Moses Brown of Texas punk bands Institute and Glue released his first cassette under the name Peace de Résistance - a solo project where he plays all the instruments - in October 2020. That cassette found Brown bouncing his growing songwriting chops off the fuzz-drenched Zamrock sound of Paul Ngozi, Witch, and Amanaz. However, Bits and Pieces - Peace de Résistance’s first full-length and first vinyl release - has a wider vista. Brown describes the sound as “demented glam rock,” and while you can hear remnants of the Zamrock influence in the sinuously melodic fuzz guitar, the more pertinent frames of reference are Diamond Dogs -era Bowie, 70s Lou Reed, and Iggy’s The Idiot and Lust for Life. Bits and Pieces recalls those records’ potent combination of artistic ambition, street-level rock and roll swagger, and pop charm, but filtered through the DIY punk aesthetics of Brown’s previous work. Lyrically, the album documents life on the fringes in a hyper-surveilled 2020s America, with songs like “Don’t 1099 Me,” “We Got the Right to Be Healthy,” and “Exploitation” wrenching plainspoken poetry from an existence that will be all too familiar to anyone at odds with capitalism. After nine timeless art-rock songs, Bits and Pieces lets us down gently with “Sitting in Disguise.” This motorik-inspired instrumental offers a rickety, dilapidated update of Neu!’s seamless futurism, implying that the only appropriate response to our predicament is to keep moving forward.
Our take: I actually wrote the “official” blurb for Peace de Résistance’s debut LP so you can consult that for my super objective take on the record. For the Sorry State newsletter, though, I can let my guard down and effuse about how much I love this record. I’ve been listening to Bits and Pieces for months (a perk of helping them with distribution), and with each play, I only love it more. I’d been a fan of Moses’s previous projects and the things I loved about those bands—his lyricism in Institute, the rawness and intensity of Glue—are there in Peace de Résistance’s music, but the framework is totally different. When I say that Bits and Pieces sounds like glam rock I don’t mean the more formulaic bootboy glam that’s been a minor trend in the underground for a few years. Instead, Bits and Pieces reminds me of the more fleshed-out and self-consciously artistic sound of landmark 70s rock records like David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World or Lou Reed’s Transformers. This isn’t someone cracking the code of a particular sound or style and reiterating the formula with minor adjustments; these are songs, and great ones at that. But despite how sophisticated the songwriting is, the record is also raw as fuck, with blistering tones on all the instruments and the same sort of DIY charm that we in the underground need to hear in order to take something seriously. I love Moses’s lyrical approach on Bits and Pieces, which avoids cliches and generalizations, summoning a straightforwardness that the Clash would envy. I’d never guess you could write a great song about a tax form, but “Don’t 1099 Me” proves you can. Oh, Peace de Résistance’s secret weapon might be Moses’s bass playing. Maybe it sticks out more to me because I play bass, but the grooves behind every song are so powerful and infectious. I’m sure he’s a busy guy, but someone should get him in as a ringer on the bass. Maybe I’m crazy and this is just striking some particular chord with me, but I’ve already listened to Bits and Pieces so much that it’ll be inextricably tied to this part of my life. Maybe you’ll like the album that much, or maybe you won’t. If you don’t, I hope you can find something else, because to love an album like this is what it’s all about for me.