Monday, December 12, 2011

WRAPPING UP 2011 with Gintis

There have been other champions of Abergele’s Gintis but the one that brought the band to my attention was Ted from the Cloud Sounds podcast. Hooked from first listen a couple of years ago, I eagerly awaited the release this April of second album “Idiot Guides and Plans”. It was not an easy gestation for the follow-up to their 2006 debut as the band describe on their label’s website: “sadly an unfortunate amount of family circumstances, distance between band members (who all had to move from the area for various reasons), abject poverty, depression and even short periods of homelessness delayed completion of this album for 3 to 4 years. However the band feels this record is a triumph over adversity and it has all been done “in house” getting friends to play brass instruments for free, Steve and Chris at TAPE did not charge for their time nor use of the studio. It cost barely a penny to make this record, using borrowed instruments and relying heavily on the generosity of others (which is good, because the band have and continue to have nothing) but what it is rich in, is depth, love, warmth and sincerity. We hope that you will feel like part of the family too”.

Gintis may not sound like winners but their modest, sweetly psychedelic melodies are indeed triumphs, mixing small-town domesticity and human failing with big themes like scientific rationalism, existential doubt and technological obsolescence. Carl Roberts (vocals/guitar) and Kyle Lee (guitar) from the band share their thoughts and experiences of 2011:

What we will remember most about 2011 is...
Kyle: As a band, for me personally it would be supporting Evan Dando. Nice to play a decent venue, plus we got to support Evan Dando!
Carl: The creation of my "Vera" night that I go to. Four of us sit around getting smashed and we each pick a song to listen to. However there are rules. First song to kick the night off is always something off “Safe As Milk” by Captain Beefheart, every fourth song (i.e. after everyone has had one selection) we listen to ‘Vera’ by Pink Floyd, every fourth ‘Vera’ we listen to live ‘Vera’. If you reach five live ‘Vera’s you listen to ‘We'll Meet Again' by Vera Lynn, however we have not reached this yet. Double ‘Vera’ signifies the end of the night. Every now and again we have a "special artist round", Nick Drake can only be played in a special artist round and not on any other "normal" round. If you put a pringle on your chin, you can pretend to be Roger Waters.

What should be forgotten about 2011…
Kyle: Not much we do we need to forget about, usually fun all the time.
Carl: Erm... can't remember anything worth forgetting.

The best gig we played was...
Kyle: Either the Evan Dando gig in the Tiv, or our home town gig at the start of the tour. Nice to have people that know your songs around you.
Carl: Supporting Evan Dando in the Tivoli in Buckley, it was set up by a lovely bunch of guys called The Reads and they kindly asked us to come and play as they knew how much we loved Big Evan. He is the reason I write songs pretty much. It was a great gig and we didn't let ourselves down. We didn't get to meet him, nor did he watch our set, but it was just nice to know he was sharing a stage with us, and also he rattled through countless amazing songs, that was a pleasure to behold.

The best gig we saw was...
Kyle: Either Jonny or Bright Eyes, both extremely good gigs.
Carl: Rob Gintis and I travelled to Brussels to watch a band called Flotation Toy Warning. They are one of the greatest bands on this planet. Their drummer produces our stuff. Really nice guys, mind-blowing songs, amazing gig.

A record from 2011 that will be still be played in 10 years time?
Kyle: “Idiot Guides and Plans”
Carl: Go Go Boots” by The Drive-By Truckers - have fallen in love with this album this year. Great country, the way it should be.

Overlooked in 2011?
Kyle: Jonny
Carl: Got to be us hasn't it? Some good bands bubbling under that I really hope release records next year such as Onions and Morffe.

Brightest hope for 2012?
Kyle: There’s loads of good music out there, but my new favourite at the moment is Conor Mason
Carl: That Dev's son in Corrie's golfing career takes off.

And what can we look forward to in 2012 from Gintis?
Kyle: Might be able to get a couple of songs recorded for an EP we want to do, hopefully demo the new album too. Hopefully more gigs, and we'd love to do a couple of festivals over summer, if anyone will have us.
Carl: Tough one...We don't have much planned really. Hopefully we can get a few dates together with our buddies The Loungs.

It's positive the band don't remember anything bad about this year but it’s heart-breaking they didn’t even get to meet Evan Dando when supporting him. It’s also heart-breaking they don’t get the acclaim or attention they deserve either. Maybe, even though they don’t necessarily agree about next year, 2012 will bring them more of both and more people will feel part of the Gintis family?

The Bakery Song - Gintis by FollyOfYouth

Half As Much by freshhairrecords

Gintis Idiot Guides and Plans [BUY]

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