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The Gloria Record: epic closers

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 vital."

"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 order."




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


"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 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 permanent line-up.

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 name."

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 behind you.'"

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 live."

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.

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Published in The Omaha Weekly Feb. 28, 2001. Copyright © 2001 Tim 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."