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 / July 12
Recorded at / Goldentone Studios
Sounds like / The Cave Singers, M. Ward, Andrew Bird
Inspiration / Early Folk, Ragtime, Punk
Key tracks / “Time the Bully,” “Let Me Go Gently,” “Time Machine,” “Jeepers Creepers”
Where to get it / waxwingsmusic.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / Nov. 8 at Mosswood in Micanopy
Vocals, banjo, trumpet / Chelsea Carnes
Cello, vocals / John David Eriksen
Drum, vocals / Pickles Selkcip
Upright bass / Brian Turk
Violin / Arthur Rosales
As folk music experiences a critical and commercial resurgence worldwide with groups such as Mumford & Sons and The Cave Singers combining folk influences with rock sensibilities, one local Gainesville act is bringing it back to basics.
Wax Wings, the brainchild of vocalist and songwriter Chelsea Carnes, along with John David Eriksen, Pickles Selkcip, Brian Turk and Arthur Rosales, recently released their self-titled debut. And they’ve already earned an impassioned fanbase.
“More than one person has told me that they’ve cried at our shows,” Carnes said. “And I was very proud of us for that.”
Wax Wings emerged from the remnants of Carnes and crew’s previous group effort, Dirty Fist! While Wax Wings have a sparse, minimalist sound, Dirty Fist! went the other direction: maximalist, with an orchestral influence akin to early Arcade Fire.
A year after the band dissolved, Carnes began to miss songwriting and singing.
“So I decided to start up a new group,” she said. “And I thought, ‘Who are the best musicians in Gainesville?’”
With no song clocking past the four-minute mark, the music of Wax Wings is tight, immediate and packs a lyrical punch. Although it is not instantly apparent in their sound or lyrical content, Wax Wings’ music is directly influenced by Carnes’ experience as a queer woman. She’s even tagged the band as “queer” on their Bandcamp page, along with more obvious descriptors, such as “folk” and “strings.”
“Normally when I write descriptions of my band, I’m actually describing the type of audience I would like to come out to the show,” she said.
Carnes also said that being queer is a big part of her identity. And as someone who writes a lot of love songs, she said, it’s a big part of her work.
“So as a woman who loves other women, I think that that is reflected in my music,” she said. “But on a shallow level, it’s because I would love to see queer babes at my show.”
Album closer “Jeepers Creepers” touches on her identity in the context of Gainesville, as Carnes decries “bro-dudes and people with nasty attitudes,” a sentiment Carnes said she finds particularly relevant in light of UF’s recent string of sexual assaults.
Their fast-paced, pared down sound, guided along by winding violin and bright, percussive banjo plucking, makes for an intense concert experience. And Carnes only needed a few words to sum them up.
“Babes, beers and great times.”
By Zach Schlein
Released / Aug. 1
Recorded at / Crescendo Sound Studios
Sounds like / Brave Bird, Wavelets
Inspiration / Brand New, Manchester Orchestra
Key tracks / “Hood Rat Messiah,” “Gets Harder,” “Snakes In My Path”
Where to get it / dikembe.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / TBA
Guitar / Ryan Willems
Bass / Randy Reddell
Drums / David Bell
Vocals, guitar / Steven Gray
“Mediumship,” the newest album from indie rock/emo band Dikembe, is all mood. Dreamy, angst-fueled and reflective, the album marks a new creative path for the young local artists.
According to guitarist Ryan Willems, with “Mediumship,” the band wanted to change up their sound, explore the breadth of their creative expression and play off of inspiration from their musical idols.
“We wanted to incorporate more of an influence from bands we had loved since high school, like Brand New,” Willems said. “We are paying homage to those bands while maintaining our own identity.”
Willems said the band tested most songs from “Mediumship” on their live tour last summer — something they had not done while making previous albums. Receiving feedback from a live audience helped the band write more collaboratively and create an album with a unified sound.
Dikembe strikes a successful balance between each song having its own personality while still maintaining a cohesive, consistent feel. The album’s second track, “Hood Rat Messiah,” best captures the overall tone with its weighty, pensive vibe and brooding vocals. Overall, the album feels both thoughtful and subdued.
“It’s slower, heavier and maintains an intentional mood throughout,” Willems said. “It’s the first time we created a group of songs meant to go together and complement each other, as opposed to just a collection of songs we wrote around the same time.”
While most songs maintain a similar meditative feel, the album’s balance of soft and loud ensures that “Mediumship” does not lack energy. It still carries an edge with tracks such as “Get Harder,” which blends raw vocals with a more persistent, intentional beat.
Breaking from the light-hearted tones of former collaborations, “Mediumship” ushers in a moody, introspective blend of indie-rock and meditation. With a smooth sound that feels tailored for rainy days and internal contemplation, it invites you to pop on your headphones, close your eyes and let your mind and emotions wander.
By Sarah Chrisien
Victor Florence: Summer Bummer Fantasia EP
Released / Sept. 10
Recorded at / Mostly Victor’s room, with some bits at WVFS Tallahassee’s studio
Sounds like / Atlas Sound, Youth Lagoon, Dirty Beaches, Beat Happening, Bright Eyes
Inspiration / Nick Drake, Deer Hunter, early Mountain Goats
Key tracks / “Blackout (II),” “You Don’t Know Me”
Where to get it / victorflorence.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / TBA
Acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums, drum machines, keyboard / Victor Florence
Animal sounds / baby chimney swifts
Before the gentle finger picking and the choral synth, long before the ambient noises culminate into a windy, dizzying crescendo, the first song off “Summer Bummer Fantasia” begins with a tiny, fluttering sound. Not unlike the soprano ripple of birds taking off.
In fact, the bird noises are real. A family of chimney swifts made their home in the wall behind the bed of Victor Florence, whose EP came out early September, interrupting him as he recorded the album in his room. Instead of resisting the additional noise, Florence said, he incorporated the sounds into “Blackout (III).”
Layering music in this way makes up a substantial part of the album. “Blackout (III)” is guided by a spine of simple guitar and lush, swooping strokes on the violin. Florence textures the yawning, bright sound with small aural interruptions: another cameo by the birds, the distant, spooky tremble of an electric guitar, an inaudible computerized voice.
Florence said the album was meant to bridge clear opposites: the simplicity of folk music like Nick Drake and the crowded, noisy jumble of bands like Swans. His voice and guitar retain folk’s hushed calm while he’s backed by everything from an electronic beat and thumping bassline, to the wobbly screech of warped feedback, all of which he made or gathered himself.
“I never record with something in mind,” he said. “I have a vague, abstract skeleton of a song, and as I’m recording I figure it out.”
A fantasia, he said, is a piece of music improvised on a certain theme. Florence said making music this way prevents him from killing the songs by overthinking them. And he maintains total control over the sound by recording in his bedroom. It’s a personal, solitary exercise, he said.
“Everything I do is based off of the philosophy of ‘do-it-yourself,’” he said, citing the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle as an influence.
Florence said his favorite songs are the ones Darnielle recorded early on, using just a boombox. That mentality, Florence said, made him want to make music.
“Where I don’t need Abbey Road Studios to make something cool,” he said. “I just need a boombox and a song to sing.”
And by the end of “Summer Bummer Fantasia,” he said, he hopes others feel the same.
“That’s what I’m trying to encourage people to do,” he said. “Just make something.”
By Samantha Schuyler