Brooklyn’s Gustaf have shared The Motions, the final single to be lifted from their debut album ‘Audio Drag For Ego Slobs,’ out October 1st via Royal Mountain Records. It comes ahead of an extensive run of touring throughout the US, UK and Europe that sees them sharing the stage with IDLES, Pillow Queens, and Osees.
Vocalist Lydia Gammill comments on the new song: “I always envisioned The Motions as our ‘walking around New York City’ song. The cadence is great for trudging across a bridge or taking the subway. The song is about snapping between the perspective of your chaotic inner narrative while following the precut path of the world around you. Like when you’re strutting down the sidewalk to a song and your headphones slip off for a second to reveal the natural soundscape you’d been ignoring, realizing the world you had been wrapped up in is not the one shared by everyone else. Then you see that everyone with headphones is jumping between their own personal world and the reality they’re actually living in. I’ve found that if you walk around New York City without headphones, the streets are surprisingly silent. It’s us that add the cacophony of our own personal soundtracks.
The song shuffles through these different perspectives. The hook (watch, breathe, think, see…) mimics the grounding voice inside the narrator’s head going through their next steps while interiorly they’re barely keeping it together. The first (and only) verse is their inner monologue breaking through as they participate in the slog of getting from one place to another. They’re battling the imprint of another person, blaming them for getting in the way of their progress, their forward motions obstructed by the taunts and memory of someone else. Sort of like a hypothetical fight you have in the shower. Just as the inner mind derails into chaos, the second refrain snaps out to the 3rd person and we are back in the world’s choreography of the mundane. The performance of the habitual, human ants dancing along our track.
When you’re losing control of your inner narrative, the motions are the reminder you tell yourself to keep it together. Sometimes though you just can’t help it and get lost in the personal panic of the na-na-need feed of it all.”
Watch the video clip for The Motions via YouTube below.
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,’ out October 1st 2021 via Royal Mountain Records (Wild Pink, Alvvays, U.S. Girls), 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-inch, 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’ track list
‘Audio Drag for Ego Slobs’ will be released on October 1st via Royal Mountain Records. It is available for preorder here.
In support of the album Gustaf have an extensive itinerary of touring in the US, UK and Europe that will see them playing with IDLES, Pillow Queens, and Osees. 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 #
10/22 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade – Heaven Stage #
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 $
11/6 – Brighton, UK – Mutations Festival @ The Green Door Store
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
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
11/18 – Paris, FR – Les Femmes S’en Melent @ Petit Bain
11/19 – Lille, FR – The Black Lab
11/20 – Luxembourg City, LU – Rotondes Klub
12/02 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar %
12/03 – Joshua Tree, CA – Pappy’s %
12/08 – Seattle, WA – Barboza (Headline)
12/09 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar (Headline)
12/18 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour *
12/19 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour *
# – supporting IDLES
$ – supporting Pillow Queens
% – co-headline w/ Kills Birds
* – supporting Osees