Gladie’s Third Release This Year is Another Fantastic EP

Gladie’s Third Release This Year is Another Fantastic EP

Gladie’s third release of this year is a three track EP that packs an energetic, heartfelt punch in its brief duration.

Last year, when I heard that Cayetana were calling it quits, I was pretty bummed. I loved their stripped down, punky but indie sound and Augusta Koch’s hard hitting lyrics. That means I was pretty excited when I heard Koch was continuing to make music with a new band, called Gladie. They released their debut album, Safe Sins, in February 2020, with Koch, Matt Schimelfenig, Pat Conaboy, and Ian Farmer. That’s a pretty good turnaround time, but then on top of that Gladie released the EP Orange Peels in July. And now they’ve gone and made another EP, Thank You Card

This release is performed by only Koch and Schimelfenig, but the duo packs a punch. In just three songs they capture so much of what I love about the band. They still cut loose with stripped down, indie rock, but they take it easier without losing any of the intensity and freely experiment with new sounds. It makes one feel spoiled to enjoy three releases from a band in one year, but Gladie hasn’t disappointed yet.

Chunky, palm muted chords open the first track, “Thank You Card,” before the drums come in and the chords rumble open with distortion. Koch’s voice is as expressive and honest as ever. The simple instrumentation has a great sound somewhere in between pop punk and indie rock, driving forwards and creating plenty of noise from just guitars and drums. Koch has such a talent for writing emotionally charged lyrics. She tackles serious stuff, yet crafts a song around it that’s always fun and catchy. It’s got a great energy, and the closer you listen, the more powerful the song is. Koch sings about betrayal. The song is about someone who claims they’re a good friend, while their private actions reveal a different person: 

You do the right thing

If someone’s watching

A different story when you close the door

And it’s clear now that you’re murky

And I can’t fake it like you anymore

It’s such a denunciatory, unapologetic song, and the final lines sums up Koch’s feelings well: “You want a pat on the back? / Well I’m not going to give you one.” The lyrics cut deep, and it’s easy to get lost in the energy of the instruments. It strikes you on both of those levels, and shows just how talented a songwriter Koch is.

“Sorry When I’m Not,” the next track, begins right off the bat with a different sound. Synthy beats and bare electric guitar strumming take the song down a different road. It’s  easygoing, marked by playful guitar noodling with steady percussion. The song is in no rush, and Koch sings more casually but never lacks that emotional honesty that she does best. The two guitars intertwine and play off of each other. One is clear with a hint of reverb, sounding almost surf rocky or even like a country electric guitar. The other is soupier, more effects drenched, fading out when Koch’s voice comes in. The dual vocals during the chorus from Koch and Schimelfenig gives a great almost singalong feel: “I like driving on roads where the trees meet / I like singing your songs when we don’t speak.” There’s a bridge with both guitars returning, and another vocalist singing in the background. That’s Candice Martello of the band Hemming. After a moment of feedbacking discord, she joins the other two on the second chorus that repeats until the end of the track, and all three voices come together for a real social feel. It feels like we’re all in it together, doing our best, making our way. It’s a pretty low key song, but it’s a delightful ride all the way, showing how easy it is for Gladie to blend and move freely between genres. 

The final track on this short but fantastic EP is a cover of the Weakerthans’ song “Plea from a Cat Named Virtue” off their 2003 album Reconstruction Site. Gladie doesn’t go for the full rock feel of the original song, instead taking a slow but steady approach. Electric organ chords ring with a faint beat underneath. Koch’s voice, clear and mostly spoken, comes next. Each layer adds just a little, until Schimelfenig’s deeper voice, strummed acoustic guitar and drums all roll in. The easy going beat allows the lyrics to shine through. Koch’s voice suits John K. Samson’s lyrics well, capturing the wry but honest feel of the story of a cat that’s worried about their depressed owner. The instrumentation stays mostly consistent, with a low electric guitar riff floating in the background every so often. We return to just Koch and the organ for some of my personal favorite lyrics:

All you ever want to do is drink and watch TV

And frankly that thing doesn’t really interest me

I swear I’m going to bite you hard

And taste your tinny blood

If you don’t stop the self-defeating lies

You’ve been repeating since the day you brought me home

I know you’re strong

The guitars and drums return and there’s a brief synth solo that brings the EP to a close. It’s always such a pleasant surprise when an artist you really enjoy covers another artist you really enjoy. And with the EP releasing in this time of extreme uncertainty, the reassuring story the song tells is just what some of us need to hear right now. 

Gladie has had a big year for a fairly new group, and their album and two EPs show how confident the band is. They enjoy cutting loose in that half pop-punk half indie rock sound, but they easily play quieter and more thoughtful songs, and happily add more electric sounds. It’s tough when a band you really like calls it quits after too brief a time, but luckily Augusta Koch isn’t one to stay quiet for too long. And with the pace they’re at currently, who knows when the next Gladie release will be. It might be sooner than you expect.

 

Top Photo by Jessica Flynn

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