Their debut album, Bang Bang Rock & Roll, was released on 30 May 2005, with its follow up, It's a Bit Complicated, released on 25 June 2007.
Named after French painter Jean Dubuffet's definition of outsider art - art by prisoners, loners, the mentally ill, and other marginalized people, and made without thought to imitation or presentation - South London's Art Brut were tagged by NME as part of the "Art Wave" scene that also included bands such as The Rakes, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party.
The band was formed in 2003, after Eddie Argos met guitarist Chris Chinchilla at an afterparty hosted by London Indie Rock band Ciccone in 2002. Argos also invited Ian Catskilkin, whom he knew from the Bournemouth music scene, to join on guitars. They were joined by Freddy Feedback on bass guitar and Mikey Breyer on drums. The band played their first gig in May 2003.
The band recorded Brutlegs later in 2003, produced by Keith Top of the Pops, containing the first versions of "Formed a Band", "Modern Art" and "Moving to LA" and made it available. Angular Recording Corporation put out a compilation featuring "Formed a Band". NME journalist Anthony Thornton heard the song and sent an MP3 to Rough Trade, and the label offered Art Brut a deal to release it as a single.
"Formed a Band" was released in the UK, as a single, in May 2004 reaching No. 52 on the UK Singles Chart. It also appeared on the soundtrack to FIFA Street 2 – a game for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PlayStation Portable.
Blender described them as the best unsigned band in the UK. During the rest of 2004, they played gigs throughout the UK with The Fades including a first-anniversary gig at the Tate Britain.
Another bootleg EP Brutlegs 04 was recorded featuring "Good Weekend", "Bang Bang Rock & Roll", and an acoustic version of "Moving to LA". A double A-side was released in December 2004 on Fierce Panda reaching No. 49 on the UK chart. The album Bang Bang Rock & Roll was released in May 2005 with "Emily Kane" as the first single. The latter missed the UK Top 40 by two sales, yet remains the highest-charting single on Fierce Panda.
Bang Bang Rock & Roll was produced by John Fortis, who has also worked with artists such as Razorlight, Maxim Reality (Prodigy), The Pipettes, Neneh Cherry and Assembly Now; and features rerecorded versions of their early material.
Art Brut have a quite widespread following of "franchises", whose names range from AB0 (the original Art Brut) to AB3.14/Pi, AB², AB17 or even to AB29600 (from Rennes and Morlaix, France). The band We Are Scientists are also an Art Brut franchise, AB47. These franchises often record and play Art Brut songs during performances.
Chris Chinchilla amicably left the band for personal reasons in September 2005, forming a new band, Macaca Mulatta. He was replaced by Jeff aka Jasper Future, guitarist from Eddie Argos' old band, The Art Goblins. The band appeared on the cover of the German edition of Rolling Stone magazine in September 2005.
Art Brut performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, on 30 April 2006, at Pitchfork Music Festival in June 2006, and at the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim and the Dour Festival in Belgium, in July 2006 and the Two Thousand Trees Festival in July 2008. Art Brut also released a split 7" with We Are Scientists, which was only released in America. We Are Scientists returned the idea and covered Art Brut's song "Bang Bang Rock & Roll" on the single. Their version of "Bang Bang Rock & Roll" is also available on their B-sides album Crap Attack.
The band released their second album, It's a Bit Complicated, on Mute Records and produced by Dan Swift. The first single from the album, "Nag Nag Nag Nag", was released on 20 November 2006, featuring the b-side "I Found This Song in the Road" and five live tracks from the Eurockéennes de Belfort Festival 2006.
The song made Single of the Week in The Guardian 's "The Guide" section. In 2007 they played on the American NME Rock and Roll Riot tour with The Hold Steady. In the United States, the album reached No. 14 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and No. 32 on the Independent Albums chart.
The second single "Direct Hit" was released a week before the album, featuring the B-sides "Don't Blame it on the Trains" and " I Want to be Double A-Sided". "Direct Hit" appeared on the soundtrack of FIFA 08.
In February 2008, EMI released "Pump Up the Volume" the third single from It's a Bit Complicated. There was no physical release of the single and only a video was released after the single had been issued. On 1 March 2008, Argos revealed on his blog that Art Brut have amicably left EMI. In August 2008, Eddie Argos announced on his blog that the band have been recording songs for the third album.
In late 2008, Art Brut returned to the studio to record their third LP Art Brut vs. Satan which was released on 20 April 2009. The album was produced by Frank Black. Art Brut vs. Satan was released to mainly good reviews scoring 75 on Metacritic. There were two singles released from the album "Alcoholics Unanimous" and "DC Comics & Chocolate Milkshake". The band toured throughout the year and played the Glastonbury Festival amongst others.
In 2010, Argos released his album for his first side project under the name of Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now!. The album called Fixin' the Charts was a collection of songs in responses to classic pop songs, including those by Michael Jackson, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas and Kanye West. The band also featured Argos' girlfriend Dyan Valdes, who is a member of The Blood Arm on vocals and keyboards.
In late 2010, Art Brut recorded their fourth album, Brilliant Tragic, released on 23 May 2011. The first single from the album was "Lost Weekend". The album was recorded in Salem, Oregon, and is the second to be produced by Frank Black. The track listing and release details were confirmed in early March 2011. In April 2013, Art Brut released Art Brut Top of the Pops, a two CD best of compilation album, including B-sides and rarities. The album title refers to the band's chant during live performances of "Art Brut! Top of the Pops! Art Brut! Top of the Pops!"
On 13 September 2013 it was revealed that Breyer and Future had decided to leave the band, and that their replacements would be Stephen Gilchrist and Toby MacFarlaine respectively.
1) Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2005)
2) It's a Bit Complicated (2007)
3) Art Brut vs. Satan (2009)
4) Brilliant! Tragic! (2011)
Art Brut Live At Schubas 11/15/2005 (2005)
Art Brut Top of the Pops (the best of) (2013)
- "Formed a Band" (March 2004)
- "Modern Art/My Little Brother" (December 2004)
- "Emily Kane" (May 2005)
- "Good Weekend" (September 2005)
- "Nag Nag Nag Nag" (November 2006) (Released as a seven track CD single featuring five live tracks)
- "Direct Hit" (June 2007)
- "Pump Up The Volume" (February 2008) (Download only single)
- "Alcoholics Unanimous" (6 April 2009)
- "DC Comics & Chocolate Milkshake" (24 August 2009) (Download only single)
- "Lost Weekend" (16 May 2011)
- "Clever, Clever Jazz" (15 August 2011)
Members Name Check
- Eddie Argos - lead vocals (2003–present)
- Ian Catskilkin - lead guitar (2003–present)
- Freddy Feedback - bass guitar (2003–present)
- Stephen Gilchrist - drums (2013–present)
- Toby MacFarlaine - guitar (2013–present)
- Mikey Breyer - drums (2003–2013)
- Chris Chinchilla - guitar (2003–2005)
- Jasper Future - guitar (2005–2013)