LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…today it’s a quartet from Chicago that follows the granite strong tradition of angular noise rock so squarely cornered by the likes of Touch & Go Records and their incumbents Shellac of North America & VS favs The Jesus Lizard. With a second album called “Just Look At That Sky” produced by Electrelane’s Mia Clarke out on July 31st via Felte Records, it’s a taut assault with the hydra headed twin vocalists of Alicia Gaines (also bass) and Nadia Garofalo (also keyboards) taking it in turns at the mic in a way that’s thrillingly redolent of Husker Du’s Mould and Hart duel axis, but also hurtling down the line like a wilfully claustrophobic mix of Kleenex and Kim Gordon. Meanwhile Charlie Landsman’s guitar strafes like Albini and Brian Cundiff keeps it thunderously rolling like Mule’s Jim Kimball.
Ganser are named after a syndrome that’s a rare type of condition in which a person deliberately and consciously acts as if they have a physical or mental illness when they are not really sick, and was often dubbed “prison psychosis”, but this lot are no mimics, and totally stand up to serious scrutiny, sonically speaking.
The self-directed but suitably cinematic video to “Emergency Equipment & Exits” explores the instinct of downing tools and just walking away in the midst of the action. If The Jesus Lizard’s “Boilermaker” was famously described in “Book” by Christopher R. Weingarten as “this onomatopoetic spittle-sprayer is barely a bark. It’s like walking in midbark. Bark as suffix. It’s opening the door to find the Jesus Lizard rehearsing (or worse) in your living room.”, then “Emergency Equipment & Exits” is as if that fury hits a semi-colon, the door slams shit on the band but the rambunctious din still filters out like MBV on mogadon.
I’m also a big fan of the album artwork which reminds me a heady mixture of Tim Burton’s vision of Willy Wonka meets an observer watching an atom bomb explode in the Nevada desert.
Ganser have shared stages with the likes of Daughters, Oh Sees, Viagra Boys as well as Modern English and one of those has snuck into their Lucky 7 list, so let’s get into it…it’s been carefully curated by drummer Brian Cundiff…
1. Viagra Boys – Slow Learner
Had a blast playing an opening set for these guys last year. They’ve always struck me as being a bit like how Huey Lewis would have sounded if he got the new drug he wanted. This video of the song was recorded at a bar in Chicago earlier on the day we played with them.
2. The Pulsars – Silicon Teens
I went to high school with the Trumfio brothers and still remember their band at the time playing a ripping cover of “Pretty in Pink” at the school variety show. I’m a sucker for catchy Future Pop tunes, love the bendy guitar in this one, a true symphony of electronic confection. In my opinion, this song eclipses anything in the output of its namesake, who you may have guessed after listening, were from England.
3. Ride – Lannoy Point
Back in the day, Ride cancelled their scheduled US tour and broke up a little after, so I didn’t see them live in their initial run. Jumped at the chance to drive up to Toronto from Chicago to see them for their reunion in 2015. New music started popping up online in late summer 2016, I was overjoyed with this one which I still feel ranks among their best. “Untitled new song #3,” as it was being called by fans at the time, gives us an early, more aggressive version without the synths that dominate the album version.
4. Dead Skeletons – Ódauðleg Orð
Melodic, brooding, haunting psych from Reykjavík. The drums and bass lay down a meditative groove. This version of the song, along with a “museum version”, were made to accompany an art installation by frontman Jón Sæmundur.
5. iamamiwhoami – o
So much darkness in this one, but still so catchy. Love the arpeggiated foundation, following a pattern of fantastic use of synths with voices that always suit the song. Combining art-pop soundscapes with haunting imagery, iamamiwhoami has been inspirational as an audiovisual project, ambitiously pairing every song with a video.
6. WITCH – Lazy Bones
Reaping the benefits of having pretty much everything ever recorded available online, I recently discovered WITCH, a 70’s Zamrock band from Zambia whose name is an acronym for “We Intend To Cause Havoc.” A tight groove with a familiar psych/jam vibe and some sweet drumming.
The Lucky 7th: Ganser – Lucky
The story behind this one is we were going to be playing a couple shows with Daughters and we felt like we could use one more aggressive tune. This one started out as a Voice Memo of a beat played on drum practice pads, and went from demo to being played live in about a month. Some scratch vocal sound effects from the original iPhone idea made it to the final recording, if you’re up for an easter egg hunt.
THANKS TO GANSER AND TO RACHEL SILVER AT SILVER PR
“Just Look At That Sky” by Ganser is out on July 31st via Felte Records and you can pre-order it from Bandcamp here.