Tag Archives: Cassette

All GUTS, All Glory: Alachua’s finest femmes, planting their flag in Duval’s urban core.

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Summer Goodman/GUTS/Mouth Mouth/Flat Land

Underbelly–Wednesday, April 1

Courtesy Medusa Productions

Back when I was a college freshman, attending the University of Florida, way back in the Year Of Our Lord 1995 (it wasn’t that long ago, really, but it feels that way sometimes), the best band in Gainesville was called the Crustaceans, but there was nothing crabby about their sound. It was a trio playing guitar, bass and drums; they switched instruments and lead vocal duties repeatedly during their sets, seamlessly. They were a garage band in the true mattresses-on-the walls, un-ironic-clove-cigarette-smoking kind of way.  Their leader was Samantha Jones, already a local legend long before I’d ever palmed my first bottle of Boone’s Farm.

Samantha Jones was the very first girl I ever met with a tattoo on her arm—just ponder that, for a moment—and her energy lit up the room like Magneto running through airport security. From those first bars, at those first bars, her voice installed itself in my permanent Top 5, all-time, anywhere. Her swag was prototypical, and now, with a quarter-century’s experience in upwards of a dozen bands, all of which were good, she is an established leader in the Gainesville community.

Jones married her colleague in Crustaceans, became a mother, massage therapist and yoga teacher, but she still wields a voice more soothing than shiatsu, and she has aged even less over those years than I have. All the while, Jones maintained her presence in the music scene; her band Cassette recorded several nice things for Bakery Outlet Records and played the old Lomax Lodge back in the John Peyton era. The Crustaceans were my introduction to the deep and dense indie-rock scene here in Florida, the first music I bought from people I actually knew, the first of thousands in almost every conceivable medium—but I lost their recordings 12 years ago, and have never been able to replace them, which irks me to no end. (But it’s ok, because I memorized it all.)

But the good news is that my the singer/guitarist for my favorite Gainesville band back then, in 1995, is also the singer/guitarist for my favorite band working that region today—the fabulous female foursome GUTS, whose debut in Duval County debut happens at Underbelly during the First Wednesday ArtWalk, as part of a free show that also includes Flat Land, Mouth Mouth and Summer Goodman, all of which can be counted among the new generation of indie acts rising out of the Sunshine State.

Jones and her colleagues—bassist Kara Smith, guitarist Rebecca Butler and drummer Kentucky Ultraviolet—are touring in support of their debut album “Lucky All Over”, released last December. Their sound is spare, a sensory delight, all shimmering guitars and multi-part harmonies, anchored by one of the signature voices of the modern era. If Jones’ singing sounds like others you’ve heard, bear in mind that she was first—and, if the new stuff is any indication, she will also be the last. It’s happy, refreshing music, rendered in fine detail, translucent and stocky at once, like Rapidograph on vellum. The video for “Sugar”, recorded at Medusa Studios last year, was my introduction to their work. It’s still my favorite track, but songs like “Lucky” and “There’s a Chill” are standouts, as well.

The Duval connection was formalized just recently when Tomboi worked a bill with GUTS at A Space on March 1. Their singer, Alex E. Michael has a resume similar to Jones’, in that pretty much every band she’s in is really good, from Tomboi today to Ritual Union, Wild Life Society and the legendary Fruit Machine. When Jones noted on Facebook that “Tomboi’s gonna be the NEXT BIG THING, mark my words”, that’s about as close to definitive as an endorsement gets in this region.

Such is Alex E’s reputation that Underbelly’s tasked her with running their new gimmick for ArtWalk, where they’re always busy, by default, like most venues around The Elbow tends to be. It starts with open-mic for singers, poets, magicians etc. earlier in the evening, followed by a free keg at 9 and featured band thereabouts, with free admission throughout. The venue, the night and the audience are all ideal for GUTS’ arrival in the River City. The only April Fools are those who miss this show.

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New Lady Daisey album: “In My Pocket”

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I first met Lady Daisey at an open-mic in 1997. She was singing solo then, with acoustic guitar, and her voice struck me immediately as special. There was a parallel with Samantha Jones, whom I’d first heard as a freshman at UF in 1995. They worked in roughly the same range, more or less, with voices like hand-made bells, or really clean brass. Jones has a depth of serious blues in her–Joplin-esque, but that’s maybe too easy. Her vocals have always leaned toward the meditative, inward-looking and almost content. Daisey’s are the same, but in a slightly higher pitch.

It makes perfect sense, then, that Daisey’s voice would be the first to make an impact after I’d left that setting. Jones was then one-third of The Crustaceans, an exquisitely democratic unit who made an album’s worth of stellar stuff before splitting, while also playing in Vanbuilderass, in addition to a whole bunch of other groups I personally never got to see. She is now the leader of Cassette, wherein her voice borders on somnolescent amidst a comfy calming cushion of twang and tremolo. (Their self-titled debut was released in 2005 , on Bakery Outlet Records; their second, Shining Like A New Dime, was released last year.)

I wondered what Daisey’s voice would become, and now we know. She met and married Britt Traynham, aka Batsauce, whose work is probably an elemental force for anyone who’s actually reading this now. The instrumental albums he’s released on his own in the last few years (Spy Vs. Spy,) are basically perfect. As a producer, he’s shown a gift for bringing the most out of vocalists. His collaborations with Patrick Evan (Aerial Tribe, Spooney) helped cement the singer’s rep as an undisputed master, while also serving as the first explicit example of what Batsauce could do.

Daisey and Batsauce, together, have worked as Heavenly Noise since the early Bush years. Not long after, they began collaborating with Paten Locke, who almost needs no introduction but gets one anyway. As a member of the ABs crew (aka Alias Brothers, aka Asamov–I’ll never let Isaac Asimov’s estate slide on that aberrant bullshit), which worked like Voltron throughout the past decade, Locke helped carve a niche in hip-hop that runs deeper than the grooves in Abdullah the Butcher’s forehead. His official solo debut, Super Ramen Rocketship, was released by Tres Records last year, with the follow-up coming soon.

As The Smile Rays, the three of them have got industry ears ringing with the sound of steady sales. They’ve worked all over the US and Europe over the last three years, with the constituent elements covering even more ground. It’s a lot like the Black Kids, another regional act whose intelligence tireless hustle (not to mention expert delegation of responsibility) helped them transcend the usual geographic typecasting and establish themselves as viable talents in the global music market.

And now it’s Lady Daisey’s turn at bat, with a new album en route and a return to her native Florida in the works. Here (slightly edited) follows the press release for In My Pocket, due out May 24 on BBE Records. The lead single, “Magical”, is due out May 7; the five-song EP includes remixes by bandmates Batsauce (who produced the whole album) and Paten Locke, as well as DJ Vadim and De La Soul associate Supa Dave West.

As much as Lady Daisey travels the globe, she’s learned to keep life simple and travel light. The most important things are weightless – love, life, music, inspiration, peace – all of which she keeps in her pocket. Sharing her unique vision with an even more unique voice, Lady Daisey’s solo debut is filled with a sense of adventure, passionately singing about her experience as a woman, a traveler, a survivor, a dreamer, an optimist… all over hip-hop infused soul music.

After meeting the love of her life on stage (Batsauce – husband/producer) it seemed only natural to pack their bags and hit the road. With a studio small enough to fit in a backpack, they have written and recorded this album, all while bouncing around the States, Europe and Asia.

Both Lady Daisey and Batsauce are also part of the Smile Rays (Rawkus/6-Hole/Jakarta/Subcontact) along with Paten Locke (aka Therapy) After recording a track with George Clinton and being selected as Rawkus 50 artists, they quickly won the hearts of the indie hip hop scene. This raised the bar and now it’s time for Lady Daisey to share her songs with the world. She does just that with her debut solo album “In My Pocket”