Bass, Vocals Rose Vastola; Guitar, Vocals Ian Bernacett; Drums Ryan Hopewell
Released / March 10, 2017
Recorded in / The Poole Building
Sounds like / ‘80s-’90s punk, psych and rock
Key tracks / Fear, Lilith, Glass
Where to get it / Deranged Records; Arrow’s Aim; live shows
Upcoming shows / Currently on a U.S. tour.
Sometimes things have to fall apart for better things to fall together. After finding themselves in separate bands that were all breaking up, the members of UV-TV came together to create a compelling mix of punk, psychedelic and rock.
Their new LP, “Glass,” begins with a trio of short, punchy songs, each bursting in under two minutes. As it progresses, the feedback and distortion of the guitar take over, enveloping the music in an urgent tempest. Throughout, Rose Vastola’s sweet vocals cut through, a lighthouse in the storm.
Though the album was released through Dead Tank Records, a label based in Canada, all of the recording sessions took place in the Poole Building, a former railroad station in downtown Gainesville.
“It took us over a year to complete this record,” said Rose Vastola, who also plays bass. “We all had our own share of working on album artwork, video, photography, traveling and seeing the world; I think that’s the best.”
The band worked with local artist Kane Hambrick to create the album art, which features close-up portraits that are fragmented to look like shattered mirrors. Echoing the music, it is at once splintered, sharp, reflective and compellingly mysterious.
“We really wanted this record to turn out as perfect as we could make it,” Vastola said. “So our first release would be something we all think is a good representation of who we are.”
One of the band’s favorite tracks is the B-side standout “Glass,” which features jagged guitars cutting through a catchy, droning vocal melody. The final track, appropriately titled “Dissolve,” effectively sacrifices the god of shoegaze at the altar of punk.
Before UV-TV began working on the album, they had released a demo on cassette, as well as a 7-inch split single with Shark Toys, a band from Los Angeles.
The trio has performed at almost every venue in Gainesville, as well as many places in the South.This month, they embark on a tour around the U.S. ending in May.
“Gainesville is great, it is a compact place that has a lot of venues, and a lot of people who are willing to put on and have shows,” said Ryan Hopewell, the drummer. “There is a pretty rich history of punk music and independence here in Gainesville. It is a great place to be able to play live.” •
By McKenna Beery
THE MERMERS: GET SWELL SOON
Guitar Tony Tones; Bass Ed DiMarco; Drums John Mamo; Organ Ryan Bonner
Released / July 2016
Recorded in / Moathouse Recording Studio, Black Bear Studio, Tones’s home studio
Sounds like / Hipster Scooby-Doo soundtrack
Key tracks / Cruising Down the Coast, Peg Leg Hangs 5
Inspiration / Living at the beach; an affinity for classic horror soundtracks
Where to get it / Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube
Every beachgoer knows the feeling: It’s a sunny day at the shore—the wind is in your hair and the smell of surf is swirling in your nostrils—then those dreaded black thunderclouds roll in and the joy gives way to gloom. The Mermers, a unique entry in the Gainesville music scene, transform this sensation into sound by creating surf rock with a moody twist.
“It’s the ‘Stranger Things’ version of classic surf,” said John Mamo, the band’s drummer.
The Mermers were formed via social media, when the band’s guitar player Tony Tones reached out to friends to see if they had an interest in starting a group. After a few enthusiastic responses, Tones, Mamo and Ryan Bonner, who plays the organ, began jamming together. Later on, Ed DiMarco, the bassist, fell into the groove.
“We like to say you can’t spell shred without Ed,” Tones said.
While Tones usually pre-records tracks for the band to experiment with, each member gets to put their own spin on a song by writing their own part. The Mermer’s first album, “Get Swell Soon,” features this improvisation.
“It’s a passion project that sounds really good,” Mamo said.
The album is familiarly surf rock, but each song drips with an unnerving, gloomy element. The upbeat sounds of the guitar and drums are dragged into the unknown depths of the ocean by the organ and the bass.
The tracks include the more traditional “Peg Leg Hangs 5,” which begins with a swell reminiscent of 1960s classic surf rock and is driven in a darker direction by the addition of the organ. “Cruisin’ Down the Coast” heavily features the guitar and a more erratic sound; as the song progresses, the tempo speeds up.
Tones, described by Mamo as the “pun king,” creates track titles that mirror the music’s dreariness. Names such as “Sunscream” and “Pier Pressure” bring to mind a seemingly perfect beach day gone wrong. In the same vein, the band’s name is a portmanteau of the words “murmur” and “mermaid.”
“It fits the vibe,” Mamo said.
Because their music is strictly instrumental, the Mermers believe it has a wide appeal. The instruments give the band a mysterious ambience, especially when performing live, Tones said.
“We appeal to everyone from punk heads to soccer moms,” he said. •
By Katherine Campione
Guitar Rick McCauley; Bass James Spence; Vocals, Guitar Fransisco “Kiiks” Santelli; Drums Johnny Jennings
Released / March 2016
Recorded in / Shark Thank Studios
Sounds like / Piebald, Motion City Soundtrack
Inspiration / Their surroundings; starting over
Where to get it / Hear Again Records; edmonton.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube
For Edmonton’s vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, Francisco “Kiiks” Santelli, finding a consistent narrative is the start to a great song. As an English teacher, he believes looking around a room tells a story better than any commentary ever could.
“The last song on the previous album was basically a description of my empty apartment and everything that comes from leaving a place,” he said.
The track “No” describes depression-induced cabin fever and the triumphant feeling that comes with finally leaving the house.
“Bad shit happened,” Santelli said. “I was in a point in life where I said fuck everything, I’m gonna do it differently.”
With this record, Edmonton strayed away from the long, repetitive sections heard on previous records. At just over 10 minutes, the ‘90s rock inspired album is short enough to play live in its entirety.
“There’s not a lot of banter,” said James Spence, the bassist. “We play the records straight on stage and [the tracks] flow very well together. It happened organically,”
Most of the songs start off slowly and pick up at the end. Fans can hear this in the second track “No,” which begins with a soft, rhythmic instrumental and a slow drum beat only to pick up with a loud guitar at the end.
Recorded a little over two years ago, the album held together even as the band members moved through different milestones in life—marriage, kids and family.
With “No” Edmonton created a sound to call its own.
“I think if you listen to our first album it can be all over the place,” Santelli said. “I think with the second album, we kind of honed in on a sound that’s more ourselves and more consistent than previous albums, and we’ve continued with that.” •
By Jessica Rodriguez