Milwaukee’s punk collective Gauss – comprised of Eddie Chapman (vocals, guitar), James Brickner (bass), Andry Grygiel (drums), John Larkin (trumpet), Brandon Miller (organ), and Eric Ash (violin) – has brought the geologic element to their sound, with their namesake a reference to river currents and their naturally stunning rapport. Their new EP Thalweg was released today, and we’ve got the exclusive stream of it in full here.
High energy instrumentals with a vintage – almost jazzy – feel to them flood the sound space for “Deeper Than Blue”, and though we don’t hear Chapman’s voice until over thirty seconds in, this fact is the true reason to keep listening, as Gauss has now set the tone for the entire album. To throw a curveball at you, “Stakes are The Same” begins slowly, as though we are headed for a ballad. But then it transitions into a staccato rhythm, more upbeat in its delivery, and then back down to a smooth jam session. You feel a sense of insecurity in the music – as gorgeous as it is – because you can feel the jagged presence of emotion on the track. “Stumbling Block” goes back to fast, head-bobbing fun as Chapman speak/sings some interesting lines like “dirty dishes in the silverware drawer / you’re gonna be a mess some day.” “Epicenter of Anomaly” brings the entire pace to a slow crawl, and you feel like you’ve walked into a modern jazz club almost immediately, your eyes hazy from the smoke and blurry from the sudden darkness that encapsulates you.
“Relinquish the Reigns” steps in as a mid-tempo song, making you feel like you’re bounding through a meadow with your favorite fur friend in slow motion. Once the percussion hits, the complexity of the track increases ten fold and you find yourself lost in its provocative glow. If you love bass, you’ll certainly enjoy the title track, which throws the album into a darker realm for a while to lead us into a song that reminds us of the beauty of the strings. “The Flicker People” rounds out Thalweg as a song that conjures up memories of the mid-2000s pop punk bands that ruled the airwaves. It’s fun, the instrumentals are astonishingly well woven into one another, and it absolutely ends the album on a high note.
Thalweg is out now via Art of the Uncarved Block.