Guitarist, songwriter, and producer Brad Laner has been one of the most prolific men on the Los Angeles indie rock scene since the 1980s, releasing literally hundreds of records with various bands and under a handful of identities, but it wasn't until 2007 that he got around to putting out his first record, Neighbor Singing, under his own name.
Born in 1967, Laner began making music with the group Debt of Nature in the early '80s, releasing five cassette-only albums and appearing on several compilations. Laner recorded with several other groups before joining the celebrated noise rock band Savage Republic, appearing on their final two albums, Jamahiriya and Customs. In 1991, Laner formed the group Medicine, whose fusion of raw, thickly distorted guitar work and graceful pop melodies earned them favorable comparisons with the ringleaders of the British "shoegazing" scene and a contract with the prestigious U.K. label Creation Records. Medicine's first album, Shot Forth Self Living, appeared in the U.K. in the summer of 1992, and was released in the United States a few months later by Rick Rubin's American Recordings. Medicine broke up after the release of their third LP, 1995's Her Highness, but Laner assembled a new version of the band in 2002 to reestablish the name after another group began calling itself Medicine, and a new album appeared in 2003, The Mechanical Forces of Love.
During the interim, Laner recorded with Lusk, Amnesia, Personal Electronics, and Vas Deferens Organization, but his most prolific and personal project was Electric Company, which debuted in 1995 with A Pert Cyclic Omen and had released another eight albums and five EPs by 2004. Laner has also done session work on albums by Brian Eno, Blinker the Star, 17 Pygmies, and Fourwaycross, and reckons to have appeared on over 300 albums since he began making music. After Laner and his wife had a son in 2004, he began focusing more of his activities on home recording in order to devote more time to his family, and one of the results was Neighbor Singing, co-produced by Thom Monahan and released by the independent Hometapes label in 2007. During this period he was also working with Alex Graham (who records under the name Lexaunculpt) on a band called the Internal Tulips. Their debut album, Mislead into a Field by a Deformed Deer, was released by Planet Mu in March of 2010 (the label had previously issued an Electric Company album in 2001). It was followed in August by Laner's second solo album for Hometapes, Natural Selections. His solo career was put on hold soon after when the original lineup of Medicine had a surprise reunion based around Captured Tracks reissues of the group's first two albums in 2012. They recorded and released a new album, the excellent return to form To the Happy Few, for their new label in 2013. Laner returned to the solo arena soon after with the release of Nearest Suns for Hometapes in late 2013. In 2015, Drawing Room Records released a limited cassette by Laner titled For Magnetic Tape. A year later, the label issued Micro-Awakenings, a long-shelved double LP of short experimental pieces recorded between 2003 and 2009. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi