Artist Spotlight: The Gantry

On Years and Years (2012), the Queens-based Gantry mixes together elements of country, indie rock, and garage rock. The LP is smart and personal, showcasing the band’s ability to breathe personality into timeless narratives about loving and losing, redemption and familial dysfunction. The album progresses like a thoughtful and self-aware journal does. Years and Years, moreover, marks the Gantry’s first time in the studio.

Nowadays, the Gantry—which features lead vocalist and guitarist Kevin Goldhahn, guitarist and vocalist Jeff Kay, percussionist Adam Knobloch, and bassist Tim Cornish—are revising the formula on Years and Years. The band is working on a new LP, with a tentative release date in the fall of this year. They are protective of the work, as it imbues the band’s sound with “darker” tones and lyrics. I caught up with Goldhahn, Kay, and Knobloch at Snowdonia, a bar in the Astoria section of the Queens. We discussed divergent music tastes and what it’s like to strike balance between music and other virtually every other piece of life.

The Gantry began about three years ago, when Goldhahn was performing at open mic nights across New York City. Kay met Goldhahn while bartending; before long, Goldhahn was performing at Kay’s bar. “From there, we just started jamming and it slowly evolved from…an acoustic thing, to a full band thing,” Goldhahn said over beers.

Before long, Years and Years was born. The record never has a dull moment, seamlessly bouncing from energetic indie rock (“Henry”) to meditative folk rock (“Trouble”). Years and Years also features “Click,” a country-laced rock tune that also serves as the band’s first music video. The images throughout the video underscore the connection between the band members: the four ride the N train; travel to Asbury Park in New Jersey; perform in a garage and at the Stone Pony. The band’s other video release is an acoustic rendition of “Six Pack,” the track that opens Years and Years. This stripped version reminds the listener of the band’s ability to construct pretty and evocative vocal harmonies. Years and Years sustains its hold on the listener from start to finish. It’s a narrative filled with so many different lyrical and aural layers. Peeling those layers is at once entertaining and fulfilling.

The Gantry will continue to take Years and Years to stage this summer, with upcoming performances at Shillelagh Tavern (May 30), Tammany Hall (June 27), and LIC Bar (June 29). This August, the band will perform at Campfire Outdoor Adventure and Music Festival in Lakewood, Pennsylvania. The festival’s lineup features a diverse group of artists, including blues and soul outfit Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries, the California-bred alternative rockers Delta Spirit, and the Brooklyn-based folk stompers Swear and Shake.

Yet, the Gantry’s original roots are in Queens. “Most of the bands in Astoria practice in this tiny place underneath this deli,” Kay said. The Green Gallows, the Idiot Brigade, Reserved for Rondee, the Regulars, and Beecher’s Fault share that Astoria space and form a large part of the Queens music scene. The band, which has gone on extensive tours and performed at South by Southwest, will continue to foster an Astoria following—using their upcoming performances and LP as to cultivate that process.

Article by Pam Segura


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