Gustaf Share “Best Behavior”
Debut LP Audio Drag For Ego Slobs Out October 1st
On Royal Mountain Records
Tour w/ IDLES & Pillow Queens & supporting Osees
Brooklyn’s Gustaf are sharing “Best Behavior“, the follow up to the NPR-approved “Book” and second offering from the debut album Audio Drag For Ego Slobs, out October 1st on Royal Mountain Records. A frenetic and suitably buzzing from one of New York’s “hardest working…and most reliably fun bands” (BrooklynVegan), it comes ahead of an extensive of touring throughout the US, UK and Europe that sees them sharing the stage with IDLES, Pillow Queens, and Osees.
The energy that Gustaf projects is something else. Their ensembles offer this in-depth look into this vast landscape filled with plentiful beats, fruity hooks, and that renowned energy oozing from every crucial layer, effortlessly reflected in their latest single “Best Behavior”.
We’ve said before but there really is such a unique and special energy emitting from this band and they capture it within their craft so flawlessly. They’ve got this raw punk rock edge that laces the new track as it’s art-rock vibes push the track’s momentum. This vicious beat carries this emotionally-mature track as the groove pulsates and compliments the addictive vocals. This release adds this addictive quality to every part of the formation, from the vocal notes we can all relate to, to the buoyant beats and crisp textures. The track reflects this self-assured influence and in turn passes that onto the audience.
Vocalist Lydia Gammill explains, ““Best Behavior” was fun to record because it was one of the first songs we finished/crafted in the studio rather than onstage. It started out as a demo we had in the early days of the band but never ended up playing live. It sat forgotten until we began planning the record and came together pretty effortlessly in the studio.” She continues, “Unlike the bulk of the album that we developed over the course of many live shows, it was exciting to be making decisions and constructing the final song as it was happening. It also helped us get our footing and identify how we wanted to steer and produce the remaining recordings.“
“The song’s ethos is a bit of the old and the new attitude for Gustaf. Our narrator, the ‘ego slob’, is bargaining with itself, scrounging for self compassion and self assurance despite a pile of hurt feelings in its wake. In demanding spoils despite having done nothing to earn them, we see the initial cracks in a brutish facade— our antihero slowly realizing maybe the shell they built for themselves was not built for the world.“
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.
Comprised 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 on 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 themself.
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.”
3. Best Behavior
5. Liquid Frown
6. The Motions
Gustaf’s Audio Drag for Ego Slobs will be released on October 1st on Royal Mountain Records. It is available for preorder here.
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