Gazer describes themselves as “a high-strung, Cincinnati-based noise punk band.” And although that statement is true, there is a lot, musically, that separates them from other bands that I would consider “Cincinnati-based noise-punk” like Mardou or Smoke Signals….
Gazer, a band that blew away audiences at the most recent Cincypunkfest, is, in a lot of respects, a throwback to the pre-grunge punk era that thrived in Midwestern cities like Chicago and Minneapolis. In that vein, their first release, Phone Commercial, contains 4 tracks, none of which are over 2 and a half minutes. The EP was engineered by John Hoffman at Eye Candy and mastered by Jake Tippey [The Frankl Project].
Gazer is comprised of Erik Ziedses des Plantes [Till Plains] on bass, Michael Squeri [Weakness] on guitar and BJ Marsee [White Walls] on drums.
In both style and substance, Gazer’s sound is strongly reminiscent of Steve Albini projects like Big Black and Rapeman. Another close parallel can be drawn to Dayton, Ohio’s punk rock kings (and Touch and Go Records label mates) Brainiac.
Phone Commercial opens with a blistering bass-driven “I Passed the BAR.” The vocals are modified and distorted beyond recognition, not unlike Shannon Selberg of The Cows, but what is not lost is the energy and the passion.
“Apt. Beating” displays some extraordinary guitar playing, matching bass lines and some percussive work that is just on the edge of pure mania.
I’m pretty intrigued by “The Grande Yankee Bride Hunt,” a piece that, at only 1:44 in length, only 76 seconds of it is actual ‘music.’ The track begins with an electronic churning, pulsing sound and ends with 28 seconds of weird hyper-reverbed piano. It is a song is almost completely incongruous from the rest; and I applaud Gazer for having the guts to be so experimental on their first offering.
The closing track, “Monolith Days,” is a much more straight-forward song driven by a frantic energy that smacks of Bad Brains but ends in screaming torment which reminds me of some early recordings by Nirvana.
Much like Mardou’s EP, Gazer’s Phone Commercial left me wanting more, more, more. I have the feeling that this band is more focused on making music than updating their Facebook status and I can only hope that means that there will be more Gazer coming my way soon.
Phone Commercial is available for pay-what- you-want from Bandcamp.