So who’s Grey Gordon? Well, he’s this cat who’s covered in tattoos and wears browline glasses. He’s vegan, straight-edge, digs fashion, and he seems like he’s generally a pretty bright fella. He also happens to play guitar in the band Wickerwolves while also making music under his own name. What’s that name again? Yes, it’s Grey Gordon. Now most of the information I know about the guy doesn’t really mean a whole lot, as it doesn’t really justify liking his music. Sure, the guy’s straight-edge. And yeah, he doesn’t eat meat or meat products. And he digs nice threads and sneakers. And though he comes across like a well-rounded, well-read individual, that doesn’t necessarily mean he makes great music. Fortunately for us, Gordon can add great songwriter to his many hats he wears, as his full-length debut, Forget I Brought It Up, proves tenfold.
I can’t stand the term “emo,” and after reading a few articles about Gordon and his new record, I’ve heard “emo” and “emo-revival” and “he sounds like Emo Phillips” more times than I’d like to count. Frankly, I think dumping Gordon and his music into a category like that is pure laziness. Forget I Brought It Up is a classic indie rock record that oozes 80s SST and Sub Pop.
“Barstools and Haircuts” is a crunchy riff and big drums that would make Bob Mould proud, while “Learned Helplessness” has the self-righteousness worthy of a Sebadoh B-side spot. But unlike Lou Barlow, Gordon’s not getting in the fetal position here. He holds a punk rock stance and tightened fists as he sings, “stop feeling sorry for yourself.” This isn’t a guy cowering in his own self-loathing; he’s defiant in his own self-awareness. “Indianapolis 2008” is a coming-of-age song about a doomed trip down I-69 that would have sounded right at home on Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary. “On the Subject of Serotonin” sounds like Bug-era Dinosaur Jr. “Like Atlas” is a great hardcore track with some great pop undertones.
The album itself sounds big and bright, with every guitar popping and crackling out of the speakers. Produced by Benjamin Barnett (of Kind of Like Spitting) and Pierre Ferguson in Sumner, Washington, last spring, Gordon sounds as good as he’s ever sounded. Last year’s great and mostly acoustic Still At Home Here was just a preview of what Gordon had up his sleeve.
Forget I Brought It Up is a big rock n’ roll record. Forget emo. Forget hardstyle. Forget fashion. Just pick up this album. You’ll be glad you did. (John Hubner)
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