GUTS: HERE FOR THIS
Vocals Samantha Jones, Drums Kentucky Costellow, Bass Kara Smith
Released / Oct. 3, 2017
Recorded in / Goldentone Studio
Sounds like / Nothing you’ve heard before
Key tracks / “Shadow”, “Built It”
Where to get it / Bandcamp
GUTS can be dirty. GUTS can be dark. But most of all, GUTS can be a good time.
GUTS, a three piece, all-women band comprised of vocalist Samantha Jones, drummer Kentucky Costellow and bassist Kara Smith, released their sophomore effort “Here For This” last October. The album has its own sound-one of beautiful harmonies, driving rhythms and touching lyrics.
“Here For This” consists of five songs, each one a product of a new combination and permutation of Jones’ siren-esque voice, Smith’s punching bass lines and Costellow’s resounding beats.
The band’s syncing beats and blend of alternative rock and indie-pop have led them to be compared to other gender-bending bands, like Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie. But GUTS has a sound wholly their own, a product of their rag-tag beginnings.
“It doesn’t sound like anything [else], because it’s coming from everywhere.” Jones said.
The band formed in 2013 in Gainesville’s first band roulette, a “Whose Line is it Anyway?” but for musicians that involves randomly putting musicians together to create a band.
Initially, the group was four people strong, but three of the members, including Jones and Smith, were drummers. To vary the band’s sound, Kara Smith took up bass.
12 months and one premonition later, Costellow joined GUTS, completing the band with her energetic rhythms.
“I had this dream that their original drummer was moving away, and the next morning [she] announced on Facebook, ‘Hey, I think I’m moving to California,’” Costellow said.
At her New Years Eve party, Costellow cornered Jones and Smith. “I was like, you know, I play drums,” she said, coyly.
It was a lie—Costellow did not know how to play the drums. But she tried out anyway. In a couple weeks, she taught herself by watching live recordings of the band. Costellow fit into GUTS so well, they didn’t look for another drummer.
And so GUTS was born.
“Out of all of that came this sound,” Jones said.
“Here For This” has a stronger political focus than their first album “Lucky All Over”. Jones said this shift is evident in “Shadow.” The song is about being let down by men and, consequently, becoming suspicious.
“The shadow, your gaslight, cast on the floor, and you’ll never have the option to darken my door,” Jones sings, her voice haunting. “You gave me one too many, one too many, one too many things to ignore.”
Underscored by a snappy bass, the song becomes soulful. It evokes that knowing feeling one gets from seeing someone you don’t quite want to see at a party before they see you.
“That song definitely delves more into patriarchal themes,” she said. “It’s kind of heralding a new direction that we’re moving in, where maybe we’ll be speaking more about issues socially.”
GUTS is everything you could want in a pop band, lyrically sweet folk-punk anthems all wrapped up in a danceable rhythms.
“It’s a collaboration of women who are all coming from wildly different places, and honestly I don’t know how it works,” Jones said. Evident from their latest album, “Here For This”, it does work. •
By Sydney Schultheis
GUTLESS: SOME VOIDS…
Lead Vocals + Guitar V. Viana, Bass Andrew Martin, Drums Tim McGowan, Guitar Max White, Keys Valerie Melina
Released / March 16, 2017
Recorded in / Goldentone Studios
Sounds like / Jeff Rosenstock
Inspiration / The Ramones, Against Me!
Key tracks / “The Breaker,” “Growing Apart”
Where to get it / Bandcamp
When singer-songwriter Viviane (V.) Viana started playing gigs in Gainesville, “Gutless” was the name of her solo act. Until members Valerie Melina, Max White, Tim McGowan and Andrew Martin came along, the project was, well, gutless.
Gutless is a self-described “happy sad punk band” that specializes in slow-burning, angsty punk battle cries married with ear-splitting guitar melodies, dulcet piano harmonies and powerful drum beats.
Gutless is a quintet by definition, but dabble in the cross-germination vibrant music scenes are known for. They often record and perform with Insignificant Other’s Simona Morales and other members of different local bands. This is how guitarist Maxim White joined. He was introduced to Gutless when they played with his hardcore band, Waste, at a show in Orlando in Feb. 2015.
“I fell in love with Gutless that day, and I kind of weaseled my way in,” White said.
But Viana doesn’t see it that way. She sees her bandmates as the project’s “saving grace.” Withou them, she couldn’t have produced their most recent release, Some Voids…. This is the band’s sophomore EP, which dropped at 3:16 p.m. on March 16, 2017. (Get it?)
Some Voids… is vastly more ambitious than their aptly-named debut EP recorded with local band Consent, Split with Consent. Each of the five tracks are expertly placed, the music’s cohesive layers (especially those from Melina on keys) provide a stark contrast to Viana’s passionate, shaky vocals. The lyrics tell a story that makes listeners want to raise a glass and yell out their feelings. For the band members, this is what punk is all about.
“Punk blurs the dichotomy between artist and audience and everyone feels like an integral part of the experience,” Viana said. “You need that space where you can just yell and be vulnerable. Ever since I started playing music, shows have been that space for me.” •
By Peyton Whittington
Vocals Anna James, Production Mäynard Shaye
Released / November 2017
Recorded in / Shaye’s home studio
Sounds like / ODESZA, Bonobo
Inspiration / Flume, Sylvan Esso, Mura Masa
Key tracks / “Peachy,” “21”
Where to get it / Bandcamp
Upcoming shows / Jan. 17 at the Atlantic
Electronic music. It’s abstract, not made with real instruments and can get a little weird when performed live. However, Retrolux, an indie electronic duo, thoughtfully translates the esoteric genre into something that feels real and tangible.
Even though their music is made on a computer, Anna and Shaye bring a sense of humanity to their shows. They perform live and nothing is prerecorded; it’s intended to be genuine. At Retrolux’s very first show, Shaye even accidentally pressed the wrong button and stopped a song mid-way through. But that’s the point Retrolux intends to make with their music. They strive to engage their audience on a more honest level.
Anna and Shaye met on Craigslist, and since then have curated a bouncy aesthetic and celestial sound in what is otherwise a mostly indie and punk dominated scene. With relatable, saccharine lyrics layered over dreamy production that still gets you to groove, Retrolux creates songs that are complex, yet cohesive. They juxtapose beats that are synthetic and digital with softer sounds that are more organic and raw.
“I call it Building Sh*t Mountain —” Shaye said, “— then you carve away, and see what looks nice.”
Shaye is referring to the process of creating Retrolux’s new EP – and actually, it’s called Optics.
The EP is saturated with themes of youth and romance and reminds us all to appreciate the moments we experience and soak them all in. In the upbeat and rich “Peachy,” Anna sings “I don’t know about you, but I’m down to stay awhile…you say my name so sweetly.”
Optics started as a “shit mountain,” but depicts the feeling of a sweeter and fresher landscape, sending listeners through the freedom of lush, rolling fields.
“We’re heading in an alt-pop direction,” Shaye said. “It’s just so fun when the whole audience is dancing, it’s a really cool feeling.” •
By Anika Huda