chris brokaw

Charnel Ground are Chris Brokaw (guitars), Kid Millions (drums) and James McNew (bass). Their debut LP was released April 6, 2018, and is for sale here.


upcoming shows

Aug 17 -- Chris Brokaw Rock Band
Somerville, MA, at Thunder Road, w/Count Zero + Trinary System

Aug 26 -- Chris Brokaw/Chris Guttmacher duo
Cambridge, MA, at Blue Bag Records, w/Dredd Foole and Dollar Bin; Chris writes: "Chris Guttmacher has always been one of the best drummers in this town (or any town). Lately we've been holing up in the basement after hours and brewing something. We'll bring it out at BLUE BAG RECORDS Sunday August 26, with DREDD FOOLE and DOLLAR BIN. Last show at Blue Bag (not closing, just stopping shows), come rage." details here

Sept 1 -- Chris Brokaw and Matthew Nolan presenting the works of Peter Hutton
Washington, DC, at The National Gallery of Art, 2:30pm: Chris and Matthew will present new musical scores for a selection of works by American filmmaker Peter Hutton (1944 – 2016), alternating between films in their original silent state and ones with live scores for guitars and electronics. Free and open to all! Details here.

Sept 7 -- Charnel Ground
Raleigh, NC, at the Hopscotch Festival; Charnal Ground for this show are Chris on guitars, Kid Millions on drums, and Doug McCombs on bass. Listen here

Sept 8 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Jamaica Plain, MA, at Midway Cafe

Sept 14 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Framingham, MA, at Exhibit A

Oct 1 -- Chris Brokaw Rock Band
Cambridge, MA, at Charlie's Kitchen, w/Major Stars

Oct 7 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Greenfield, MA, at The Root Cellar, w/New Parents

OCT-NOV, 2018
Chris and Thalia played together in the Matador band Come in the 1990s. In the years since they have remained friends and occasional collaborators. On this tour, Chris and Thalia will be playing solo sets and together as well. All shows will be in private homes. Schedule and ticketing by Undertow Music. Contact Undertow by July 20 if you're interested in hosting a show in or near the cities below. Tickets go on sale August 20.

Oct 10 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Baltimore, MD, venue & ticket info

Oct 11 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Richmond, VA, venue & ticket info

Oct 12 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Durham, NC, venue & ticket info

Oct 13 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Asheville, NC, venue & ticket info

Oct 15 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Atlanta, GA, venue & ticket info

Oct 16 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Birmingham, AL, venue & ticket info

Oct 17 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Pensacola, FL, venue & ticket info

Oct 18 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
New Orleans, LA, venue & ticket info

Oct 19 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Baton Rouge, LA, venue & ticket info

Oct 20 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Houston, TX, venue & ticket info

Oct 21 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Austin, TX, venue & ticket info

Oct 23 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Dallas, TX, venue & ticket info

Oct 24 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Denton, TX, venue & ticket info

Oct 25 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Little Rock, AR, venue & ticket info

Oct 26 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Memphis, TN, venue & ticket info

Oct 27 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Nashville, TN, venue & ticket info

Oct 28 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Louisville, KY, venue & ticket info

Oct 30 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Cleveland, OH, venue & ticket info

Oct 31 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Pittsburgh, PA, venue & ticket info

Nov 1 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Clearfield, PA, venue & ticket info

Nov 2 -- CB/TZ Living Room Tour
Albany / Hudson River Valley, NY, venue & ticket info

NOV, 2018
Additional dates and venues to be announced.

Nov 14 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Berlin, Germany, at Ballhausost, w/Locust Fudge + Mondo Fumatore

Nov 17 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Brest, France, at the Invisible Festival

Nov 22 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Groeningen, NL, at Club Vera

Nov 23 -- Chris Brokaw Solo
Rotterdam, NL, at Old Church of Charlois, w/Howie Reeve + Jasper Stadhouters, presented by Wijnbar Koffie & Ambacht; details here

[last updated August 13, 2018]


Chris is proud to release THE HAND THAT WROTE THIS LETTER, a new cd of instrumental classical guitar versions of David Bowie and Prince songs. This is Capitan Records 014, the first Capitan release in a few years. The album was recorded by Claudia Groom in Seattle, WA in October and November 2016, and mastered by Matt Barnhart.

This cd is available through this website and at Chris's shows. It's for sale here for $12 postagepaid (US), $14 (CAN), $16 (World). It is also for sale as download at Bandcamp.



Below is an interview Chris gave with Carsten Wohlfeld for Westzeit Magazine about the new cd.

1. Can you say a few words about how this album came about, something with a wedding, I recall?

---I was asked to play a friend's wedding in San Francisco in July 2016. I asked the bride what she'd like me to play, and she said "I'd really like if you played some David Bowie and Prince songs". I said "I wont sing them - I dont think your guests want that - but I'll try them as instrumentals". I did 4 or 5 at the wedding and when I got home just kept playing them obsessively. I decided to make it ten songs, and then an album.

2. I wouldn't have taken you for a huge Bowie or Prince fan, so how familiar were you with these songs? Most of them came out when you were a teenager, I seems?

---Ive been a big Bowie fan for many years, Prince somewhat less so. Some of these songs came out when I was a child, but I dont think that's especially important.

3. How did you select the songs out of the wealth of material that both artists have to offer?

---it was kind of intuitive. honestly, all these songs have different significances for me, many of them highly personal. three of the songs i never heard until after they each died, and i felt it important to include those, as so much great work is only learned after an artist's death. they're not necessarily my favorite songs of theirs, but important ones for me. the album is deliberately incomplete, as i feel the album is mostly about memory, which is inherently both highly personal and highly flawed.

4. I guess there's a few that kind of lend themselves more easily to an acoustic adaptation, like "Letter to Hermione" or "The Man Who Sold The World", but I'm wondering how you could possibly listen to "When You Were Mine" or "I Would Die 4 U" and think, "Yeah, just one acoustic guitar and no voice will do"?

----that was not always easy. some songs, like "heroes", were impossible to do solo acoustic and i discarded them. these ones seemed to work for me. again, much of this is personal in a way that is specific to the ways i play guitar.

5. Is there some kind of pattern you followed, when it came to pairing down the songs (if so, what was it)?

---no, and i didn't want to overthink it. as ive said, it's really not a complete take on these guys, and that was important to me. it's not a definitive statement on them, or on my feelings about their catalogs. i wanted it be half of each, but it ended up 6 Bowie 4 Prince. overall i have a stronger attachment to Bowie's songs. And even lumping these 2 guys together is a bit random, but they really felt connected in 2016.

6. You're obviously no stranger to solo instrumental music, but with your own stuff, the songs were intended to have no vocals. Did you ever find it difficult to just let go of that layer, that dimension of the originals?

----not at all, and mostly because those singers are so distinctive. like, i really dont want to hear anyone else singing them (including me). this album is like hearing someone humming along with the songs.

7. I love how much these songs sound like CB numbers, testament to how distinctive your guitar playing is, I guess. Was that an intention or did it just naturally turn out that way?

----just how it came out, but thank you! i felt like the versions were deliberately pretty faithful but allowing to taking in my own turns.

8. Silly one at the end: If you were to do a part two of this project: Which two other artists would you consider to be worthy of your time and effort?

---i dont know, probably plenty. hopefully no one else has to die to make the next record happen!

(See the article in, a German online music magazine, that this interview was for.)

In December 2017, OMENTUM RECORDS of Pittsburgh released Chris' 2008 CD "CANARIS" on vinyl.

Black vinyl and limited edition goldenrod, plus new liner notes by Steve Lowenthal (VDSQ) and Wlad Drakkstein (Vlad Tepes). For sale here!

"BARRACUDA," a feature film by Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund with a film score by Chris, had its US release on October 6, 2017.

The movie was nominated for the SXSW Gamechanger Award and the SXSW Grand Jury Award at the SXSW Film Festival 2017, and won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the Oak Cliff Film Festival.

See the Hollywood Reporter review and what the filmmakers say about the movie.

Barracuda Poster

The feature film 'Barracuda,' with a film score by Chris, was released in October 2017 in the US (see this poster full size)

BARRACUDA is available in the US on video on demand from cable/satellite providers as well as from digital streaming services including Amazon, iTunes (US & Canada), Kanopy, Google Play, Vudu, Fandango Now, and Hoopla.

In a duo with Jimena Bermejo, Chris performed new work for slide guitars and dance in August 2017 during an evening of NEW WORKS / NEW CONFIGURATIONS. The program was part of the MOBIUS SUMMER SERIES. (Watch their performance here.)

In September 2017, Chris presented 5 films of experimental filmmaker Peter Hutton (1944-2016) at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge -- 3 with live scores, 2 in their original silent state -- with audience discussion after.

Also in 2017, Chris wrote the soundtrack for the forthcoming feature film "BUCK RUN," scheduled for release in 2018. The movie stars James Le Gros and is directed by Nick Frangione.

THE NEW YEAR's first album in nine years, "SNOW," was released April 28, 2017. The band features Matt and Bubba Kadane on guitars, Mike Donofrio on bass, and Chris on drums.

The Pitchfork review calls it "a spare, deliberate record, judiciously paced and artfully arranged. With its wide-open vistas and vast expanses of negative space, the album lays claim to the territory the band staked out 25 years back while managing to turn over a couple new leaves."

The New Year 2017

The New Year's "Snow" was released in April, 2017

See THE NEW YEAR website for other reviews and purchasing info.


recent releases


"CHARNEL GROUND" lp -- 12XU, April 6, 2018 -- Charnel Ground's debut release was recorded in Brooklyn, NY, and features Kid Millions (Oneida/Boredoms) on drums, Chris on electric guitar, and James McNew (Yo La Tengo) on bass + organ. Listen on bandcamp. “'The High Price' is a total rager, with Kid and McNew laying down a demonic beat and Brokaw coughing up shards of glorious riffage and white-hot feedback,” says Doom and Gloom from the Tomb. “But the album isn’t all thrash-and-burn. 'Playa del Ticia' and 'Skeleton Coast' are both sunshine-infused pop numbers. Best of all is the closing self-titled epic, with the band finding an elevated plane of sonic conversation over the course of nearly 18 wonderfully transporting minutes.” A download code is included with the LP. For sale here!


CHRIS BROKAW "THE HAND THAT WROTE THIS LETTER" cd -- Capitan Records, November 28, 2017 -- When a friend asked Chris to play at her wedding in 2016, Chris asked her for requests -- and she said David Bowie and Prince. Chris turned some of their songs into classical guitar instrumentals, performed a few at the wedding, began playing them obsessively at home, and decided to make an album. This CD, 014 on Chris' Capitan Records label, was recorded by Claudia Groom October/November 2016 in Seattle, Washington, and mastered by Matthew Barnhart in Chicago, Illinois. For sale here!


CHRIS BROKAW "CANARIS" lp -- Omentum Records, December 9, 2017 -- This is an LP reissue/remaster of Chris' 2008 CD. Available in GOLDENROD or BLACK vinyl. New art and liner notes by Steve Lowenthal (VDSQ) and Wlad Drakkstein (Vlad Tepes). For sale here!

Chris November 2017

Chris, November 2017, by Thalia Zedek