Brad San Martin has secret charisma. He is Secret Charisma, a one-man home-recording project composed of off-kilter pop songs, audio experiments, conceptual quandaries and frozen moments.
Best known as a member of One Happy Island, the internationally-known micro-orchestral Boston pop collective, San Martin has also been known to contribute onstage instrumental support to bands such as Let’s Whisper, the Marshmallow Kisses, Boy Genius and King Wilkie.
In 2009, WeePOP! Records released his self-titled debut EP — actually a 14-minute headphone opera about coming home — which featured a cast of indiepop luminaries, including Kristin Andreassen, Nichole Ferree, Desmond Reed and Mark Robinson.
His new single, “Complications,” is drawn from the upcoming 22-track anthology Satellites: Home Recordings & Demos, 2004-2009 (Casa Nueva Industries, CN-1010). “Complications” features two b-sides unavailable elsewhere: “Angel, Please,” a propulsive lo-fi pop song, and “Lord Thomas,” a disarming, unsettling version of an ancient murder ballad.
RIYL: One Happy Island, Colin Clary, Desmond Reed, Monster Bobby, Andrew Bird, The Lucksmiths
EDIT: June 24, 2010: “Complications” on Happy Pocket blog.
EDIT: June 25, 2010: “Complications” mentioned on Beerandbands:
February records (yep them again!) can’t seem to stop putting out stuff of quality at the moment. This time it’s a duo of free downloads for you to wrap your ears round. … the other is Secret Charisma which is the side project of Brad from One Happy Island who, by the way, are wonderful.
EDIT: June 26, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Eardrums:
Another goodie from the same label is the new ep from Secret Charisma, a solo-project from One Happy Island‘s Brad San Martin. The three songs on this ep are folky, lo-fi pop-songs with the same fun and interesting twists and turns we know from his main band. The three songs are quite different from each other, from the indiepop title track “Complications”, via the very lo-fi ukulele song “Angel, please” to a perfect ending with the classic folk-ballad “Lord Thomas”. The ep is freely available from this address, – also highly recommended.
EDIT: June 26, 2010: “Complications” on area 51 del corazon blog.
EDIT: July 1, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Side Ponytail:
Instrumentally, these songs are pure pop with sweet ukulele strumming and soft, melodic keyboards … . “Angel, Please” a simple, strummy ukulele song is my favorite of the three and it’s sandwiched neatly between the keyboard-poppy title track and “Lord Thomas,” an understated traditional-sounding ballad that closes out the single. There’s a lot of variety in these three songs, which makes me curious about what other genres might be explored on the forthcoming Satellites.
EDIT: July 15, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Burning World’s Pod Fodder:
This is a track from another one of those free singles made available by the very nice people at February Records. According to the catalogue number it’s the seventh release on the label and as far as I’m concerned they’ve yet to miss the target. This one is by a band called Secret Charisma who according to the press release is the one man home recording project of Brad San Martin who might be better known for being in One Happy Island, a track from whom was featured in last weeks Fodder. The single is a taster for the forthcoming album “Satellites, Home Recordings & Demos 2004-2009” which will be released by Casa Nueva Industries at some point in the not too distant future.
EDIT: Aug. 4, 2010: “Complications” reviewed on Russell’s Reviews:
… “Lord Thomas” however is fantastic, some kind of ghostly folk song. It’s something that’s been plucked from the realms of folklore and resurrected through a haze of wistfulness.