Early in the first track on Scattered Smothered Covered, the new album by Appetite, Teddy Briggs sings, “songs keep writing themselves” and the resulting collection of music seems to do exactly that! This early lyric is a testament to the sense of musical ease and fluency this 27-year-old Californian creates with this record. Originally conceived as a project to, as Briggs simply puts it, “try and make songs all by myself,” Appetite has, on this new disc, flourished, conjuring songs buoyed by a spirit that vibrates with the influences of downtempo electronica, hip-hop, Tropicalia, and the far-reaching sonics of Can, early Mercury Rev, and certain shades of Beck.
Scattered’s density is par for the course for Briggs. The self-taught producer started his musical career as a drummer (beginning it as drummer for Rooney in his hometown of Los Angeles and on to Sacramento instrumental outfit What’s Up?) but started putting together his own pop symphonies on an eight track recorder. His first album The Ambiguous Garment (self-released under the name Chief Briggum) carries with it the same 300-thread count combination of softness and substance that Briggs has only expanded upon with album #2. Just listen to the multi-tracked vocals that hop along a follow-the-bouncing-ball rhythm before joining a stutter-step beat and low humming bassline on “Tussy”. Or the shimmering throb of the heartsick anthem “Little While”. Or the reverb-drenched “Franchise” that builds upon a double-tracked acoustic guitar line and a clattering bit of percussion that hides just below the surface.
Briggs says that he chose his musical moniker because he thinks, “a lot of people, myself included, are hungry for things that they can’t even name. Or hungry for things they think they need, which they already have. I think that’s a running theme in my songs.” You can hear that idea in “Blunderground,” where he sings, “I keep trying too hard to float too far away,” or when he chides “Merry Anne” for trying “to carry the burdens you run from, fast enough to crash against what you thought you’d outlast.”
These are songs that reveal layers upon layers for the headphone listener or just provide a nice bed of gorgeous sound for you to rest upon. Like the namesake method for ordering up your home fries or hash browns, Scattered Smothered Covered is satisfyingly rich, and sure to whet your own musical appetite.
past press for Appetite:
“Long ago, Impose covered a freak-folk Sacramento band called Appetite. So long ago, songs with jokes about hipsters were still kinda rad. Teddy Briggs, the brainchild behind Appetite, has abandoned those goofball musings for maturer high ground. But before we begin lauding his debut on Crossbill (home of Sea of Bees) let’s bask in his tropicalia interpretation of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”.
Cash’s twangy bounce has been deflated for Brigg’s vision, which takes an adjective approach to the title with “Fiery Ring”. Briggs is the former drummer of What’s Up?. The better part of his Appetite debut masks his roots as a skins banger, opting to focus on the singer-songwriter aspect, but “Fiery Ring” is a balance of the identities. Not only is Briggs able to reimagine the Cash staple from a songwriter’s point of view, but he accompanies it with off-kilter percussion that proves he’s still a drummer at heart.”
– Blake Gillespie-Impose
“After being completely obsessed with Teddy Briggs’ upcoming album since its inception at The Hangar Studios I have been talking about Appetite for some time now. With no announced release date, artwork, or track listing made public yet I have been basically shouting in the dark. Although I can tell you a few things, it is coming soon via Crossbill Records, and also, Appetite just dropped this cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”, renaming it “Fiery Ring” which has been on repeat since the second it graced my ears.”
– Terror Eyes
“Appetite began as the solo project of Teddy Briggs, member of Sacramento’s hyperactive What’s Up?. After exploring solo recording under the name Chief Briggum, Briggs recorded a second full-length on his own and assembled a backing band for his live shows with members of Sholi. Appetite’s Scattered Smothered Covered integrates the crisp and the complex, playing on the lyrical bounce of hip-hop and delivered over electronic pop and softer guitar-structured numbers. Recommended for those who enjoy What’s Up, Why? and Menomena. It was just announced that the record will be re-released on vinyl and with bonus tracks next spring/summer on Crossbill Records, the Sacramento label that released Sea of Bees’ debut Songs for the Ravens earlier this year.”
– The Bay Bridged
“One listen will confirm the applicability of the title, as Appetite drifts from the tropicalia vibes of “Warn Me, Right,” that might gather comparisons to the trend toward prep school-afrobeat, to the American-born indie stomp of “Tussy.” Appetite could get critical nod to contemporaries such as Sufjan Stevens, Vampire Weekend and Andrew Bird, but is by no means eating from their silver plates and sampling their wines. Scattered. Smothered. Covered. is far too mature and calculated for such novice missteps.”
“Teddy Briggs is in What’s Up. When he’s not doing the What’s Up thing, he’s living in Sacramento (which contrary to belief is not “underground”) making coltish pop that’s missing a screw. With lyrics this off the ornery farm, it feels like a sham that What’s Up is an instrumental outfit. Briggs is like a Nor Cal Chad VanGaalen on The Ambiguous Garment.”