Taking a historical tour through rock ‘n’ roll from Les Paul and Elvis Presley to more recent bands like Animal Collective or Mumford & Sons, I found comfort that Glish chose to target the ‘90s sound for their project. Description for my Generation X-like alternative rock has turned into shoegaze and such for the millenials, a tag they got from the inspiration of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Yo La Tengo. Their music is a trance that leaves you fl oating, only to be grounded by something familiar: vocals. A dreamland of delayed distortion applied to chord phrasing comes out of combo-amps backed up by a 30-inch kick drum on both Blast Off and Come Down. These EPs are a testament of anger, wonder, and love all supported by the best thing to be introduced to rock ‘n’ roll: ‘90s drums!
Glish is a fi ve-piece band of early 20-somethings led by vocalist Meagan Lanier out of Metairie, vocalist/guitarist Byron Chance from Fairhope, AL, bassist Dexter Gilmore from D.C., Andrew Landry on guitar, and Evan Cvitamovic from the West Bank on drums. They are defi nitely not a college band, and were somewhat embarrassed when I mentioned knowing of their previous enrollment at Loyola. But that is where these characters met, and they all had the same thing in mind: starting a band.
Upon fi rst hearing it, it’s hard to know what to make of the name Glish. Some musicians create a list of adjectives and nouns in a notebook, borrowing from literature or politics, and sometimes from fi lms. The story of how they chose their band name was fun; drummer Evan explains, “We were watching a movie, a Japanese movie, and this guy was ordering food and he throws out a little English, you know, as people would throw out French or something, like they’re cultured. I was like ‘Oh he’s gonna throw out a little Glish…Hmm, English, Glish,’ and we just took that and ran with it.”
In terms of musicianship and direction, the group has a repertoire of anything from radio rock to obscure electronic. Each member has different infl uences, and in spite of similar interests, there are differences that help give them a rounded-out sound. Progressive rock and electronic are staples for the group, and of course, alternative. I wanted to know where Glish is coming from as far as what bands and genres infl uence their sound, and Evan, Dexter and Meagan shed light: “We all like a lot of old progressive rock, like Can and Yes, a lot of different bands.”
“I listen to a lot of Witch House. It’s a lot of high hats out the yin-yang and it’s deep, dark house music. It’s two cultures colliding, so there’s innuendo, like there’s a song called ‘Ghetto Ass Witch,’ so it’s a lot of fun,” laughs Meagan. “I also like Cold Wave electronic music.” Meagan’s infl uences came about with the help of her dad: “My dad introduced me to females involved with music, like Blondie, the Cranberries, the Cardigans, Garbage, Veruca Salt, and Belly, just to name a few.”
Having parents that were products of the ‘80s and ‘90s music culture has lent some pretty good ideas to these youngsters’ ears and it shows in the songs they write. Listening to their set, they give the impression that they could play any type of music; hearing them riff around in between takes, it struck me that they could play metal or be a mainstay at a jazz club. But instead of getting together and riffi ng on top of each other’s selfi sh daydreams, they take a cue from jazz, leaving room for one another’s ideas. They are a conscientious group, and consider what sounds good and makes sense for the song they’re working on. The music sounds pretty developed, considering how new of a group Glish is. Byron mentions one of my favorite genres: “I think for musicality, jazz is important.” Dexter adds, “It developed a lot in the fi rst year of us being together.” Glish defi nitely had an idea to go with from the beginning: as Andrew explains, “We were trying to go for the shoegaze thing from the start.” Evan notes, “It helps you develop it and understand each other better. For me, this is my simplest band that I drum for. It’s all highlighted; if Byron may take a solo, the rest of us will leave room for him, and so on.”
Glish does have guitar, bass and even some vocal soloing aside from the vocal melodies Meagan and Byron use for verses and choruses. True talent doesn’t happen by chance or luck, but by inheritance, guidance and hard work, and each member of Glish brings their own style and ability to the practice space. Their sound is a refl ection of this combination. Some of the members had played together before forming the band, meeting at shows and school, and with Glish, they’re showing what they have to offer the project. As far as meeting in more of a formal setting, Andrew and Evan have a history with NOCCA. “I’ve been playing with Evan since high school, and we played together at NOCCA. My primary instrument is bass, jazz bass, but for this band I hide behind the guitar,” says Andrew. Dexter explains his introduction to musicianship—“My dad played music, and guitar and piano are his instruments. He never taught me, and didn’t want me to touch his instruments, but he got in a bad car accident and it took him a year to recover, so during that time I started playing around with his guitars since he couldn’t tell me no. I did take a classical guitar class in high school that was the most painful shit in my musical life. I don’t really read music, though.”
Guitarist Byron has more of a self-taught approach. “I don’t have much formal training on the guitar. I did study jazz saxophone for a while, which helped me understand what sounds good and what doesn’t. But as far as guitar, I just started playing.” Meagan, like Dexter, also had some help from her dad. “My love for vocals grew when I started singing for the school choir in fi rst grade, which I continued until I was 19. Throughout those years, my father was always writing music and encouraged me to help him. I performed a few times at the Neutral Ground with my cousins’ folk band, which was a good introduction to performing something other than in a choral setting,” she says.
Formal training or not, Glish’s focus on a ‘90s sound made it easier to develop solid songs quickly, and at this point, they will continue to grow as a band. They are currently working on new material for a full-length record they plan to put out later this year, and are also hoping to start touring. They play often, and you can fi nd their show dates on Bandcamp and Facebook alike. If Glish is new for you, and you love good, original rock ‘n’ roll that will make you sway your head slowly to downbeats and big drums, than check out a show. I’m throwing out a little Glish and you’d better pick up on it.