ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Gauss, Brief Candles

A show took place at Club Timbuktu in Riverwest Saturday night featuring slowcore rockers Haunter, noise pop band Brief Candles, and experimental rockers Gauss. An excited crowd of music lovers came out to support, and fun was had.

Gauss consists of vocalist/guitarist Eddie Chapman, bassist John Larkin, drummer Andy Grygiel, keyboardist Brandon Miller, French horn player Elise McArdle, and violinist Eric Ash. They’ve been a band just short of ten years. This was their first show since April 2019; Chapman explains the hiatus.

“It’s been tough; we’ve had some shifts in the lineup…some people have left, some people have joined. The big exciting thing is we’ve written an album in this time…we mostly wrote it before this but we’ve gotten it all together and recorded most of it. It’s been a struggle to get back together; I really appreciate Andy Grygiel because he’s been an invaluable source of moral support and helped me numerous times get to continue the project in times where I was like “are we gonna keep going?” and we kept doing it. I’m really happy that we’re here.”

The band’s last record “Thalweg” came out in 2016. Their new record – set for release in spring 2021 – consists of some songs a couple years old at this point while some were penned recently. Chapman shares a bit more about it.

“It’s seven songs, and I’d say in terms of a trajectory we went from something really long with repetitive songs in our early days to trimming them down to as short as we could for our 2016 EP, and we’ve gotten back to playing a little bit longer and letting songs breathe more. I think there’s a coherency. It’s going to be called “Whale Fall” which is when a whale dies in the ocean it sinks to the bottom of the sea and provides a food source to the organisms down there. There’s hundreds of thousands of whale falls in various states of decomposition across the ocean and they provide a nutrient-rich ecosystem; it’s sort of a way of conceptualizing life after death outside of the Christian paradigm.”

Gauss do not have any more shows booked as of now.

Brief Candles consists of vocalist-guitarists Jenifer & Kevin Dixon, bassist Drew Calvetti, and drummer Radish Beat. Named after a song by The Zombies, the long-running band originally formed in Peoria, Illinois in 1999 but relocated to Milwaukee in the mid 2000’s. Their last show before this weekend was in August 2019 with A Place to Bury Strangers; on Friday night they played Crash Pop Festival in Chicago.

“It was awesome,” Jenifer said about Crash Pop. “I think I was a little bit more emotional and nervous last night just because it’d been two years, and it felt normal but everything also feels fucked up at the same time.”

Their last record “Retreater” came out in 2017, and they’ve released a few singles this past year on Bandcamp. Jenifer shares a bit about what the band is working on.

“Well, having our drummer not in town and practicing online has worked oddly well because of the pandemic. We have a bunch of songs that we have the drums and bass done for but we’ve been sitting on doing the rest. It kind of feels like we might as well do it but wait because it’s hard to know if we’ll be able to tour or do anything of that nature. We put out the singles with the thought that by the summer things we could tour again, but it didn’t really work so much that way. We can’t plan too much ahead anymore. We might just finish those other songs. Most of my lyrics are the usual complaining and self-loathing; one of Kevin’s songs he wrote about our daughter.”

She describes the set they played Saturday.

“We were kind of heavy on our last album “Retreater” which we just put out on vinyl. We also played some new stuff and then two songs off our “Newhouse” EP.”

Brief Candles have a tentative show in November – stay tuned.

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