Stephen Brennan

Freelance Content Writer

Location icon United States of America

Since moving down here from New York City, I have written for chiefly the Voice Media publications, Broward and Miami New Times, most of my work featuring in the music section. However, I have had pieces also appear in The Village Voice, Riverfront Times, Westword, Phoenix New Times and O.C. Weekly. I love writing about music. Music is a language, a fuel, a sobering tonic, an escapist narcotic. It soundtracks life’s euphoric highs and desperate lows, and provides welcome distraction while walking the dog. My tastes in music are eclectic, though they are probably neither as refined nor as cool as I would like to think. I grew up as a decidedly awkward late ‘90s teen in the north of England, so Britpop acted as my gateway drug to a plethora of other aural delights - both looking backward to ‘60s garage rock, girl groups, ‘70s glam, Krautrock, punk, and shoegaze, while trying to keep one’s ear to a more contemporary sound.

Miami New Times
Prog-Rock Legends of Yes Return to South Florida

"Yes were once as welcome as pornography in the Vatican," legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman muses. Times have certainly changed for the English prog-rock behemoth. After punk exploded on both sides of the Atlantic in the late '70s, bands such as Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer seemed as antiquated as Tin Pan Alley, their tendency for lengthy, challenging albums with titles as...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
A New Yorker's First Time on the Fort Lauderdale Bar Scene

Living in New York City was exhausting. My wife and I lived there for eight years and loved it. However, its intoxicating alchemy of history, culture, cuisine, and attitude was a fuel that ran low as ever-increasing rents and cost of living hit heavy. Southward ho we went to the...

Village Voice
Popular Music Needs to Become Political Again

Like it or not, Pharell Williams' "Happy" is likely to be the top-selling single of 2014. And yes, its buoyant '60s soul vibe and simple, positive message is modern pop perfection. But scanning the rest of this year's biggest hits, one is struck by a consistent theme: All of these songs are distinctly apolitical. Contemporary slang and the loosening of certain taboos aside, they could have been written in 2002, 1992, even 1982.

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
15 Best Songs From '80s Movies (Besides "The Power of Love")

Huey Lewis and the News hit the Hard Rock in Hollywood this Friday, bringing their chronically out of fashion, but irresistibly straight forward rock with them. Expect hit after hit - "Hip To Be Square", "Happy To Be Stuck With You" and "The Heart of Rock n' Roll" to churned...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
World Cup Starts Today: A Brit Talks Hand of God

Stephen Brennan, a Brit, teacher, and soccer fanatic, will tell the World Cup's craziest moments over the next few days. This is the first installment. Almost a century ago, during the first Christmas of the bloodbath that was World War I, war weary German and British soldiers climbed hesitantly out...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
The Kids Are Alright: Ten Sons and Daughters of Rock Worth a Second Listen

On September 10, the legend of Frank Zappa lives on as his son, Dweezil brings the ferociously grinding grooves and surrealist lyrical musings of his father to Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room. Dweezil is currently leading the band, Zappa Plays Zappa, around the country, playing some of his dad's albums in...

Miami New Times
Armin van Buuren - Baoli, Miami Beach

There's a nascent feeling among certain electronic dance music connoisseurs that DJs were better when they were anonymous. Since the rise of the brutal grinds of dubstep and the polished populism of electro-house, DJs are in the public eye more than ever. They adorn mainstream magazine covers, walk red carpets,...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Ten Solo Artists Who Got Bigger Than Their Bands

British DJ Fatboy Slim makes his return to South Florida this week, with a show at the Fontainebleau's LIV Nightclub on Saturday. To most U.S. audiences the DJ, real name Norman Cook, first made his mark with the joyously triumphant, sonically pulverizing 1998 album, You've Come a Long Way, Baby,...
When The Sound Changes: 5 Of The Best, 5 Of The Worst -

As the Kings of Leon ready themselves for their comeback album Mechanical Bull, many wonder what incarnation of the band listeners can expect. Few in recent memory have endured such a critical lashing for altering their sound, while simultaneously becoming massively popular. Their debut Youth and Young Manhood saw them celebrated as a southern fried ...

Miami New Times
Morrissey's Six Most Controversial Moments

Oh, Morrissey. On record, he is often compared to a lyrical Oscar Wilde, but his day-to-day outbursts occasionally make him seem like a particularly grouchy Truman Capote. From slagging off the British Royal Family and bitching about carnivores to addressing his sexual identity, the Moz has never been shy about...

Miami New Times
Paul Oakenfold on Trance: "It's Definitely Having a Resurgence in America"

Amid the manic hype of the so-called "EDM explosion," it is reassuring that DJs like Paul Oakenfold are still around. As one of the founding fathers of trance, Oakenfold has proven to be a dance innovator for over 20 years, influencing the masses' conception of electronic music and contributing to...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Funky Biscuit Celebrates Birthday With Living Legends and Local Heroes

There's reason to head up to the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton three nights in a row this week. The venue is celebrating its 4th anniversary, kicking off on Thursday with a show featuring Fort Lauderdale natives, The Heavy Pets in all their psychedelic splendor. Expect funk-drenched jams, tight harmonies...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Datsik Brings Big Bass to Fourth of July at Revolution Live

It is a wonder why someone with a name as cool as "Troy Beetles" needs a stage name. Either way, Beetles, AKA Datsik, brings his hard-hitting alloy of bass-heavy dubstep, bombastic house, and funky hip-hop to Revolution Live on the Fourth of July. Canadian-born, Steve Aoki-mentored, Datsik has been steadily...

Miami New Times
Comeback Queen Cher Returns to South Florida

It is difficult to believe that when Cher first topped the charts, LBJ was in the White House and America was taking its first steps into the quagmire of Vietnam. She is one of an elite few in the annals of pop history who aptly deserves to be called a...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
11 Best Albums of 2014 That You Should Be Listening to

2014 has been a year of the tragic and the absurd, with the former just about edging it. Israel-Hamas, ISIS, the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Robin Williams, Ebola, Malaysia Airlines tragedies (twice!); the list of events that will characterize this year range from the God-awful to the...
The Rock Biopic: 5 Of The Best, 5 Of The Worst -

Sasha Baron Cohen's announcement that he is leaving the unnamed Freddie Mercury biopic caused quite a stir earlier this week. The Borat actor, who was slated to play Mercury, has cited the clichéd "creative differences" with the surviving members of Queen. It seems Brian May, et al were at odds with Cohen's vision of the ...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Kobra and the Lotus with Kiss and Def Leppard July 22

"Nineteen years ago, I was watching Def Leppard with some friends up in Calgary, standing in the nose-bleeds; now I'm getting to support them on tour... This is surreal!" says Brittany Paige, AKA Kobra Paige. She's the lead singer and chief songwriter of heavy-metal revivalists Kobra and the Lotus. Her...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
World Cup's Craziest Moments: Trail Blazers and Broken Teeth

Stephen Brennan, a Brit, teacher, and soccer fanatic, will tell the World Cup's craziest moments over the next few days. Read the others here. Cameroon Makes It to the Quarters, 1990 Teams outside the strongholds of South America and Europe had featured in the World Cup before. There had been...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Tonight! Joey Molland Brings Badfinger to Hippie Fest at the Broward Center

Mention the name Badfinger and the account of their infamous, tragic story comes to mind. Famously hailed by the Beatles as the next big thing, and signed to their Apple label, the band emerged from the shadow of the Fab Four to be one of the most respected rock outfits...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Ten Most Underrated Artists of All Time

The recent catastrophe that was Robin Thicke's Paula album restores a degree of faith in humanity. For a while, it was almost impossible to avoid this purveyor of misogynistic drivel clogging up the radio and television. The follow-up to last year's massive Blurred Lines sold a mere 24,000 copies in...

Riverfront Times
1984: A Probing Musical Retrospective

George Orwell's predictions in his dystopian classic 1984 seem more apt for 2014 than the titular year. The scale and scope of our intelligence agencies suggest that Big Brother is well and truly with us.

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Drake and Lil Wayne Bromance, Wednesday at Cruzan

After Jay Z and Beyoncé did not attend Kanye West's wedding to Kim Kardashian, rap fans put forward a theory that Yeezus is articulating his indignation by censoring Jay Z's name from his recent live performances. But weep not; they weren't even the biggest bromance in rap. That title surely...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Ten Live Aid Acts You Shouldn't Have Forgotten

Live Aid is 30 years old this week. The concert for Ethiopia, held simultaneously at London's Wembley and Philadelphia's John F Kennedy stadium, brought together a who's who of pop and rock. Titans were made at the two concerts: Freddie Mercury and Queen stole the show, U2 took a giant...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Which Is It? Five Reasons Rock Is Dead; Five Reasons Rock Is Still Alive and Well

Sinead O'Connor believes that Kim Kardashian's appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone represents the death of music. Her provocative tweet last week blasted both the reality T.V. star and the magazine, and left bloggers split whether the Irish singer was telling it like it is, or trolling to muster...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Ten Musicians Besides James Brown Who Deserve Biopics

The trajectory of the life of a rock 'n' roll star and the Hollywood movie go hand in hand. Our protagonist is often a tortured genius, raised from the gutter to the glitz and glamour of fame, drunk on its toxic alchemy of drink, drugs, and destructive romance. There might...
Watch: Florence Welch Tipsy Cover Of "Get Lucky" -

Clearly twinkling from a few tequilas, a Machine-less Florence Welch belted out an impromptu rendition of Daft Punk's hit "Get Lucky" Friday night at a bar in London, backed by British cover band Sourberry. The ethereal warbler, last heard earlier this year on The Great Gatsby movie soundtrack, crashed the band's soundcheck and performed an ...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Musicians Who've Taken Sides in Israel-Palestine Conflict

To us mere plebeians, social media is often a voyeuristic peek into the glamorous idiocy of celebrity. We get to see their endless slew of selfies, obtain a first glance at whatever new thing they are trying to sell us, and we can chuckle at their all caps, poorly written...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Tarrus Riley Takes Revolution Live Tonight

Revolution Live becomes the church of Tarrus Riley tonight, as the Rastafarian reggae singer brings his wonderfully eclectic mix of roots, soul and rocksteady to Fort Lauderdale. The son of Jamaican legend, Jimmy Riley, Tarrus has evolved from his Bronx and Florida beginnings as a dancehall deejay to a bona...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Five Donald Trump Campaign Songs That Are Better Than "Rockin' in the Free World"

Now that Donald Trump has entered the race for president, the Republican clown car of candidates may need to be upgraded to a bus. The real estate mogul's announcement of his candidacy earlier this week was soundtrack by Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," without the blessing of the...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Record Store Day 2015's Best Releases

Ten years ago, vinyl sales in the United States struggled to get to a million. Last year about 7.9 million vinyl LPs were sold in the United States alone, up 49% from the year before. America's few vinyl record factories are unable to keep up with the swelling demand. A...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Local Talent Comes Together for a Good Cause This Weekend at Jump the Shark

On any given weekend you can walk into Fort Lauderdale's Jump the Shark and expect to find a loud and bright smorgasbord of art and music. And this weekend is no different. The Shark Valley Sisters are bringing its raw, attitudinal rock to a wonderfully eclectic line-up at Jewel's Squeaky Wheels Get...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Music + Politics: The Nine Most Bizarre Moments

To the casual observer, the Democrat primary campaign appears a tad flaccid in comparison to the hilarity of the Republican race. That said, things have started getting a little more interesting on the left side of things as Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign picks up steam. The Vermont senator's progressive grass...

OC Weekly
Why Popular Music Needs to Become Political Again - OC Weekly

By: Steve Brennan Like it or not, Pharell Williams' "Happy" is likely to be the top-selling single of 2014. And yes, its buoyant '60s soul vibe and simple, positive message is modern pop perfection. But scanning the rest of this year's biggest hits, one is struck by a consistent theme: All of these songs are ...

New Times Broward-Palm Beach
Ten Artists Who Must Be Considered For the Next Bond Song

Production on the 24th Bond flick, Spectre, is just about wrapping up, and the jury's still out on who will be doing the accompanying title track. Director Sam Mendes has said audiences will not find out till "very, very late in the day," which must be fairly imminent as the...