In the Gozu interview that went up yesterday, there was a discussion of that feeling when a song fits together almost instantaneously in the rehearsal space — no real back and forth, no drama over parts, nothing like that. It just happens and then is done. New York heavy bluesers Geezer seem to have recently experienced such a phenomenon, and their new self-released EP, Gage, is what they have to show for it.
It’s only been a couple months since Geezer released their debut full-length, Handmade Heavy Blues — not enough time for me to review it, apparently — an album rife with slide guitar and gravely vocals, easy grooves and even an early-featured cover of The Beatles‘ “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road,” which sums up a good deal of the attitude present throughout. Gage came together as a quick follow-up when the trio — guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington, bassist Freddy Villano and drummer Chris Turco — entered the studio to record a track, presumably the fuzz-dreaming opener “Ancient Song,” for an upcoming Grip of Delusion Radio compilation. One became three, the live cut “Dude, it’s Molecular” was added, and an EP was made. Sometimes it’s just that simple. Rarely, but sometimes.
The EP itself reflects the relative smoothness of the process that bore it into the world. Harrington‘s guitar leads the way through “Ancient Song,” but the laid back groove that Villano and Turco throw down is not to be understated, the band departing from some of Handmade Heavy Blues‘ insistence in favor of a languid pace and jammy feel, the vocals tapping into American stoner rock burl while staying deep in the mix and giving the riff the primary space it deserves. Second cut “Thorny” is shorter and bluesier, but also quiet, and the shift to a more subdued atmosphere is at once unexpected and naturally done. The three-piece prove more dynamic throughout than one simple meter or vibe, and “Thorny” feels quick at just over four minutes of airy electric strum, warm bass and minimalist timekeeping, like the psychedelic Americana that Scott H. Biram forgot he always wanted to make, or like Larman Clamor at its most reserved.
With a rhythm and inflection similar to a less bombastic take on Halfway to Gone‘s “Great American Scumbag,” “Ghost Rider Solar Plexus” is the highlight of Gage for its open verses turning Sunday school into a bad trip and extended its solo break, which Geezer skillfully bring back to the chorus at the end, never letting the jam get the best of them. Reportedly played only the one time, “Dude, it’s Molecular” fades up with a clearer live guitar swell and snare rattle to gradually morph into an organic, improv-sounding instrumental that sounds as close to the jam room as we’re likely to get with the band, ending as unassumingly as it started. Geezer — who will play The Acheron in Brooklyn on July 27 as part of The Eye of the Stoned Goat 3 (more info here) — are a relatively new band, but comprised of veterans who obviously know the value that chemistry between players can bring to a lineup. I’m thrilled to get Gage added to The Obelisk Radio this week.
You can hear it there now as part of the regular playlist, or check it out on the player below from the Geezer Bandcamp, where it’s also available for a pay-what-you-will download: