Like most of our favorite contemporary indie acts, NYC’s Gladshot embrace a lovely nostalgic aesthetic that seems to harken back to the ‘90s, the golden age of “alt rock.” However, the sounds of Gladshot ring a little bit differently than the most frequently embraced inspirations of the Lollapalooza era (I feel like most of my favorite bands of recent years sit down before rehearsals and say, “Okay, just imagine that we’re Kim Deal.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
Upon listening to Gladshot’s 2014 EP, “Maxwell’s Cool Demon,” produced by John Agnello (known for work with locals like Kurt Vile and Hop Along), I hear an amalgam of Liz Phair (the most brilliant lo-fi singer/songwriter of all-time), Luscious Jackson (the most legitimately funky white girls to ever live), and ‘90s R.E.M. (who, at the time, blended alternative rocking with poignant singing and songwriting seamlessly). This past Friday I chatted with Gladshot core members, Debbie Andrews and Mike Blaxill, of whom, after some trepidation, I admitted to hearing these references. They each laugh and tell me it’s totally cool. “It’s cool that it’s a composite,” says Debbie.” “It’s always interesting to hear. Last night someone said Neil Young,” Mike says, before Debbie adds, “Last night I actually heard someone compare us to The Byrds.”
Thursday night Gladshot played the Cakeshop in New York with Philly’s own Purples, whom they began a string of dates with last Wednesday at TT The Bear’s in Boston and which will conclude this Wednesday, July 22nd, at Ortlieb’s in Northern Liberties. When I ask Mike and Debbie about what have been the highlights of Gladshot so far, Mike admits that their Cakeshop show with Purples was actually one of the best shows they’ve played. He also tells me that, in addition to Purples, our local scene is a major influences on the band in general, “I’m loving the Philly scene now, it’s just the best of the country, I mean, Dr. Dog, annndddd, I should probably think of a second one [laughs],” before Debbie quickly relieves him, “Free Energy!!!”
In addition to their last show, Mike and Debbie tell me that they’ve had a handful of (honestly, quite impressive) “highlights” since their first release three years ago. “Our first record we did in 2012 and we had a video that ended up on Adbusters, which got a lot of attention, and we were working on a rock musical around that time,” says Mike. “It was with our friend Jim Rado and we did it at the Fringe Festival in New York; it was called Barcode,” Debbie adds. And their latest release has garnered equally impressive accolades. “One radio station in Detroit, WHFR, called our new record, ‘the Best Rock Record of the Year,’ which was pretty amazing,” Mike tells me.
Although they’re exceptionally gracious and generally very straightforward, when I ask about their process of writing and recording together, Debbie tells me, “I don’t know that I really like to talk about or think about that. The proof is in the pudding, it’s in the songs. We don’t like to divulge too much [laughs].” However, she does tell me that for this Wednesday’s show at Ortlieb’s, you can expect some new sounds from Gladshot, “We’re playing a number of new songs that haven’t been recorded yet; we’ve been playing them and trying them out and we’ve been getting good reactions.” Although the specifics aren’t exactly set in stone, when we talk about the immediate future of Gladshot, they tell me that they plan on spending some time both on the road and in the studio. “We’re planning to do some touring in November, going to Nashville,” Mike says [“Getting to Georgia would be great,” Debbie adds], “And recording a new record, maybe an LP version of the EP, or maybe just another EP… we’ll see.” “I kind of like doing EPs…” Debbie coyly and endearingly clarifies for both myself and her musical partner…