A Toshiba RT-8035. This mid-level consumer boom box has some interesting features, including dual mic inputs that allow it to function as a karaoke or home recording machine, a built-in microphone, and “stereo-wide” mode, which as far as I can tell just pushes down the low-mid spectrum. This unit is in remarkable shape, except that the second deck occasionally makes a sound like a cat crying. The primary deck sounds great, though.
Gravys Drop is a Berkeley, CA outfit masterminded by one Billy Grave. A rotating cast of six-some odd musicians support him live. They are in a lot of different bands you might know: Traditional Fools, Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Teenage Harlets, and Rock n Roll Adventure Kids/Nobunny. For the Love of Gravy is their first release on Burger Records.
For the Love of Gravy draws sounds from across the rock and roll spectrum. Images of leather-jacketed Lolitas and their ne’er do well beaus are there right along covers of “Made to Love,” “Satisfied Mind,” and “Waymore’s Blue.” It all sounds too well thought-out for the garage and too bombastic for the bedroom, which seems to leave it with a choice between the studio or the rock club. Gravys Drop chooses both of the latter options, balancing clever touches with an intensely live feel. This record draws its punch from careful, but never cautious, layering of secondary guitar parts rather than thick slabs of distortion, giving it a casual power pop feel at the oddest moments and making the frequent and well executed guitar solos feel much more affective and important. It’s essentially referential music, but without ever seeming cheap or reductive.
How it sounds:
This record is ideally played blasting out of your speakers at roommate-annoying levels [sorry about that, Cole] after you've had a few beers. This treats the heavy stereo bias on some of the guitar parts nicely and just feels right. The little bit of extra tape hiss gives extra little crumbles of grit exactly where the tracks need them.
The full package:
The gravy recipe themed packaging is really amusing and is in keeping with the fun spirit of the record. The plate of potatoes, peas, and unidentifiable meat on the front cover is strangely appetizing. The little elves above it seem to think so, too. The tape itself is transparent “red” plastic and its text sticks to the gravy recipe theme.
A well done Everly Brothers cover is always worth hearing.
“Buddhist Guru” concerns the joys of late night donut runs.
“Secret Stash” is guitar solos galore.
For the Love of Gravy is now available from Burger Records.