Tag Archives: Kyle Gervais

#BandcampGold-Scapegoat by KGFREEZE

#BandcampGold-Scapegoat by KGFREEZE

by Dan-O

As someone who is fanatical for music I do not resent the layer on the outside of the onion of interest. The layer on the outside is composed of folks who just like songs going behind them: they don’t know the artists, album, and producer and that’s a valid way to live. The layer underneath them is the problem. The poacher who checks pitchfork and follows up only to find “classics” to brag about. Beyond how annoying the condescending “Have you heard __” conversation is, it puts pressure on artists to always seek perfection which is not how art works.

The poacher robs the process of transitions.

The new KGFREEZE project Scapegoat is a perfect example of this. It is the slimy nerve-racking birth of something new not the last sanding away of rough edges. The Freeze has always been the name Kyle Gervais created for his own solo career; the players rotate underneath him while he pushes furiously in different directions. His will and vision was always centerstage but like any good coach he plays to the strength of the team he has at the time. Now is definitely the time for his new line up.

The components have vastly changed and Scapegoat is a project of adjustments and experiments. It was recorded live in a warehouse with very little tweaking.  Chris Gervais comes on as drummer and brings palpitating new wave urgency to every second of his play. Chris likes it loud and once Nate Carll was brought in they were able to go to new places within the term. Nate worked with Kyle in the band Cosades back when Iphone was how Tarzan asked to make a call. I met Nate Carll once and he was so normal it was shocking but the scary part is how potent his guitar wizardry is.  Of the ten songs on Scapegoat On The Hill is his baby from foot to teeth and it is gorgeous. Very few people are allowed to take up Kyle’s authorship space on a KGFREEZE album and On The Hill shows you why Kyle has the faith he has in Nate. It rolls around in guitar noise until the noise takes on shape, form and a light dance. Kyle comes in with his most delicate vocal delivery of the project and for two minutes and nineteen seconds it is a different world from any KGFREEZE song before it. It is indicative of the sweet to savage and back again Siamese Dream-ness of the new Freeze; the ability to get crazy while promising never to lose melodic focus.

Sanks is the most recognizably Kyle song on here and has an absolutely fantastic chorus. The title track fits well within the heard Freeze-verse but not everything on the project works as well. On the con side of this experiment Seyton is a novelty exploration of Pantera screaming and hard rock that the band is just not going to explore. It is a thing they wanted to do and did but doesn’t have any legs to it. Bark For Me, Tom is an infidelity concept song that doesn’t have enough lyrical bite to make up for how bland it sounds compared to the punchier songs.

The punchier songs are the real building blocks for this group. They could go a bunch of directions. My favorite songs are Connection and Insanity both a little over a minute long and indicative of this groups ability to actually give us a polished Costello style Get Happy; something that showcases short electric elegantly constructed songs in great number. They could push the volume and the guitar hero riffs of songs like Freeway of Drugs and see how large and anthemic they could make a full polished project.  Either way they should not record like this again. It was a great way to showcase the difference in loudness, force his audience to buy better headphones, but in the future vocal overdubs will help Kyle’s voice stay comfortably over the sea of sound.  This is not the album poachers will brag about but it could be signifying one is on the horizon.

Stream or Download Scapegoat below:




Free Album review-Star Wars by Wilco


Preface by Dan-O

I hold accountability for everything published on freemusicempire. That editorial responsibility means that any guest blogger has to be 100% dependable. Not a critic (although he has written as a reviewer) who is funny and good at diagraming how something fits in the narrative. I need an artist who knows what it is like to struggle, fight and fail at what you love; knows what it’s like starting over after that. Kyle Gervais has been making music for a long time. He was in the band Cosades. He was in the band Grand Hotel. Now he is running KGFREEZE and dropping a new album within the month (check http://www.kgfreeze.com for updates on when that album drops). Kyle lives and breathes as much music as he can, so he was the perfect guy to tackle a band I checked out on a while ago. I went to Kyle and said “I know this is interesting but I don’t know enough about Wilco to know if this is a new direction.” Kyle stepped up and put it in context. Now read that.

Free Album review-Star Wars by Wilco

by Kyle Gervais

Wilco will never make an album better than A Ghost is Born.

This is how I felt up until the surprise release of Star Wars. It’s not that it’s a better album (it isn’t) but it provides me with, and I’m sure this is no coincidence, a new hope.

My introduction to Wilco, like a lot of people, was Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and while I consider it, as well as plenty of Summer Teeth and Being There, to be utterly solid, Ghost blew my mind. It was a dynamic record, with the loud moments screeching and the quiet parts begging you to listen closer. It was dark. It was weird. It had 12 minutes of droning synth just to payoff with a warped pop song. As most know, it was also made while Jeff Tweedy was going through an addiction to painkillers.

So when the man got healthy and the band released Sky Blue Sky, a lot of fans breathed a sigh of relief while I felt a little frustration (though you really can’t beat “Impossible Germany”). Where were risks, the lack of restraint? Would they return?

While The Whole Love had moments that gave me hope, it also kept the proceedings relatively clean. Star Wars, on the other hand, is fairly off the rails, but only in the best of ways. It may be due to the time spent playing with his son Spencer in family offshoot Tweedy, it may be the lack of pressure in releasing another record on your own label, or knowing that it would be released out of nowhere. Vibe-wise, Wilco (The Album) is the closest comparison but only in the sense that the band is having fun. This time around though, it’s fun AND freaky (and way, way better), more in step with Tweedy and Kotche’s Loose Fur records than anything previously released under the official Wilco moniker.

Album intro “EKG” lets you know that the record is going to be a little more loose with it’s noisy changes, but things really kick into high gear with “Random Name Generator”. Beginning with a riff that sounds like a Beatles goof, the song grooves it’s way to harmonized guitar heaven. While “You Satellite,” the longest track here, loses a bit of steam by mostly just adding layers to one idea, the atmosphere built is quite impressive and it’s sure to be a new live staple. It also makes “Taste The Ceiling” that much more effective despite the bizarre similarities to the Eagles “Take It Easy”. It’s also hard to deny the funk of “Cold Slope” or how “Magnetized” takes all of the off the wall ideas of the previous ten tracks and ties the record together with a nice bow.

Though it’s a little too rough around the edges to seriously compare with the more Official releases in the Wilco discography, that’s also what makes it so special. It’s their pared down version of The Basement Tapes – quite possibly glorified demos that also happen to be some of the best material in their catalog. It sounds effortless and filled with ideas and directions that they have only just realized are possible. There’s a feeling of “Why not?!” in the performances and the production and it’s addictive and exciting.

With a free, 34-minute surprise album, Wilco brought me from a fair weather listener who’d tolerate whatever they’d released to a fan, very excited for what comes next.

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