Picks to Click

The SXSW Class of 2002

Picks to Click
Photo By John Anderson

The Gloria Record

Wednesday, March 13, Red Room (Midnight)

You can't blame the Gloria Record for wanting to distance themselves from their past in the seminal emo group Mineral. After all, Thom Yorke probably doesn't want to talk about "Creep" anymore, either.

Yet while the Radiohead anthem was quickly dismissed as a one-hit-wonder, Mineral's fans kept expecting more of the same-old quasi-punk melodramatics out of the Austin group that, along with Sunny Day Real Estate and Cap'n Jazz, helped put emo on the map. Mineral's reputation grew to the point where Epitaph released their final album Endserenading posthumously in 1998, knowing there would be no accompanying tour. It was that same reputation that eventually constricted frontman Chris Simpson and bassist Jeremy Gomez, who had more ambitious musical ideas in mind.

"When we were writing the second Mineral record, we'd be working on ideas that were really different," says Simpson. "Phrases would be thrown around like, 'I just don't think that's Mineral.' That's when I realized that I wouldn't be happy in the band in the long run."

It didn't take long after Mineral's 1997 demise for Simpson and Gomez to found the more sedate, atmospheric Gloria Record. What has taken an eternity in bandspeak is the completion of their first full-length album, Start Here, which comes out May 14 on Brooklyn's Arena Rock Recording Company. It's the culmination of a two-year writing and recording process that had the band trekking from Austin to Nebraska and back several times in their quest to fully capture the band's dense mood-scapes.

With the assistance of Lincoln, Neb.-based producer Mike Mogis, the Gloria Record has created a lush, expansive world of sound where Brian Houtman's omnipresent keyboards meld with Simpson's sonorous vocals in a stirring alignment as a variety of elements drop in and out of the mix. It's their OK Computer, an apt description considering Simpson's vaguely Yorke-like voice.

Mogis, who's had the midas touch in the past couple of years with fellow Nebraska bands Bright Eyes, the Faint, and Desaparecidos (Mogis is a member of Lullaby for the Working Class), produced the band's buried-treasure EP, A Lull in Traffic, in early 2000, but that experience was "a different ballgame," says Gomez. "We had those songs pretty much ready to go when we walked through the door."

Only now, after four-plus years together as a band, longer than the entire lifespan of Mineral, are the five members of the Gloria Record -- Simpson, Gomez, Houtman, guitarist Brian Hubbard, and drummer Brian Malone -- comfortable enough to throw themselves into the communal frying pan. Mogis was the project foreman as the band fleshed out, deconstructed, and recombined songs like "I Was Born in Omaha," a straightforward, voice-and-acoustic ballad that expands into a vivid seven-minute tableau, propelled by a solid backbeat, and drenched in the honey-soaked atmospherics that have become the band's calling card.

"I think that's what makes it a more diverse record," says Simpson. "All the songs are built around different instruments."

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Wednesday Showcases
Wednesday Showcases

March 20, 2015

Wednesday Interview
Wednesday Interview
Delta Spirit

Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

More by Michael Chamy
Texas Platters
Palaxy Tracks
Twelve Rooms (Record Review)

Sept. 16, 2005

Texas Platters
Comet
Feathers From the Wing EP (Record Review)

Aug. 12, 2005

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The Gloria Record

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle