The Bright Light Social Hour

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The Bright Light Social Hour
The Bright Light Social Hour Sloss Festival 2016.jpg
The Bright Light Social Hour performing at Sloss Music & Arts Fest 2016 in Birmingham, Alabama
Background information
Origin Austin, Texas, United States
Genres Psychedelic rock, art rock, experimental rock, neo-psychedelia, electronic rock, dance-punk
Years active September 2004 (September 2004)–present
Labels Frenchkiss Records, MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
Associated acts Shreddward & Mirasole
Members Jack O'Brien
Curtis Roush
Edward Braillif
Joseph Mirasole
Past members Ryan O'Donoghue
Thomas Choate
A.J. Vincent

The Bright Light Social Hour is an American psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas. The band is composed of Jack O'Brien on bass guitar and vocals, Curtis Roush on guitar and vocals, Edward Braillif on synthesizers and guitar, and Joseph Mirasole on drums.


Formation and early work (2004-2010)[edit]

In September 2004, Southwestern University students Curtis Roush (guitar), Thomas Choate (drums) and Jack O’Brien (vocals/keyboards), along with Ryan “Badcock” O’Donoghue (bass) began playing together as a post-hardcore art rock collective. They were often billed with area hardcore bands such as 25 Dollar Massacre, Thumbscrew and At All Cost and quickly grew a reputation for their visceral live shows. The band took a year hiatus while Roush studied audio engineering and O’Brien studied linguistics and Flamenco guitar in Madrid, during which time Choate moved away to study eco building.[1]

In October 2006, upon O’Brien’s return, the band brought in Joseph Mirasole, a drummer from a local high school drum line, via Craigslist.[2] During this period the band recorded their first studio EP, Touches. Soon after, the band relocated to Austin where O’Brien and Roush enrolled in Master’s programs at the University of Texas. They parted ways amicably with Badcock, with Jack taking over bass duties and Roush helping with vocals.[3]

In 2008 they released the EP Love Like Montopolis, which showcased a more delicate, downtempo post-rock sound, and brought on local singer-songwriter A.J. Vincent on keys and vocals.[4]

The Bright Light Social Hour (2010–2014)[edit]

The band continued to grow their reputation with consistent high energy shows in southern states, their sound evolving to include elements of soul, southern rock and psychedelia.[5] The band released their debut full-length album in late 2010, entitled The Bright Light Social Hour. The album was recorded in Austin during summer 2010 with producer Danny Reisch.

Momentum built for the band under the leadership of new manager Alex O'Brien, and in March 2011 they swept the 29th Annual Austin Music Awards during SXSW,[6] with an unprecedented 6 awards, including Band of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year (for their song "Detroit").[7] Subsequently, The Bright Light Social Hour began a relentless touring schedule, playing over 400 shows across the United States, Canada and Mexico.[8] In July 2012 they opened for Aerosmith in Quebec City, and in 2013-2014 played such festivals as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Hangout Music Festival, Sasquatch! Music Festival, Wakarusa Music Festival and Ottawa Bluesfest.[9]

In January 2013, citing growing personal and creative differences, Vincent was replaced by keyboardist/guitarist Edward "Shreddward" Braillif, whom Mirasole had known DJing in Austin.[10][11]

On June 25, 2013 Mirasole, Roush and O'Brien were in attendance at Senator Wendy Davis' famous filibuster of Texas Senate Bill 5. Inspired by the ferocity of the crowd gathered in the Capitol, they rushed to their studio and by the morning had released the song "Wendy Davis," with an accompanying video made in part with protest footage taken on the band's phones. The video was featured in MSNBC's national coverage of the event.[12][13]

In May 2013 the band announced they'd begun work on their second full-length album, to be performed, produced and engineered by Roush, O'Brien and Mirasole.[14]

Space Is Still the Place (2015–present)[edit]

On January 19, 2015, after a severe and protracted battle with bipolar I disorder, Alex O'Brien, the band's long-time manager and Jack's brother, committed suicide. Jack discovered him outside the band's home studio where he resided soon after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had resigned his position as manager months earlier, but continued to advise the band until his death.[15]

On January 20, the band announced via The Huffington Post[16] that their newest album, Space Is Still the Place would be released March 10, 2015 on Frenchkiss Records.

On February 17, 2015, Jay Z's Life+Times premiered the music video for their first single, "Infinite Cities", directed by bassist/singer Jack O'Brien.[17]

Space Is Still the Place was released on March 10 to positive reviews, described by AllMusic's Mark Deming as "an ambitious and wildly entertaining journey into the minds of the men who created it." [18] The band celebrated the release with a performance at Stubb's Austin, joined onstage by outlaw country singer Ray Wylie Hubbard and ending with a tribute to Alex in the form of Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up, accompanied by prominent Austin musicians including Walker Lukens, Migrant Kids, and members of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears.[19] Official video of selected songs from the performance can be seen on the band's YouTube page.[20]

Following the release of Space Is Still the Place, TBLSH embarked on a year-long tour of the United States, Canada and Mexico, including runs supporting Dr. Dog, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Galactic.[21]

On November 13, 2015, shortly before taking the stage at Lincoln Hall (Chicago), the band heard news of the November 2015 Paris attacks and scrambled to have their performance recorded. Soon after, the digital album, Live at Lincoln Hall, was available for download from the band's Bandcamp page in exchange for any donation to the French Red Cross.[22]

In March of 2016, TBLSH released a cover of The Beach Boys' "All I Wanna Do", which was featured on the ALL ATX All Along the Moontower compilation.[23] They released a cover of The Beatles' "Sun King" for Amazon Music's Songs of Summer playlist.[24]

On November 4, 2016, TBLSH and Israel Nash released the three-song collaborative EP Neighbors. The EP was recorded between the two bands' studios near Austin, and was released digitally and as a limited edition 7" vinyl record.[25]

In January of 2017, Amazon Video released the series Sneaky Pete, for which TBLSH wrote the theme song "Harder Out Here."[26]

On January 20, Donald Trump's Inauguration Day, TBLSH released the Jim Eno-produced single, "Tear Down That Wall," described by the Austin-American Statesman as "a searing ode to unity." The accompanying video features Austin musicians as well as Cuban youth smiling and waving middle fingers.[27]


The Bright Light Social Hour operate as an audio production and engineering unit, recording and mixing themselves and artists such as Megafauna, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Walker Lukens, Migrant Kids and Bombay the Rapper out of their Austin studio, Escondido Sound.[28][29]



Live Albums[edit]

  • Live at Lincoln Hall, Chicago (2015)


  • Touches (2007)
  • Love Like Montopolis (2008)
  • Neighbors (2016) (with Israel Nash)


  • "Back and Forth" (2009)
  • "Wendy" (2013)
  • "Infinite Cities" (2015)
  • "Slipstream" (2015)
  • "Dreamlove" (2015)
  • "Lupita" (2016) (with Israel Nash)
  • "Tear Down That Wall" (2017)

Band members[edit]

  • Jack O'Brien – vocals, bass (2004–present)
  • Curtis Roush – vocals, guitar (2004–present)
  • Joseph Mirasole – drums (2006–present)
  • Edward Braillif – synthesizers, guitar (2013–present)
Former members
  • Ryan O'Donoghue – bass (2004–2007)
  • Thomas Choate - drums (2004-2006)
  • A.J. Vincent – keyboards, vocals (2008–2013)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jack’s experiences in Spanish cultural and literary studies roused his passion for creative storytelling.". Retrieved 2013-12-28. 
  2. ^ Butler, Susan (September 30, 2013). "ACL Preview Interview with The Bright Light Social Hour". ClevrCat. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  3. ^ "America". June 6, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Love Like Montopolis Description". CD Universe. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Austin Chronicle Biography". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  6. ^ "SXSW creates melting pot of international ventures". YNN. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  7. ^ "Austin Chronicle Austin Music Awards". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  8. ^ "Tour Dates". Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  9. ^ "The Bright Light Social Hour Gigography". Songkick. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  10. ^ "Here's a Light That Will Never Go Out". Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  11. ^ Parker, Paris (March 28, 2013). "Adventure of Paris Parker EP. 13 The Bright Light Social Hour". Wolf/Sheep. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ Lynn, Chris Apollo (June 27, 2013). "The Bright Light Social Hour Release Powerful New Anthem "Wendy Davis" in Response To SB5". Republic of Austin. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Interview: What inspired The Bright Light Social Hour to record a song for political hero Wendy Davis". LYFSTYL. Retrieved September 24, 2015. 
  14. ^ "New Songs/Recording Update". Official Website. Retrieved 2013-12-22. 
  15. ^ "Alexander O'Brien Obituary - Austin, TX | Austin American-Statesman". Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  16. ^ "The Bright Light Social Hour's 'Space Is Still the Place' Lays Out The Foundation For The 'Future South'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  17. ^ "Life+Times Video Premiere: The Bright Light Social Hour "Infinite Cities" | Life+Times". 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2015-05-07. 
  18. ^ "AllMusic Review: The Bright Light Social Hour's 'Space Is Still the Place' by Mark Deming". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  19. ^ "Bright Light Social Hour Celebrate Album Release at Stubb's BBQ (REVIEW)". Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  20. ^ "YouTube: The Bright Light Social Hour". Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  21. ^ "News; The Bright Light Social Hour". Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  22. ^ "Bright Light Social Hour Release Live Album Benefitting French Red Cross; Glide Magazine". 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  23. ^ "Song Premiere: The Bright Light Social Hour “All I Wanna Do” (Beach Boys Cover); Relix". 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-04-06. 
  24. ^ "Sun King The Bright Light Social Hour; Amazon Prime". 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  25. ^ "Austin360 On The Record: Bright Light Social Hour & Israel Nash, Tomar & the FCs and more; Austin360". 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  26. ^ "‘Sneaky Pete’ Main Title Theme Song ‘Harder Out Here’ Released; Film Music Reporter". 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  27. ^ "Listen: Bright Light Social Hour drops unity rock jam ‘Tear Down That Wall’; Austin360". 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-02-11. 
  28. ^ "Megafauna Get Spacey on Their New Album Welcome Home; Ovrld". 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  29. ^ "Megafauna Get Spacey on Their New Album Welcome Home; Ovrld". 2016-06-14. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 

External links[edit]