Numero’s killer project, Pisces: A Lovely Sight, was among my top releases of last year and the Linda Bruner tracks in particular stood out. Bruner: Songs For A Friend, are her only known remaining recordings (6 total, mostly covers). Newfound songs include a cover of “Wichita Lineman“, which, like Bruner, has a dusty, disheveled aesthetic. The songs are sparse and sound as damaged as you’d think they would. Below are snippets of Bruner cuts that originally appeared on A Lovely Sight. Songs For A Friend comes out on Record Store Day, April 17th.
Linda Bruner sounds a lot like Janis Joplin at times, often intense, troubled, and totally bare. Her accent was deeply Southern, her hair was described as “a rat’s nest”. She grew up in Loves Park, the poor sector of Rockford, Illinois, in the late-‘60s and was discovered by her guitar instructor, Jim Krein. At seventeen, she joined Krein’s struggling yet determined psych band, Pisces, and recorded four songs with them. She is also said to have worked on a solo album around the same time which she abandoned and left unfinished. Pisces’s story and music will be released by the Numero Group on an upcoming CD, A Lovely Sight, fifteen unreleased songs that include Linda Bruner’s lone recordings. According to the liner notes: “When last heard from, Linda was embroiled in a check fraud scheme and was on the run.”
A Lovely Sight places Bruner’s dim story into the context of Pisces’ larger saga. Pisces was just another exuberant late-‘60s psych band, purposely woozy and highly derivative, but in a good way. And while the project is, I think, anchored by Bruner’s contributions, Pisces’ psychadelia isn’t corny or wildly fragmented, and sound like a mix between Jefferson Airplane and Donovan.
Below is “Sam”, the Pisces’ third single that never was. It begins like a late ‘80s rap cut before clumsy snares are joined by muddy bass. It all works well, made especially effective by Bruner’s uneasy vocals. Hear a clip of it below.