Introducing our second installment of FOR THE RECORD, a music column to review locally grown and produced albums. 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 email@example.com with a link to some of your tracks. Put “for the record” in the subject line.
Greenland is Melting
Album Title: “Where Were We”
Released: Oct. 11
Recorded at: Medusa Productions
Sounds like: The Avett Brothers,
Inspiration: Stories from the band members’ lives
Key tracks: “Always”
Where to get it: Order it here.
Upright bass/ Kick drum/ Rhythm section: Will Dueease
Electric guitar: David Low
Acoustic guitar/ Vocals: Shaun Perira
Banjo/ Vocals: Karl Seltzer
Greenland is Melting doesn’t just play bluegrass. And they certainly aren’t strumming high-fallutin’ “blu gras” with French accents. They prefer to define themselves as Americana grass.
On their sophomore album, “Where Were We,” narrative lyrics blend with banjo and guitar-strumming for an appropriately swampy album. The band’s songwriting has come a long way since their first album, Seltzer said. The first full-length album, “Our Hearts Are Gold, Our Grass Is Blue,” was recorded in three days and mostly influenced by other bands.
“Where Were We” is like listening to a collection of short stories set to a unique folk music soundtrack. If you close your eyes, you’ll be transported to a wooden swing on the back porch, sipping sweet tea. The banjo chords on the opening track “For What It’s Worth” will keep your toes tapping.
This year, the band, who are all 24-year-old UF graduates, have taken their Florida sound all over the country. They spent the first half of September playing a cross-country tour that ended at Awesomefest V in San Diego, Calif.
Although the festival was their endpoint, it was “really just an excuse to go on a road trip,” Dueease said. They put 5,500 miles on their ‘93 Ford Econoline van, which served as kitchen, bedroom and lounge. It is outfitted with flannel sheets, a laptop mounted in the TV cubby, a single burner stove and a bag full of orange candy slices.
They spent 18 days on the road together – and still don’t hate each other.
“It’s like I’ve been dating three dudes for four years now,” Dueease said.
And they hope to continue their long-term relationship into the future.
“We want to bring back the Gainesville music scene,” Perira said.
By Ashira Morris
Far Away Planes
Album Title: “Water on All Sides”
Released: Oct. 6
Recorded at: Black Bear Audio Maul in Gainesville
Sounds like: Minus the Bear, Vampire Weekend
Inspiration: Minus the Bear, Kings of Leon, Two Door Cinema Club
Key tracks: “Stow Away” and “Midnight”
Where to get it: $5.94 download on iTunes and Amazon and free downloads on their Facebook page
Bass/ Vocals: Tim Anderson
Drums: Kevin Biegler
Guitar/ Vocals: John Ketcham
Keyboard/ Synthesizer: Luke Spika
Guitar: John Stoltz
Far Away Planes makes a smooth landing with “Water on All Sides,” their newest dance-rock album.
Though their first album, “Movie Night,” released in Feb. 2011, has the same catchy intros and spunky drumbeats, the band agreed that their previous recording experience allowed them to fine tune tracks on “Water on All Sides” in a new way.
“When we went in to record the second time around, we knew what we wanted and weren’t afraid to ask for it,” Ketcham said.
Strangely enough, the band’s solid vision of the final product rarely included lyrics. Biegler explained that most songs on the album began with a basic keyboard riff. If everyone liked it, individual instrumental parts were added. Lyrics always came last – sometimes last-minute.
“We’d go in to record and the guys would look at me like, ‘You do have lyrics for these songs, right?’,” Ketcham said.
Even though each band member writes his own part based on the initial first riff, their individual styles blend together for a cohesive and structured sound.
“It’s very boom-box-to-beach-party. Perfect for a chill weekend, yet up-beat enough to be your Monday morning upper,” Spika said.
By Erica Kenick
Album Title: “Songs From North America”
Released: Aug. 3
Recorded at: Their home
Sounds like: Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix
Inspiration: (for this album) Neil Young
Key Tracks: “Not Here,” “Solid Ground” and “Flood”
Where to get it: $5 download on ancientriver.bandcamp.com or $10 CD on the band’s website.
Bass: Zach Veltheim
Drums: Chad Voight
Guitar/ Vocals: J. Barreto
Ancient River breaks the Gainesville mold of hipster, punk rock by staying true to their love of classic rock.
Their ‘60s and ‘70s American rock-and-roll sound manages to attract a diverse fan base. Older fans appreciate the reminiscent experience of the days of old rock-and-roll, while younger fans are excited to get a piece of that ‘60s lifestyle.
“Songs from North America” features tracks inspired by traditional and classic Americana, but with a psychedelic edge. Think Bob Dylan meets Jimi Hendrix.
Ancient River, who have been together for eight years, create a unique viewer experience by combining their live music with projection slides, colored oil and smoke machines.
Barreto explains that while other bands put out maybe one or two albums a year, they release between four and five.
“We’re the most prolific and versatile [band]; our biggest strength is that we keep putting out records,” Bareto said.
When working on new material, which is often, they say they naturally feed off one another. Their motto: “Less talk and more rock.”
By Natalia Sieukaran
Album Title: “Hello hands”
Released: Oct. 14
Recorded: Between Travis Atria’s Experimentorium and Collin Whitlock’s The Warren
Sounds like: Regina Spektor
Inspiration: Department of Eagles, Billie Holiday
Key Tracks: “Cloud dancing,” “Warm Inside” and “Don’t Wait”
Where to get it: theboswellians.bandcamp.com and at Hear Again for $5
Vocals/ Guitar: Amy Lobasso
Piano/ Backing Vocals: Ryan Backman
Drums: Collin Whitlock
Bass: Scott Kauffmann
The heart and soul of 1920’s jazz and big band eras have caught on in modern-day Gainesville. On their new album, “Hello Hands,” the Boswellians give traditional jazz a catchy 1960s pop twist.
The Boswellians, named after James Boswell, a famous biographer who was an ardent follower of others’ works, formed in April 2010 and have already gathered a large fan base.
In the midst of heavy guitar- and bass-driven bands, their prominent piano sound is rare and distinguishable. Originally, Backman was hesitant to play piano for the band.
“I felt weird about playing the piano, but in this band I appreciate it more,” he said.
While most bands create new material when jamming together, blues-inspired Lobasso explains a piano demands a more meticulous approach when creating new material; there needs to be structure and melody.
For their new album, “Hello Hands,” the Boswellians were inspired by modern composers as well as French Impressionist music.
The track “Cloud Dancing” has a vintage 30s-like vocal recording quality that’s reminiscent of Billie Holiday. It manages to capture the pathos of the time as Lobasso croons lyrics, “Mistakes are often made, perhaps we’ll find a way.”
For a change of pace, “Don’t Wait” provides an upbeat melody with drum fills, cymbal crashes and heavy piano riffs that resonate well when the song slips into a gloomy trance as Lobasso chants, “Don’t wait for me.”
The band says they are interested in “activities of a Boswellian quality,” an interest that is certainly evident in their era-spanning album.
By Natalia Sieukaran
Album Title: “Hanging Fire”
Released: Sept. 23
Sound like: Soundtrack to an ‘80s horror movie
Recorded at: Various private residences
Inspiration: The Cure, The Smiths, Clan of Xymox
Key tracks: “Secret Manuscript” and “0011001”
Where to get it: Free download at arsphoenix.bandcamp.com
Vocals/ Guitar/ Synthesizers/ Rhythm Programming/ Five-String Bass: Jon Glover
Guitar: Paige Fowler
Fueled by 10 years of the FEST as well as a colorful punk rock history, Gainesville tends to produce and encourage punk angst and experimental hipsterdom among its musically inclined, often leaving other genres to fend for themselves. However, Gainesville’s own goth scene, though grossly undervalued and comparably smaller than others, is no less talented and productive.
Ars Phoenix’s new release, “Hanging Fire,” has been in the works since its members Jon Glover and Paige Fowler first met in 2009 through the University of Florida’s English department. Both musicians were seeking doctoral degrees in English literature, as well as someone to jam with.
Though Glover had previously released an album as a one-man band under the name Ars Phoenix, “Hanging Fire” is the first album to feature both artists. According to Fowler, the addition of his guitar gives Ars Phoenix a “crunchier” sound.
Building on material Glover had already prepared, the duo gradually pieced together a post-punk album with gothic flavor. Skilfully layered sounds of keyboard, guitar and synths give each track a haunting, cinematic feel comparable to the psychotronic film genre.
Despite a dark sound, moments of suspense and track titles such as “Phantom Pain,” the album’s release a month before Halloween was merely a timely coincidence.
“There’s nothing tame about what we do,” Fowler says. “We’re there to get people amped up and give a sonic boost.”
By Erica Kenick
For more local albums, check out For the Record: Spring 2011.