Review of Glim Dropper’s “The Last Days of Analog”
By L. White
When first told the name of the band I would be reviewing, I laughed out loud at the cleverness in it. Of course, being surrounded by the young, my laughter was lost as they had no clue what was so funny. From that moment I was intrigued to hear what Glim Dropper had to offer the music world. Much to my delight again, I was handed, not just a CD from the band, but a seven inch vinyl record. Being a retro enthusiast, I was already building up the intrigue of Glim Dropper in my thoughts. Hoping that I wasn’t placing too much pressure on the music to continue delivering more delights. Finally delving into the music, after listening to the first two tracks, I was not disappointed in the least. “Blue Mass” being an instrumental introduction to the body of work by the band. It was quite pleasing music, with a folk/rock vibe and vintage radio voice background explaining music quality and fundamentals of recording. Which, after listening to the entire CD, I found to be quite fitting as an intro to Glim Dropper’s sound and style. On the title track, “The Last Days of Analog”, I was again pleased and impressed with the retro aspect of the music and vocals. Singer/Bassist Dan Kauffman brought to mind a young Ray Davies with his smooth alternative folk/rock sound. The accompanying music was equally pleasing, being bass driven at times, by Kauffman. Then led by the retro quick turning licks of Ben Geise’s axe at others. All tied together with the beat of Rob Schnell’s skins. On several of the tracks on this CD, I was impressed with the vocal styles slight changes. Sounding like Davies at times, Sting at others, and even hints of Daryl Hall. Of course, even with the comparison, Glim Dropper retains their own unique style on every track. Offering a retro contemporary style that is truly all their own. Bringing retro rock, funk, blues and even pop to the table. Blended so brilliantly to create a genre I cannot classify in general terms. This is both in lyrically speaking, as well as musically.I thoroughly enjoyed “Last Days of Analog” as the bands musical offering to the world. I was equally impressed to find out after looking into the band, that they had recorded this whole CD in analog format as well. Keeping with that retro aspect that had me liking Glim Dropper from the very beginning. On the sixth track, “Williamsport”, I was pleasantly surprised to hear something completely different from the band, as guitarist Ben Geise takes the microphone for vocals. All three band members sing on this CD, with Kauffman handling the bulk of the singing on most of the CD. With “Williamsport” I was pleased with Greise’s vocal range as much as Kauffman’s. Just adding another element to Glim Dropper’s diverseness and my inability to nail them down to one genre. The same could be said with “Mind Over Matter” as it lends a jazzy soft rock feel to it. This entire CD is comprised of songs that offer much to the music world, bringing back some styles that surely never die. With some new styles that not many bands can pull off as well as I feel Glim Dropper has with this CD. It left me wanting to hear more, and wanting to see them perform these tracks live. I very much recommend “The Last Days of Analog” to all who appreciate the roots of music, as well as to people open to new retro sounds. That may sound like an oxymoron, but trust me, it is what would best explain the sound of Glim Dropper. As for those of you who are still wondering what made me laugh at the cleverness of the name of this band, look it up and have a chuckle. Glim Dropper, the band, is far from being a scam, and is definitely on the music map. I look forward to what comes next.
Visit Glim Dropper on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/glimdropper
Glim Dropper – The best band you’ve never heard of
by S.B. Hider
I recently saw the best band you’ve probably never heard of.
It’s a Wednesday night at The Grape Room in Manayunk, Philadelphia. The Grape Room is a great venue for adventuresome listeners and lovers of original music, and Wednesday night seems to be the night when they try out bands for later weekend shows. You never know what you are going to see there — everything from acoustic to rock to hard core to electronica to Christian to country to pop. They love music at The Grape Room, but they don’t make much effort to line up the acts in any way that makes sense, which is really a good thing — it is always a surprise, especially in the middle of the week. You can get a reasonably priced beverage, and bring food in from any of the Manayunk take-outs — it is casual and easy. And you pretty much can count of a good show for a midweek $5 cover.
The band I am writing about here is a rock band called Glim Dropper, consisting of Rob Schnell (percussion), Dan Kauffman (bass/vocals) and Ben Geise (guitar — he was introduced as “Ben Goose” throughout the show). Glim Dropper is not a group of college room-mates — they look older, easily confident, un-hipster-y. From the second they started playing they were in absolute control of the performance, each musician individually doing his job with finesse and expertise. This band is so well rehearsed and tight it is almost as if you are hearing a well mixed recording. All of the essentials were there — a collection of strongly written, various tunes, a driving but sensitive rhythm section, amazing guitar playing and unexpectedly sweet vocals that created vulnerable moments, but that were nonetheless grounded and tough. Kauffman sings and enthusiastically plays bass — one of those rare bass players who played music, not just scales, and with a real groove, stops, slow build ups, and punctuated dynamics in an energetic performance. Geise is an accomplished guitar player, although he stayed resolutely and withholdingly in the shadows and seemed to be deliberately playing straight man to Kauffman’s exuberance. Rather than simply following a loud-equals-important aesthetic, the band built their enigmatic songs from the ground up and allowed the sound to be fluid and textural. It was original music that was bright and new, yet because of the structures and precision, familiar.
The most appealing part of the show were Kauffman’s wide ranging tenor vocals and the variety in the songs they presented, but the power of the show came from the virtuostic playing. The guitar work by Geise was mesmerizing — unusually, he stands rooted to one spot, but his hands and focused concentration establish him as a man at work building atmospheres, varying his jagged unpredictable jazz inspired lines, and improvising to the obvious delight of Kauffman. He was so deep into his work he might as well have been alone. The guitar solo on their original tune “Last Days of Analog” started in compact bursts and delicately unfurled, gaining gravitas by exploding within a more structured and careful plan, rather than being just another build-to-crescendo moment. This was the work of an artisan — the comparison I considered was to a demolition expert who has the skill and exactitude to blow up and bring down a building without so much as breaking a window in a neighboring structure. There is a cerebral quality in the band’s performance, but every bit of cleverness was entirely in the service of maximizing the gut-level emotional response of the song. These are not simply songs by a top-notch rock trio playing in a room; this art was built to hit precise intellectual and emotional marks with an impressive balance of off-the-cuff improvisation and rigid discipline and precision. The music was written to be enjoyed by anyone but played to be appreciated by musicians (and it was — the other bands were watching in open-mouthed wonder).
The name Glim Dropper refers to an old fashioned and complicated con that relies on the greediness of the victim to work — briefly, two con men are required, one of whom pretends to lose his glass eye in a public establishment and offers a reward, which the second con man claims from the victim upon “finding” the lost eye….well, like I said, its complicated, and Wikipedia describes it better. Before I looked it up, the unusually creative name made me think light and vision as well. Oddly, there is little information available about the group on the Internet. The band’s website appears to be unfinished *and* out of date. The band just didn’t talk a lot about themselves, and didn’t seem to have a cd for sale at the show (which is why I tried to find it on the internet, but could not find). I could have sworn that Kauffman said they had been together for 3 years, but maybe they are new?
There are many bands that get lots of publicity, and when you see them you know which song is their centerpiece (they play it near the end), and other than one or maybe two good creative original songs everything pretty much sounds the same. Glim Dropper was decidedly different; they were vibrant and varied — they rocked hard, they played some funk, they threw in an instrumental, they messed with loops and lots of pedals, and they finished up with a sweet song tailor made for pop radio. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I don’t know all about this band. I can say it was one of the the best sets of live original music I have seen all year. And I saw it accidentally, at 10 o’clock on a Wednesday night, for crying out loud. I can’t wait to find them again.
According to their Facebook page, Glim Dropper is having a record release show on January 14, 2012, at Puck Live.