The Gloria Record:
by tim mcmahan
Lazyeye: Feb. 28, 2001
"Track one is vital," said
Jeremy Gomez, bass player for The Gloria Record -- a band whose strange
name will be explained later. Gomez isn't talking about the first track of
the new CD his band was recording at Dead Space Studios in Lincoln last
Saturday. Gomez is talking about "Track Ones" in general and how
they fit in the all-important line-up of a typical CD.
"I actually rarely listen to a whole CD anymore," Gomez says
from the puffy leather couch in the stunning-though-tiny superstar
greenroom set up for visiting bands and (one would assume) record label
dignitaries. "I rarely get past track three."
"A band can drop the ball on track two," said drummer Brian
Malone, who moments earlier had been washing dishes in the wet-bar's tiny
sink. "Track two merely gets you to track three, which is always
"In the last few years, track five has taken on more
importance," says guitarist/vocalist Chris Simpson.
"But it’s always the last track that's saved for the epic
closing number," Gomez says. "Our new CD is basically made up of
10 epic closers. Every time we write a new one we always feel we have to
end our live set with it, so all the others move up one notch in the
It's noon and the band has yet to begin
the day's recording, apparently having just arrived at the studio. Located
on the very edge of downtown Lincoln, just a stone's throw from the Foxy
Lady strip joint on "O" St., Dead Space is housed in a
non-descript white building, unmarked except for an ornate
"Open" sign and the address in the front-door window.
The band sits three-across on the leather couch, while keyboardist Ben
Houtman, sporting a handsome v-cut western shirt and ironic seed cap, sits
on a bar stool next to guitarist Brian Hubbard. Everyone drinks coffee and
looks tired in the wrinkled clothes that they've worn for a few days
straight -- mostly dark-colored hoodies, T-shirts and jeans. Both Gomez
and Simpson wear wool caps, slacker-style.
They made the long trek in their van from their homeland of Austin,
Texas, two weeks ago. Home these days is a house owned by Dead Space
proprietors engineers and Mike and A.J. Mogis -- a house that used to be
their studio before they moved into their new downtown location less than
a year ago. Though its downright tropical in Austin this time of year, the
band decided to weather a Nebraska winter for the chance to record with
the brothers who have garnered a reputation for excellence after producing
most all of Saddle Creek Records' bands -- Cursive, The Faint, Lullaby for
the Working Class and Bright Eyes, a band that Mike Mogis also plays in.
"We've known Mike since back in the day," Simpson said.
"He ran sound for us on one of the earlier Gloria Records. He wrote
us and said the kind of record he could make with this band and it seemed
to make sense."
Last year's A Lull in Traffic
new CD is basically made up of 10 epic closers. Every time we write a new
one we always feel we have to end our live set with it, so all the others
move up one notch in the order."
"I like the word 'Gloria,'
tracing it back to the Van Morrison and U2 songs, the early stuff that got
me into music,"
The Gloria Record was born out of the
remains of what arguably was one of the more influential late-'90s indie
projects, a band called Mineral. It was only a few months after Simpson
and Gomez left that band in late-summer 1997 that the duo formed their new
outfit with Hubbard and original drummer Matt Hammon. Houtman and Malone
(who replaced Hammon) came along a year or two later, rounding out the
The name, incidentally, comes from a reference to the band's first
album, sort of. "I like the word 'Gloria,' tracing it back to the Van
Morrison and U2 songs, the early stuff that got me into music,"
Simpson said. "It's a great word and I knew I wanted it in the band
name somehow. When we were coming up with our first EP, Matt kept
referring to it as 'The Gloria Record.' I thought that was a great
Since forming, The Gloria Record has recorded at least two EPs,
released on Crank! Records. The five-piece has that slow, moody, almost
definable sound that's become exceedingly popular in the past three years
among the Pacific Northwest-based indie rock set -- a solemn acoustic gray
jangle layered with shimmery keyboards and easy-does-it rhythms that lead
the way for Simpson's forlorn vocals that drape color over a bleached,
twilight-colored view. It's a mood more than a sound, and it's
distinctively pop, though you'll never hear them on the radio, at least
not around here.
The snippets I've heard off their last EP, Lull in Traffic, have
only the slightest passing resemblance to Mineral's quieter moments, which
were always few and far between. If anything, The Gloria Record is
trippier, more introspective than Mineral's crash and burn. Still,
Simpson's not sure that there aren't more Mineral fans these days than
Gloria Record followers.
"It's bizarre," he says leaning
forward, elbows on knees. "We feel we have more Mineral fans now then
when we were in that band. Those records sell more now that back then.
When we were on the East Coast last year, I started announcing at the
beginning of shows: 'We appreciate your past support for our past
products, and if that is what you came to hear, there's the door right
Everyone laughs and that's the end of any discussion about Mineral.
Simpson says for this, The Gloria Record's first full-length CD, the
band has created something wholly unique. "The sound between our
first two EPs is somewhat distinct and I think this will be even more of a
jump," Simpson says. "This one is really all over the map. The
stuff on the EPs was written before this lineup was intact. So this is the
first time we all wrote music together, and the result is something
different. Ben will write stuff based on the piano, and there's even some
stuff written on drum-and-bass grooves as well as on acoustic guitar. We
all just sort of write around whatever ideas we come up with."
Though the CD's sound may be coming together, the lyrics have yet to
solidify. "I don't know what I'm writing about," Simpson said.
"I generally write about timeless things. I could write a song about
what's going on with some girl and that would be exciting to sing now, but
in six months I wouldn’t want to sing it any more. This is going to be
much more disjointed and disconnected than our past stuff."
Though they've been recording for two weeks, progress has been slow,
and the band has already booked more studio time in April to finish up,
hopefully. After that, they have to figure out who will release it.
"We're pretty sure it's not going to be Crank!" Gomez said.
And then they have to learn how to play it live.
"Before, we would write as we played live, then record,"
Simpson said. "Now the process is writing songs and making the record
we want to make, then going home and figuring out how to represent it
Perhaps the band will unveil some of their new epic closers at Friday's
show at Sokol Underground (13th and Martha). Playing with The Gloria
Record will be Better Looking Records recording artists The Jealous Sound
(featuring ex-Knapsack singer/guitarist Blair Shehan) and The And/Ors
(ex-Interstate Ten, ex-Jejune, Corrugated), who are currently on the road
touring as part of the Holiday Matinee Tour 2001.
Published in The Omaha Weekly Feb. 28, 2001. Copyright ©
McMahan. All rights reserved.
"We feel we have more
Mineral fans now then when we were in that band. Those records sell more
now that back then."