los Angeles, and in 1997, after touring with indie rock icon Beck, Brown formed his own group.
Brazzaville has a huge following in London, Moscow and Barcelona, where Brown now calls home. The band's new CD Welcome to... Brazzaville could lead to a bigger following here in America.