The Gatherers are top shelf. Fun, sexy, and substantive. In an ocean of DIY bedroom pop layered in effects to hide a lack of talent, they are a shining example of how you can do something low budget and self produced that sounds expensive and intentional. It seems like The Gatherers have been a local favorite in Albuquerque from the get go, but I wasn’t always a true believer. Not by a reflection of their musical prowess, but rather my own petty social politics and hesitance to take anything tagged “Electro” very seriously. A couple of months ago, my friend Ryan, (IMHO) a truly brilliant musician, brooklyn based Arclight, said to me, “The Gatherers new song is amazing. It’s good enough to get them signed.” I probably scoffed it off and rolled my eyes. He told me to listen to them seriously, WITH HEADPHONES (advice I get from every musician. Apparently absolutely everything sounds better when played through headphones.) I honestly tried to listen to them. I went to their myspace page and tried to play a track, called “Technosexuals.” I couldn’t even hear the song because I couldn’t get past the title, and the haunting images in my head of what a “Technosexual” might be. Visions danced in my head of Larry Tee Progenies and for some reason the video for that Gravy Train video about having sex with fast food. I had to turn it off, and think about something else. As the day went on I forgot about electroclash, and Ru Paul, and hamburger abortions, and it was quite a while before I gave the music any more thought.
Luckily for me, and for anyone reading, I ran into a member of The Gatherers, David Ramon, at a very awkward gathering, where else? He was charming, and funny, and even though the conversation leaned much more toward Soco, and depraved sex acts, his entertaining of my drunken, often stupid and erratic conversational skills, reminded me that I probably did need to sit down and give The Gatherers another listen. WITH HEADPHONES.
I have to say, I’m a convert. I LOVE this record. I was pleasantly surprised when I went to their Bandcamp dot com page to give their first record (Kurt Russell) a go. Despite my initial apprehension, it starts big and ends big with very little disappointment in between. It’s pretty, and gritty, poppy, and dark. There’s going off at a party tracks like “Dark Triangle” and “Santa Comida.” There’s DTF songs like my personal fave “Different Person” (The song Ryan mentioned in reference to getting them signed) and “Technosexuals,” There’s even a shoegazy space/makeout on my parents roof track called “Across the Street.” My favorite thing about The Gatherers is, they are capable musicians. James Sturgis can actually sing, and Leigh Scariano’s backing vocals are beautiful, and the perfect prescription for a sound, that without her, could be repetitive and droning at times. Kurt Russell as a whole reminds me of something exciting, records that never got enough attention and were often overshadowed by poppier counterparts. I couldn’t help but think of Union of Knives OF Violence and Birdsong, which I loved, and not many people ever heard when listening to a track like “Different Person.” It definitely has an “Opposite Directions” kind of feel. On many of the tracks in the middle of the album, I thought, the Gatherers sound a lot like New Order on Movement. A broody, dark sensibility, but just slightly more accessible than the Joy Division ever was. I don’t want to oversell them, but I think there is something here a lot more promising than a couple of twenty somethings capitalizing on the trendy, no end in sight, low-fi aesthetic. I highly recommend you give them a try. Whether you’re looking for something to drink, and dance till you puke to, take a drive through the desert, or find a soundtrack to your casual encounters via craigslist there is something here you will love.
Btw, You can download Kurt Russell for FREE at their band camp dot com page HERE.