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.
JORDAN BURCHEL: Mood Swing
Released / February 2014
Recorded at / Burchel’s bedroom
Sounds like / Neutral Milk Hotel, Wilco, The Postelles
Inspiration / The feeling of living in your head
Key Tracks / “Tallahassee,” “Slip Silence,” “Plaid”
Where to get it / http://www.listentojordan.com
Upcoming shows / Some shows in the work. Check https://www.facebook.com/jordanburchel to keep updated.
Genre / Echoey bedroom music
Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, portable synthesizer, piano, drums, melodica and other software-based synthesizers / Jordan Burchel
Hop in your car, put on your burned-off-of-Bandcamp CD and take a trip down some Gainesville backroads.
That’s the ideal place to listen to “Mood Swing,” the debut album of 23-year-old Jordan Burchel.
“An album will take you through a range of emotions,” he said. “And that’s how driving is. Just take a journey and listen to it.”
“Mood Swing” began as a self-imposed challenge to see if he could make an entire album. The process took three years and a massive toll–after all, Burchel made it in his spare time. During the day he works at a law firm that provides assistance to the homeless.
Burchel said at first hel could hear what he wanted in his head, but he didn’t have the skills to create it. It was heartbreaking, he said. Still, he powered on, eventually compiling 11 songs and learning as he went.
“People give up way too soon,” he said. “I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
Burchel performed and recorded everything at home, creating what he calls “echoey bedroom music.”
He said the process was about being spontaneous. He had tried the intentional route before, sitting with a notebook in a coffee shop waiting for inspiration to hit. But the notebook, which seemed to expect greatness, stayed blank. Now he writes on whatever is nearby.
“A napkin has no expectations,” he said. “A napkin thought it was going to be wiped on your face, and now you’re writing on it. It’s perfect.”
“Slip Silence” is the highlight of “Mood Swing” and came out of experimenting with a synth to solder two songs with the same chords together. And while the lyrics of the two parts do not have the same theme, the song’s upbeat start and depressing-love-ballad ending evoke a fully developed story arc. And his sound, which is raw and nakedly sincere, guides you through the tumultuous lyrics.
“Mood Swing” can be played repeatedly without losing its luster. Every song tells a story: of childhood, of growing up in a small town, of living life in the present. The album’s imperfections — the echoes, the rough vocals — let on that it was made in his room, but because of that nothing sounds fake or over-produced. It’s obvious “Mood Swing” is Burchel’s first album, but that’s what makes it exciting: It’s a promise of what he’ll bring in the future.
By Brock Seng
DANIEL FEINBERG: Banana Flowers
Released / March 15, 2014
Recorded at / Feinberg’s apartment; his family’s place in Baltimore
Sounds like / Sea Wolf, Bright Eyes, Josiah Wolf
Inspiration / The minimalist production of Kanye West’s “Yeezus;” Big Star; moving around the country
Key Tracks / “Curator,” “South Carolina”
Where to get it / danielfeinberg.bandcamp.com
Upcoming shows / April 26 at Broken Shelves with Boyfriend Material
Genre/ Nostalgic indie pop
Acoustic and electric guitar, bass, synth, vocals, drums, harmonica and can full of oats / Daniel Feinberg
Backing vocals / Tc Hinson
“Banana Flowers,” Daniel Feinberg’s first full-length album, opens with an ode to transience. Against an aural background of fuzzy, swaying synth and a stable drumbeat backbone, Feinberg teases out a story of leaving, moving and, fittingly, ghosts.
And although these themes unify the album, Feinberg said he didn’t set out to make a cohesive unit.
“The story goes: I made songs until I had enough good ones,” he said and laughed. “I just said, ‘I have an album’s worth of songs on my computer, I should probably give them to people so I’m not the only one who hears them.’”
The songs, he said, are meant to be listened to separately. He did, however, sequence them in a way that would logically flow, he said. The result is what he calls an “optional album.”
“Curator,” the album’s jangly, upbeat third track, plays with the idea of memory, which Feinberg says is often on his mind.
“I think about memories a lot,” he said. “I tend to question how accurate they are, and how reliable I am at telling my own stories and remembering them.”
Feinberg, who is only formally trained as a drummer, had to flex his other musical muscles after moving from upstate New York into an apartment in Gainesville for graduate school. In an apartment setting, he said, he could only play instruments that wouldn’t disturb the neighbors, forcing him to work with acoustic guitar, bass, piano and his computer to make music.
When he went home to his family’s house in Baltimore he would use his drum set and his dad’s electric guitar. He would then piece the instruments together afterward, he said. So some songs have been developed across state lines.
“Banana Flowers” is lyrically dense and filled with fictional characters that blend together people and places Feinberg has encountered. Each song, he said, went through about ten drafts, reminiscent of fiction or poetry.
“One musician that I played with said I have too many words in my songs,” he said. “I hope that people who like to read would like my songs because I think a lot about the lyrics.”
But the crowded wording gets balanced by the simple, sleek background vocals and music. And the stories, which reflect a wistful fondness for Gainesville, are enough to keep you following along.
By Samantha Schuyler
THE SAVANTS OF SOUL: Untitled LP
Release Date / Fall (tentative)
Recorded at / Goldenstone Studios
Sounds like / St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Mayer Hawthorne, Sam Cooke
Inspiration / Mid-to-late-‘60s Motown and Southern Soul
Key Tracks / “For Dreaming You,” “Hoopla,” “Darkness,”
Where to get it / iTunes, vinyl, http://www.savantsofsoul.com/
Genre / Neu-funk
Upcoming shows / May 2 at the Atlantic, May 3 at Skipper’s Smokehouse
Lead vocal / Justin McKenzie
Lead vocal / Christina Holder
Guitar / Austin Van Wie
Bass / John Gray Shermyen
Keyboard / Jason Bontrager
Drums / Alex Klausner
Trumpet / Mandy Moo
Trumpet & Trombone / Matthew Rossmann
Trombone / Ethan Miller
Tenor sax / David Rinehart
Alto sax / Ray Vigil
You can always trust The Savants of Soul to bring kinetic, bouncing energy to their live performances. And their first LP, still in its finishing stages, is no different.
“What I want,” said Alex Klausner, drummer and a founding member, “is for somebody to be able to put on the record at 3 a.m. and have their own private dance party.”
The LP is the result of the combined goals of the band and its producer and engineer Rob McGregor. McGregor wanted to tap into what gets people up and dancing during the band’s live shows. The Savants of Soul have been performing live for four years, and now, Klausner said, it’s time to let people tune in at home.
The songwriting is a culmination of each band member’s personal influences. Some favor ska; some punk; others jazz. The disparate influences get filtered through the sound and spirit of mid-to-late-‘60s soul music. What comes across on the album is a tightly assembled, consciously joyful collection of songs, each with enough staying power to keep you humming the chorus after it ends.
The songs, written over the course of the band’s four-year history, can be filed into one of two categories described by Klausner as “hot” or “sweet.” Hot songs evoke bluesy, southern influences like James Brown and Sharon Jones. A good example is the song “Hoopla,” which will include a conversational skit between the two leads that moves into a wave of explosive horns and rhythm. Behind a layer of humor and energy, the song finally asks the question: “What’s with all the hoopla?”
Sweet songs, on the other hand, stir up memories of Motown pop. After the high-energy turbulence of the hot songs, sweet ones like “On the Passenger Side,” with its somber lyrics, mellow backup vocals and leisurely melodic solo written by the band’s former guitarist Billy Schmucker, slow the audience down. In fact, when the band performs the song live, they usually instruct the audience to slow-dance with the nearest partner.
The band is a tight-knit group that has zeroed in on a very specific and fully developed sound, and the release of their LP will reflect that. Future plans, said John Gray Shermyen, bassist and one of the founding members, include moving into a house with a colored room for each member like the Beatles did in Help!
“We’d have to get a house with ten rooms though,” Shermyen said jokingly. “So that’s a little farther down the line.”
By Kyle Hayes