Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 25 – Au Gres, DeadWax, gimbal.lock

For my latest Fresh New Tracks installment, I’m once again featuring for my readers’ listening enjoyment three great new releases by acts who couldn’t be more different from each other. They are, in alphabetical order, Michigan-based singer-songwriter Au Gres (who I’ve previously featured three times on this blog), British alternative grime rock band DeadWax, and German atmospheric rock band gimbal.lock (with the latter two acts being new to me).

Au Gres – “leaving”

Photo by Bryan Hugo Iglesias

Au Gres is the music project of talented and affable Michigan-based singer-songwriter Joshua Kemp. (He named his act after the small town of Au Gres in rural northern Michigan where he vacationed as a youth with his family, and holds special meaning for him.) Influenced by such acts as Dayglow, COIN and Hippo Campus, he blends elements of indie rock, lo-fi and synth pop to create pleasing songs that he records in his little DIY home studio. I first learned about him in the fall of 2020, when he released his sweet debut single “Nervous”. He followed in February 2021 with the beautiful “At Home in the Dark”, then a year later with “do you think we’re old enough”. I reviewed all three songs, with the one for “Nervous” garnering 1,162 views thus far. In just a year and a half, he’s become quite a successful artist, garnering impressive numbers on many of the streaming platforms; “do you think we’re old enough” has earned more than 365,000 plays on Spotify alone, and “Nervous” over 208,000. He dropped his fourth single “used to be” in November 2022, and on March 29th, he released his fifth and latest single “leaving“.

With its dreamy melody, sparkling synths and exuberant guitars, Dayglow’s influence on “leaving” is strongly evident, and in fact, Au Gres’ vocals even sound like Dayglow front man Sloan Struble here. In an article premiering the song on Atwood Magazine, Au Gres discussed his inspiration behind “leaving”: “I went through a lot of changes this year and I noticed the way I started to feel about myself was changing too. I wasn’t able to identify it at first, but retrospectively, I was putting a lot of my identity in things that actually had very little to do with me. Things like my career or friends or how much money I had saved. I guess the message here is to not define yourself by external, ever-changing things. Instead, figure out who you are at a core level so you’ll be better equipped to deal with change.” It’s a gorgeous song, and just might be my favorite by him yet.

Connect with Au Gres:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

DeadWax – “Northern Behaviour”

I haven’t come across an act that calls their sound ‘alternative grime rock’ before, but after listening to the music of northern English four-piece DeadWax, I think it’s the perfect descriptor. Comprised of frontman Jake Milburn (lead vocals), Solomon Price (bass), Henry Skinner (guitar) and Ben Millington (drums), together they make raw, in-your-face musical mayhem drawn from alternative rock, rap rock, hip hop, funk and hardcore punk, to name but a few of the influences I hear. Their music calls to mind such legendary acts as the Beastie Boys, Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine, though their sound is uniquely their own. They’ve released only a handful of singles, starting with “Heavy Temptation” in 2019, but have gained a reputation for their explosive sound and high-energy live shows.

On March 30th, DeadWax dropped their latest single “Northern Behaviour” a stupendous little blast of dynamite they call “A lil homage to how we grew up together in the North, grafting on building sites n laughing at each other in the pissin rain.” Jake elaborates: “The track is born from our time working as labourers on a derelict building site in Holmfirth. Sol and I worked there for about 2 years, doing anything from putting up scaffolding to moving literally tons and tons of dirt by hand. Doing that job, we always used to say it was ‘character building’ and in fairness, it gave us some serious motivation to get out of it. I wanted to pay homage to where we came from and how we got there, and taking the idea of ‘northern-ness’ and saying, yeah it might be gloomy and rough sometimes, but its fuckin’ great here, and we wouldn’t have changed anything about how and where we grew up together.” Well, I must say the song’s fuckin’ great too, a maelstrom of combustible rhythms, raging riffs and Jake’s furious vocals, fueled by a healthy dose of bravado.

DeadWax have a number of shows scheduled this month, so click on this link for details.

Connect with DeadWax: FacebookTwitterInstagram

gimbal.lock – “Fantasy”

The curiously-named gimbal.lock is a fairly new German atmospheric rock act located near Munich. Comprised of Ralph Bayer (guitar, lead vocals), Tom Geissler (drums) and Zsolt Themes (guitar, backing vocals), all are seasoned musicians who’ve played in various bands for several years. I asked Ralph about their unusual name, and he told me ‘gimbal lock’ is a technical term for the phenomenon that occurs in a three-dimensional rotation system where the rotation axes unexpectedly align, causing the system to lose one degree of freedom. He’s a mechanical engineer working in the field of space robotics, and decided upon the name to reflect their music’s singularly unique and unexpected sound.

On February 24th, they released their debut single “Fantasy“, a beautiful song the band says “is meant to inspire the listener to let their imagination run free and escape reality with all its obstacles for a short time.” The guys recorded, produced and mixed the track themselves, with mastering done by Charles H. Root, III at Electric Owl Works in South Wales, New York. The song opens with soothing sounds of waves gently breaking on a beach, which are soon joined by strummed acoustic guitar notes. The music gradually expands to include a bold bass line, thumping drumbeats and glittery synths as Ralph beckons us to let our minds embrace a sense of euphoria and joy: “Close your eyes and follow me. Use your fantasy and free your mind. Forget your pain and touch the sky.” For me, the musical highlight of the song is its enchanting Middle Eastern flavor, thanks to the use of exotic instruments like the buzuq, a long-necked Arabic fretted lute, and the santoor, a trapezoid-shaped Indian hammered dulcimer. “Fantasy” is a promising debut from gimbal.lock, and I’m eager to hear more music from them!

Connect with gimbal.lock: FacebookTwitterInstagram

15 thoughts on “Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 25 – Au Gres, DeadWax, gimbal.lock

  1. H.G.O

    I can confirm that Au Gres is one of the nicest artists out there. DeadWax is not really my cup of tea, but I could see Beastie Boys fans loving their songs!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.