Formed in 2018, Brooklyn’s Gustaf have built a kind of buzz that feels like it comes from a different era. The art punk five piece rapidly established a reputation as one of New York’s “hardest working…and most reliably fun bands” (BrooklynVegan), and early excitement about their danceable, ESG-inspired post punk expanded outside of their city with remarkable effect despite having released no recorded music and barely having an online presence. As a result of their magnetic live show the band found unlikely early champions, catching the attention of luminaries like Beck – who had the band open for him at a secret loft party he played around the release of his latest album – the New York no wave legend James Chance, and shared stages with buzzing indie acts like Omni, Tropical F*** Storm, Dehd and Bodega, while word of mouth led to sell out shows when they played their first LA headline dates in late 2019. They finally released recorded music in the form of their debut 7” at the end of 2020, which only furthered the growth of their reputation, earning them comparisons to acts like Television, The Talking Heads, The B-52s and LCD Soundsystem from NPR (who made them a Slingshot artist for 2021), NME (who included them in their NME 100 for the year), Paste, The Needle Drop, DIY, The Forty-Five, and So Young among many others. In the UK they were also A-listed on BBC 6 Music.
Now, the band have announced their debut LP, the magnificently titled ‘Audio Drag For Ego Slobs,’ which will be out on October 1st via Toronto’s Royal Mountain Records, and shared their new single Book.
Of the track Gustaf’s Lydia Gammil says: “Book is a song about the fallacy and fight of getting ahead vs being a head. It is seeking validation in the wrong places and from the wrong people. The hook, “I got ahead, I got a head” is a fun little taunt that we find either being thrown in our face or coming out our mouth. Everyone gets their moment up on the pedestal and everyone gets their turn falling off of it. Whether it’s up or down, Book is about accepting whatever level you’re on.”
Watch the video clip for Book via YouTube below.
To coincide with the announce Gustaf are announcing an extensive itinerary of touring in the US, UK and Europe that will see them playing with IDLES and Pillow Queens. Full details can be found below.
10/1 – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
10/2 – Knoxville, TN – Mill and Mine
10/3 – Cincinatti, OH – MOTR Pub
10/4 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern
10/6 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
10/7 – Saint Paul, MN – Palace Theatre #
10/8 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre #
10/9 – Detroit, MI – Saint Andrew’s Hall #
10/10 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall #
10/12 – Boston, MA – House of Blues #
10/13 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore #
10/15 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 #
10/16 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 #
10/17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club #
10/18 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club #
10/20 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel #
10/21 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom #
10/25 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s #
10/26 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater #
10/27 – San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger #
11/2 – Birmingham, UK – The Sunflower Lounge $
11/3 – Bristol, UK – Rough Trade Bristol $
11/4 – London, UK – The Dome $
11/8 – Leeds, UK – Hyde Park Book Club $
11/9 – Manchester, UK – YES (Pink Room) $
11/10 – Liverpool, UK – Arts Club Loft $
11/11 – London, UK – The Windmill, Brixton (Gustaf headline)
11/13 – Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who Festival
11/14 – Kortrijk, BE – Sonic City Festival
11/14 – Brussels, BE – Witloof Bar
11/16 – Berlin, DE – Cassiopeia
11/17 – Haldern, DE – Haldern Pop Bar
11/19 – Lile, FR – The Black Lab
11/20 – Luxembourg City, LU – Rotondes Klub
12/09 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar (headline)
# – supporting IDLES
$ – supporting Pillow Queens
More about Audio Drag For Ego Slobs’
Inspired by the rhythmic grooves of ESG, the dopey drawl of Jonathan Richman, and manic energy of The Fall, Gustaf’s live set is quick on its feet, constantly in flux, and obsessively catered to the people in the room, resulting in a sound that is emotive, androgynous, and infectiously danceable.
Composed of Tine Hill (bass), Vram Kherlopian (guitar), Melissa Lucciola (drums), Tarra Thiessen (vocals, percussion), and Lydia Gammill (lead vocals), Gustaf got its start in 2018 when Thiessen recruited Gammill to help drive her van down to SXSW. When Thiessen’s original tour fell through, Gammill suggested pulling a band together to play in their place. With little more than a name and a handful of t-shirts, they hit the ground running, playing hundreds of shows in their first two years and earning a reputation as one of New York’s “hardest working…and most reliably fun bands” (Brooklyn Vegan).
Finding early champions in all quarters, they caught the attention of luminaries like Beck and Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant – who had the band open for him at a secret loft party – and secured opening slots for buzzing indie acts like Omni, Tropical Fuck Storm, Dehd and New York no wave legends like James Chance and Martin Revv without any recordings to their name. They quickly earned acclaim from outlets such as Oh My Rockness, who touted, “Listen, if Gustaf is playing a late night basement show somewhere, or on a rickety roof, or in someone’s shitty apartment, or just at some regular old music venue…you should make all the necessary arrangements and go.”
Gustaf’s debut full-length album, ‘Audio Drag For Ego Slobs’ is a culmination of lessons learned on the stage and in the studio. The album is a collection of anxious affirmations, existential dread, and blind joy. Recorded at the Honey Jar Studio in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez (Ava Luna, Sneaks, Mr. Twin Sister) and co-produced by Hernandez and Gammill, it follows last year’s Mine 7”, the band’s first recorded material and a release that immediately garnered attention from outlets like NME and NPR who dubbed the band one of 2021’s emerging artists, as well as BBC 6 Music who added the release to regular rotation.
Both tense and loose, fluid yet uptight, ‘Audio Drag For Ego Slobs’ sounds simultaneously like nothing you’ve ever heard before while channeling the spirit and energy of the old New York scene. Feeling like a cramped and secret house party, buzzing with kinetic energy and bristling with spirit, the title is a tongue-in-cheek play on classic compilation albums such as “relaxing tunes for an enchanting evening”. Lifted from the avant-garde multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, “Audio Drag” refers to Thiessen’s deepened pitch shifting voice filter, while “Ego Slob” is a self-coined phrase to describe someone who does a sloppy job of translating the outside world within the context of themselves.
That “sloppy” ego slob spirit translates to the album’s controlled chaos, bursting at the seams—a performance of hyperbole and cathartic emotional gluttony, sonically winking at the listener lest you take them too seriously. Gammill’s swaggering half-spoken vocal melodies pierce through the album’s central bass groove, bleating guitars and restless drums.
After a year away from the stage, the band is eager to flex their muscles once more as a live act with plans to open for IDLES across the United States in October, as well as Pillow Queens in the United Kingdom in November, and prove why Brooklyn Vegan once said, “There are a lot of bands making arty post-punk, but very few who have a front person as magnetic, funny, and occasionally, scary as Gustaf’s Lydia Gammill.”
‘Audio Drag for Ego Slobs’ tracklist
3. Best Behavior
5. Liquid Frown
6. The Motions
‘Audio Drag for Ego Slobs’ will be released on October 1st via Royal Mountain Records. It is available for preorder here.