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.
Duke: The Bigger Picture
Released / Dec. 13
Recorded at / In-home studio
Flow like / B.o.B
Content like / Lupe Fiasco, Lecrae
Inspiration / Life’s struggles
Key tracks / “Mountaintop,” “Falling Star,” “Old School Part 2,” “Find You”
Where to get it / hiphopduke.bandcamp.com
Instruments / Keyboard and guitar used to produce
Genre / Hip-hop/Rap
Resist the urge to mindlessly bob your head to the beat and ignore the lyrics. Hip-hop artist Bunduki “Duke” Ramadan’s new album, “The Bigger Picture,” is for the listener who asks for more.
Armed with his story and the struggles of those around him, Duke shares an uplifting message of hope.
“I want, through my music, for people to feel like, ‘Dang, I can do anything.’” he said.
Foregoing the usual money, sex and drugs narrative often found in hip-hop, Duke uses his music to share his past and to encourage others toward a better and brighter future.
“I won’t say that I preach or teach,” he said. “I just speak.”
“Falling Star,” written in Spring 2012, accurately displays his wordsmithery and lightening-quick delivery, coupled with soft voices in the hook. Most of the songs negotiate the delicate balance between a good message and good music.
But listening to Duke doesn’t mean that you have to trade style for substance, or a fire beat for impactful lyrics. Tracks like “Mountaintop” and “Old School Part 2” thump to a ‘90s-style beat for playful nostalgia while pushing some of the most thought-provoking themes of the album, covering topics like the contrast between the hopes of Martin Luther King Jr. and the reality of the struggle in African-American communities today.
“Jacksonville is kind of crazy. I don’t know if you know that,”he said.“It’s easy to get caught up there. I almost got caught up. But I stayed level headed and kept my head in the books.”
Having deftly avoided the lure of street life in Jacksonville, Duke now attends the University of Florida. He plans on graduating nextfall with a degree in economics and a minor in Arabic.
Duke’s message of hope and progress is one that resonates throughout his album and pushes boundaries. The album encapsulates the artist’s passion for music and need to inspire whoever may benefit from hearing his story. “The Bigger Picture” artfully and fearlessly challenges the status quo while still embracing the poetically nuanced truth that is hip-hop.
By Gabriela Delva
GUTS: Lucky All Over
Released / Dec. 7
Recorded at / A friend’s house in St. Augustine
Sounds like / Cat Stevens, Rising Appalachia, Warpaint
Inspiration / Peaches, tUnE-yArDs, Le Tigre
Key tracks / “Sugar,” “Puppies,” “Wrong Side of the Street”
Where to get it / gutsgainesville.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / April 3 at Loosey’s
Drums, vocals / Kentucky Costellow
Bass guitar, vocals / Kara Smith
Bass guitar, floor tom, vocals / Samantha Jones
Ukulele, piano, shaky egg, vocals / Rebecca Butler
Genre / soulful, rhythmic girl-power harmonies
Listening to “Lucky All Over,” the debut album of all-female quartet GUTS, is as dynamic an experience as their live shows. Their sound, which ranges from the delicately layered vocal harmonies of “Sugar” to the stomp-and-clap percussion of “Ramblin’,” launches you into an aural adventure.
“When we first formed we all had these completely different styles,” bass guitarist Samantha Jones said, “to the point where we all thought, ‘How is this going to work?’”
The rest of the band laughed in agreement.
GUTS began through Band Roulette, a Gainesville event that randomly forms participating musicians into bands. The resulting groups are given three weeks to practice, culminating in a final showcase. Drummer and vocalist Kentucky Costellow, however, joined soon after the Band Roulette show, but not before she became their biggest fan.
“I had a dream that they asked me to be their drummer,” she said. “It was fate.”
With musical backgrounds ranging from classic punk to introspective folk, it’s no wonder “Lucky All Over” spans so many genres. Opening track “Puppies” immediately propels the listener into a bluesy four-part harmony and thumping drumline, while the more subdued “Tied Up” closes the album with layers of hushed piano and ukulele.
“We’re all really interested in dynamics and not being just one-note,” said bass guitarist and vocalist Kara Smith.
The result is a sound that’s both innovative and powerful. Whether it be their dominating percussion or stirring blended vocals, GUTS has mastered the balance of continuity and progression while also proving their merit as instrumentalists.
Recording “Lucky All Over” was an organic experience according to Jones, with the band commuting to St. Augustine to record with friend Lenny Rutland. She also said that being a group of close-knit friends enhanced this tedious process, with all of the members giving each other the space to exercise their talent while also providing honest feedback.
Attend one of GUTS’s live shows and catch a glimpse of their blatant love for high-energy female powerhouses among the likes of Amanda Palmer, Peaches and Janis Joplin. It manifests itself in their stage presence, sound and attitude—and they know it, said Rebecca Butler, who covers vocals, piano and ukulele.
“We’re an awesome league of bad-ass bitches,” she said.
By Marisa Papenfuss
The Co-Pilots: Extraterrestrial
Released / May 7
Recorded at / Self-recorded
Sounds like / And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Inspiration / My Bloody Valentine, St. Vincent, The Flaming Lips, LCD Soundsystem and overall alienation
Key tracks / “Rosewater,” “Colorblind”
Where to get it / thecopilotsgainesville.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / TBA
Genre / Alternative
Tanner Williams / Guitar, Keys, Vocals
Alex Roumbos / Guitar, Bass, Keys, Drums (Studio)
John Tamburro / Guitar & Drums on “Rosewater” (Studio)
Pedro Sanchez / Drums (Live)
Marvin Jacobson / Guitar (Live)
Ricky Brockway / Base, Keys (Live)
Succinctly alternative, Tanner Williams, founder and lead singer of The Co-Pilots, says that his latest album is “not really angsty music.” The Co-Pilots draw on different genres to create music that is inward and introspective yet sonically explosive, with many of their songs including jazz chords and synthesizers.
True to its name, The Co-Pilots were created as a vehicle for Williams to collaborate with other artists. There is no set number of people in the band, but Williams has worked with co-producers, co-writers and co-musicians to create both “Sheddingskin,” released in 2011, and his newest album, “Extraterrestrial.”
“Extraterrestrial,” released last May, is an album based on the feeling of being at a crowded party surrounded by people you don’t know; a feeling Williams sums up as an I-shouldn’t-exist-right-now moment.
“Wide Eyed” is based on the idea that people sacrifice their individuality to become a part of a larger group, a challenge that many college students face. Williams, now 20, started the band in 2010, when both he and producer Alex Roumbos were in high school.
After graduation, Williams moved to Gainesville to attend Santa Fe College and continued to produce music in Roumbos’ home recording studio. Williams said that music is a process for him, not an epiphany.
Many of Tanner’s songs start out as rough blueprints and then are built upon with experimentation in the studio. Besides the overall organic quality, another perk of home studios is cost-efficiency. Tanner said he would have “dropped thousands of dollars” on the last two albums if he had leased from a recording studio.
Now that a live band has formed, Williams said he plans to flesh out future songs using both the studio and the live band. Although he said he is the first to admit that music often starts off inspired by one concept and morphs into something completely different, The Co-Pilots are already working on songs for a new album in its earliest stage. There are no definite themes but, according to Tanner, it’s going to be “spacey, weird and atmospheric.”
by Danny Duffy