Here’s the scoop on the latest album releases from your favorite Gainesville bands. Did your band release an album within the last six months? How about your friend? Your girlfriend? Your mom? We’d love to hear them all. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to some of your tracks. Put “For the Record” in the subject line.
Released / Dec. 10, 2013
Recorded at / The Church of Holy Colors and MSNRA’s practice house
Inspiration / Chic, Tomita, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Key Tracks / “Two Paradises Separate,” “The Chemistry of Color,” “Isle of Light”
Where to get it / http://www.elestialsound.com/
Upcoming Shows / taking a break from live shows to record live Euglossine set
Composer/ Tristan Whitehill
Welcome to Tristan Whitehill’s fantasy sonic landscape.
“Kinda like Xanadu, but with me,” Whitehill said. “Like a cloud. [A] fluffy, animated, silly animal landscape.”
The eight-track EP clocks in around 30 minutes and is a stepping stone toward his upcoming album, “Iridescence,” which he recently finished recording after three years of work.
Euglossine started as Whitehill’s solo project two years ago; he also plays in MSNRA, Levek and Ghost Fields. The name is an homage to his father, who curates one of the largest collections of Euglossine bees in Florida. It also means “true tongue” in Latin.
The EP floats on upbeat melodies. It samples snipped drum solos from old funk records, echoing keyboards and synthesizer beats, building a full-bodied electronic sound. The tracks reverberate and pulsate, seamlessly seaping together. You want your body to flow with the sound.
“There’s definitely a nod to video game music,” he said. “I used a lot of fake orchestral sounds and stuff like that, but I manipulated them to be decontextualized. It’s pretty funny.”
Each song is “a little diary piece,” evoking different emotions. He initially sent the track, “Two Paradises Separate,” to his partner, Kiara Teti, was she was living in Hawaii and he was still in Gainesville.
It’s the only track with lyrics and his “vocal debut.”
“The Chemistry of Color” was influenced by Evan Galbicka’s artwork at The Church of Holy Colors; the song incorporates the sounds of a sci fi laboratory and Indian classical music.
Whitehill lived in the church on and off for the past three years.
“I can honestly say The Church of Holy Colors is the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “I wanted to be really creative all the time . . . it was a privilege to me to be able to be in that environment.”
This fall, he recorded a song a day for a week as a personal challenge. It resulted in the album “Dance District,” released on MJMJ Records.
“It’s meant to be a dance party,” he said.
And does he dance to his own music? All the time.
THE SLIMS: Slowpoke
Released / Sept. 27, 2013
Recorded at / The Experimentorium
Sounds Like / Curtis Mayfield, The Delfonics, Dusty Springfield
Inspiration / Stax Records, Marvin Gaye
Key Tracks / “Don’t Let Me Up,” “Tastemaker,” “Ashes Under the Rug”
Where to get it / slims.bandcamp.com or at their shows
Upcoming Shows / Dec. 12 at The Great Britain Hotel, Richmond, VIC, Australia
Bass, Drums, Guitars, Horns, Keys, Vocals / Travis Atria and Colin Atwood
Backing Vocals / Samantha Jones and Jess Lazarchik
Strings / Andrew Cook
If the Slims’ first album, “Killa Dilla,” was their attempt at replicating the sounds of soul heroes such as the Bar-Kays, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson, then “Slowpoke” is the group coming into its own. Although their sound certainly references 1970s R&B in the slow jam tradition, they’ve added their own touch.
The Slims take a narrative approach to songwriting: First come up with a story, then construct the music to match. “Killa Dilla” describes the rise and fall of a mythic soul singer named Snooky Green. Snooky began to fall, according to Colin Atwood, when he cheated on his main lady.
Their newest album, “Slowpoke,” tells the tale of Snooky’s woman running back into her former lover’s arms. It’s the story of one desperate night.
Atwood (a.k.a. Jimmy Slim, a.k.a. Jamba Lushi, a.k.a. Merlin Brando) is one half of the Slims, along with Travis Atria (a.k.a. Jackie Slim, a.k.a. John Soultrane, a.k.a. Ricky Balboa). Both wrote, performed and produced the record. To cobble together material and inspiration, the pair paid frequent visits to the University of Florida Music Library. It was during one of these trips that they found the Hungarian folk music sampled at the beginning of “Only a Part, Not the Whole.”
“Slowpoke” runs the emotional gamut of a tumultuous one-night encounter. “Don’t Let Me Up” is a contemplative ballad featuring soaring, wordless melodies and lonely piano accents tied together by a shuffling beat. Atwood considers it the most relaxing song the Slims have ever written.
“Tastemaker” hides vitriol behind hypnotic instrumentation and a tender vocal delivery, a sleight of hand in the vein of Bob Dylan. The song is a thinly veiled takedown of Pitchfork, the polarizing music site, as well as others who try to regulate “cool.”
“We just wanted to write a nasty song about them,” Atria said. “We thought that they deserved it.”
The most captivating song on the record is “Ashes Under the Rug.” The perfect expression of a restless, searching night, it is both reflective and pleading. Its introduction features Deflonics overtones: rich, layered vocals, choral “ahs” gradually drawing out its instrumental arrangement. For good measure, Atria adds rhythm guitar reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield.
As a whole, the essential question of the album’s sound is simple, Atwood said.
“Is this something that you want to listen to mid-coitus?”
CRETIN GIRLS: Demo
Released / Digital: last April; Physical: early November
Recorded at / Soft Science Records in Savannah, Ga.
Sounds Like / The Mold, Catholic Spray, Low Times
Inspiration / Rock ‘n’ Roll, Diet Coke, The Ramones
Key Tracks / “It’s Dead,” “Happiness”
Where to get it / cretingirls.bandcamp.com and any of their shows
Upcoming Shows / Dec. 3 in Savannah, Ga.; Dec. 4 in St. Augustine; Dec. 6 in Miami
Bass and vocals / Ian Bernacett
Drums / Hector Laguna
Guitar and sound scapes / Jon
After years of home-recording, the members of Cretin Girls this year made the jump to a formal album, producer and all.
And their demo’s sound, whether from age or in striving to grab producers’ attention, is sharp and cohesive. It’s much better than what they’ve done before, Bernacett said, laughing.
“It was something that had to happen,” he said. “It was inevitable.”
Cretin Girls retain the fuzzy guitars and hypnotic, droning vocals of Bernacett and Laguna’s previous project, Thee Holy Ghosts. Straying from the previous ‘50s surfer sound, Cretin Girls is simplified and streamlined.
“It’s not playing three chords,” he said. “Now we play one.”
“Up and Down” evokes a barren space-scape, with Bernacett’s incoherent vocals and alien language, and Laguna’s percussive synth the industrious sounds of a spaceship’s control panel. Jon on drums keeps the dreamy image alive with an aggressive rhythm that forms the spine of the song. The steady, cyclical guitar backing Bernacett’s otherworldly drone and yelps tightens into a sharp solo to end the song, spiking your heart rate.
“The Void” is sharp and clean, with heavy drums and a foot-tapping bassline. And you can almost make out what Bernacett is saying.
But “Happiness” stands out among the demos as the most fully conceived and complex. Laguna’s high, silvery guitar riff next to Bernacett’s wandering voice makes for a mature, focused sound.
Cretin Girls’ demos are a rarified space mission with their homemade sound giving it a dreamy contour. And the coming album, Jon said, should have the same energy.
“It’s not digital at all,” he said. “It’s cool in its entirety.”