Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Psychic Temple's 'Brother O' Video Captures A Dazzling Southern California

There's reality, and then there's what we tell ourselves. Both can be terrifying and difficult, even disastrous. Chris Schlarb tackles an old friendship, misconceptions, grace and the passing of time in Psychic Temple's "Brother O."

The forthcoming III sees the Long Beach musician not only fully commit to the Psychic Temple name, but also embrace the SoCal singer-songwriter mode suggested by previous volumes. "Brother O" is a breezy, beachy number that's way more involved than it lets on. Schlarb's secret weapon — the double-drum-kit power of Tabor Allen and Sheridan Riley — provides busy and intricate Afro-Caribbean rhythms that move and sway at the front of the mix while Steuart Liebig thoughtfully and gracefully walks the frets of his bass. Schlarb's low-key electric guitar offers up some Muscle Shoals soul between beats with ringing piano chords. Everything opens up sky-wide at the chorus, as a strummed 12-string acoustic introduces Schlarb's voice, which plaintively asks an old friend why he thinks the world is against him.

"Brother O" is visualized in a dazzling video by Jessica Nicole Collins, a with an eye for the beautiful movement and details of life. (Full disclosure: I released albums by both Schlarb and Collins on my now-dormant label.) She quick-cuts scenes of L.A., Long Beach and snow-covered mountains with beaches, live mariachi and metal bands, and dancers in nightclubs. "She has an ability to distill an essence, and she really captures Southern California here," Schlarb says of Collins. "Also, the song is sexy, and I felt like she could communicate that in a very honest way."

III comes out May 6 on Asthmatic Kitty.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit