Gig Seeker Pro


Portland, ME | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Portland, ME | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band R&B Pop




"15 Great Albums You Didn't Hear in 2015"

There's no voice quite like Dave Gutter's, a weathered coffee-and-cigarettes growl that can turn vulnerable to vicious and crackles like a vintage Fender amp when he screams. That voice is the result of the thousands of shows over the last 20 years fronting Rustic Overtones, the funky, psychedelic Maine rock institution that, to a certain crowd, are as synonymous with the state as Moxie soda and going "upta camp." Gutter pays the bills as a songwriter; he's had tracks on recent albums by Aaron Neville, Tedeschi Trucks Band and in the Netflix show Narcos. His latest project, Armies, started as one of those gigs when he was hired to write a series of duets that were to be used in commercials and films. The project fell apart, so Gutter took his poppiest songs ever into darker directions. He teamed up with friend Anna Lombard, whose understated, ethereal vocals defined records by folk group Gypsy Tailwind. With Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's duets in mind, their voices blend perfectly on an excellent set about characters that are sad, vengeful, seedy, sneaky and jealous. -Patrick Doyle

Read more:
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook - Rolling Stone

"Armies (CD/DIG)"

Duets! From the mainstream singalongs of Captain and Tennille to the hipster shoegazing of She and Him, your mileage with an entire album of duets will vary based, of course, on the voices of the singers themselves. Armies (and their self-titled album) is a project of duets created by Dave Gutter (Paranoid Social Club, Rustic Overtones) and Portland singer/songwriter Anna Lombard, whose voices melt into and bounce off of each other at all the right times; Lombard’s straightforward, bluesy, classically trained vocals are a nice foil to Gutter’s crackled, slightly disheveled, too-many-cigarettes-out-on-the-road thing — a dynamic that pays dividends in this environment.

Armies was explicitly created for licensing in film and television, and it’s not often that an artist leads with “commercial viability” as the inspiration for a new album. But it’s kind of … refreshing? Almost every artist secretly wants to “sell out,” and when you have the mainstream luster and so-close-I-can-taste-it track record of Gutter, at a certain point it just makes sense to say, “fuck it, let’s just make a bunch of songs that will sell, for once.” The pair even musically resembles the classic Hollywood trope: rough-and-tumble but ultimately loveable guy meets dream girl. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Gutter and Lombard prove themselves to be highly skilled directors here. Every song on this album feels like a familiar and distinct scene, from the gritty, drunken trailer park fight of “At Home” and the late-night film noir of “Chemistry” to the classic rock of “Trust the Universe,” the song you put in your show when the Led Zeppelin tune costs too much. None of this is to say that this is an album that, without the presence of Hollywood, lacks musical value. But it all feels sneakily too perfect, too shiny (the production on Armies, by the way, is simply stellar — crisp, bright, and warm), and a bit unrelatable. The red-hot starlet might be more sympathetic if she sprouted a zit from time to time, and Armies might be a more engaging album with a few lovable flaws.

-Victoria Karol - Dispatch Magazine


From the first harmonious vocal lines of “Death,” the opening of Armies, one can instantly recognize the presence of a long-overdue collaboration between Rustic Overtones’ Dave Gutter and vocalist Anna Lombard. From her stints with Gypsy Tailwind and Anna and the Diggs, Lombard brings her Americana, alt-country and roots background to new levels of musical exploration.

Lombard’s vocal efforts are matched with precision by a relatively soft, smoother side of Gutter’s unique, recognizable voice. A bit of a stray from what one might expect from a Rustic-related record. (At least for the first two tracks). Ultimately the combination of Gutter and Lombard boasts a common ground that was yet to be discovered prior to this effort.

The opening track hints at a psychedelic theme driven by a marching drum beat. While the optimistic major key of the composition may appear as a front for the even more pessimistic lyrics, one may find the message rather liberating, for “if you put that in perspective, these are teensy things; lest we not forget there is death.”

From “Death” we immediately transition into the disco-esque “Nite Light” with Lombard and Gutter’s intertwining harmonies continuing to softly encourage the listener to take the journey with them. With a distorted synth-like bass line and subtle jazz guitar chord comping, this tune is a rendezvous for modern alternative and ’70s dance.

By the time we reach the third track, “Soldier,” a strong percussive theme is detected as the percussion work on each track is brilliantly in contrast to the melodic harmonies of Gutter and Lombard. The slight darkness that Gutter and Lombard allude to in “Soldier” and “Death” is abandoned as “Trust the Universe” reminds us to do just that. With a return to the slight psychedelic theme, the listener is picked back up with this straight-ahead carefree number.

“At Home” is Armies’ first taste of solid blues rock as Gutter breaks through with the conviction that Rustic fans have loved for so many years. Lombard delivers a soulful Susan Tedeschi-inspired performance, as for the first time on the record the vocal lines are delivered in a brilliant call-and-response format rather than in harmony. This provides each vocalist with an opportunity to dig in and stretch out, suggesting that the previous tracks are a warm-up for the performers as well as listeners. “At Home” also presents an “awesome” (see what I did there) guest appearance of Portland’s own Spose, who presents a freestyle vamp to close the track out, once again displaying the range of styles the record expresses.

The title track “Armies” returns us to what at this point appears to be a theme of the record, relating back to “Soldier” and “Death.” A solid saloon-style piano drives the tune along with a small horn section hinting for attention. “Strangers” presents a culmination of the vocal techniques by combining the strong lyric writing of Gutter with both the call-and-response theme and harmonies of Lombard.

The following two tracks act as a call-and-response pair in themselves. With another guest appearance, this time by Soufboi, “Chemistry” returns to the dark, melodramatic tone reminding a whiskey and shotgun shell don’t go together well. Follow that with “Rivals,” a groovy major key number that strikes home the point of not worrying about anything because “we all lose in the end.” (It sounds melancholy but actually reiterates the old adage “love thy neighbor”).

“All the Way Love” is a return to the minor-blues rock feel with a solid two-beat feel complemented with a sharp guitar riff. Vocally, the passionate lead of Lombard is a distorted microphone away from a recognizable Black Keys tune. In keeping with the art of combining styles, “Matador” perfectly blends a hip-hop beat with a solid major-minor turnaround chorus.

Finalizing the record is “Let It Burn” — quite possibly the most passionate composition of Armies. This ballad highlights the culmination of the male/female contributions. A beautiful set of melodies advising each other to abandon all fears of risk is composed over a tension-building chord progression. The collaboration of Gutter and Lombard is not short of what any fan’s expectations would be. The two incredibly talented vocalists blend together perfectly with aesthetic while innovative songwriting from Gutter. The production of the record is spot on without a hint of complacency. Armies is truly the beginning what is hopefully a continued collaboration.

-Tom Faunce - The Portland Phoenix

"Culture Shock: Armies (Dave Gutter and Anna Lombard)"

On “Armies,” the album by the Portland duo of the same name, the vocals are as closely intertwined as tree roots. At times, they are hard to parse apart. They weave around each other, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in unity. Those voices are the centerpiece, of course, of what may be a one-off album between two distinctive voices in Maine music: Dave Gutter and Anna Lombard.

Armies began as a commercial project of Gutter’s — known throughout New England as the frontman for Rustic Overtones — that was destined to be backing music for film and TV, featuring male and female folk vocals. Eventually, however, it became clear that the songs he was writing were taking on a life of their own, and that’s when Lombard (Gypsy Tailwind and solo projects) came into the picture.

Though duo and group vocals continue to be the hot thing right now, they tend to be placed in either a cutesy folk setting or in a shout-along pop setting — not in the throwback, soulful alt-rock Gutter and Lombard trade in on “Armies,” and certainly not with the melodic deftness on display here. Both Gutter and Lombard know their voices and trust their voices, and clearly feel comfortable going the extra expressive mile. They compliment each other very well, and they know it, which gives them carte blanche to go in whatever direction they want.

There’s a stylistic freedom throughout the album’s twelve tracks — from the fun, funereal oom-pah of the title track, to the 1967-by-way-of-1996 swirling sitar of “Trust In the Universe,” to a guest verse from rapper Spose on “At Home” (man, that guy gets around). The thudding percussive samples of “Chemistry” swing with stylish purpose, while “Strangers” holds back and lets the song burn out slowly. As with Gutter’s main band, Rustic Overtones, soul, rock and pop all play nicely with one another, as on the passionate “All the Way Love,” though with Armies, hip hop and electronic elements find their way in as well, like on the skittering beats of “Matador.”

Conceptually, “Armies” is almost entirely about love, in all its complicated, difficult beauty. Often, the love discussed in the lyrics on “Armies” is more about the grappling with, less about the enjoyment of, love — the loss of it, the having of it despite being lied to or cheated on, the often destruction nature of it. It makes for a far more entertaining listen, because it’s messy. It’s not easy. It’s hard. Give me one album that doesn’t pull any emotional punches over five albums that hide behind artifice and cool.

-Emily Burnham, BDN - Culture Shock - Bangor Daily News

"PREMIERE: Armies – “The Shrink” (Live at Rustic Studios)"

Armies is a pop/rock duet and band hailing from Portland, Maine, led by songwriter, producer, guitarist and vocalist Dave Gutter and vocalist/songwriter Anna Lombard. Armies’ debut album was ranked as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Top 15 Great Albums You Didn’t Hear in 2015” last December, just three months following it’s release. Fusing pop, rock, blues, and electronic music with intricate and spell-binding male/female duet vocals, Armies’ live show is a high energy mix of club beats, poignant songwriting with nuances of the blues. Today we’re excited to premiere their new live video for “The Shrink.” The black and white footage adds a great “vintage” feel to the performance, and the individual instruments really shine. It’s a fun watch and a fun listen!

In their own words:

“The Shrink musically, is a tense blues, hip hop track that is based on circular bass patterns and breakbeat style drums. The lyrics focus on the dynamics of a psychiatrist and patient in session discussing isolation and apathy. We shot and recorded this video live in the studio where we recorded Armies II.” -


1. Born Again 
2. The Shrink
3. Social Life
4. Ordinary Places
5. Nothin' to Play With
6. Young Criminals
7. 3001: The Secret Death of Plants
8. Deeper
9. Heavy
10. Foolproof Love
11. Ears Won't Stop Ringing

ARMIES - self-titled - AUGUST 2015
1. Death Armies, Gutter & Lombard 4:01
2. Nite Lite Armies, Gutter & Lombard 4:25
3. Soldier Armies, Gutter & Lombard 2:48
4. Trust the Universe Armies, Gutter & Lombard 3:51
5. At Home (feat. Suppose) Armies, Gutter & Lombard 3:16
6. Armies Armies, Gutter & Lombard 2:47
7. Strangers Armies, Gutter & Lombard 4:57
8. Chemistry (feat. Soufboi) Armies, Gutter & Lombard 3:00
9. Rivals Armies, Gutter & Lombard 3:29
10. All the Way Love Armies, Gutter & Lombard 4:35
11. Matador Armies, Gutter & Lombard 2:56
12. Let It BurnArmies, Gutter & Lombard4:37



Armies is an American music group from Portland Maine, formed in 2015 consisting of Dave Gutter (songwriter, producer, vocalist, and guitarist) and Anna Lombard (arranger, vocalist, and pianist), Jon Roods (producer, bassist, and keyboardist),  Elsworth (beatmaker, producer) and Ryan Curless (drums and percussion).
The band name was inspired by a tumultuous relationship Gutter had with a girl named "Ami". Once when a friend asked where Dave was, someone answered, "He joined the Ami.” Many of the lyrics of Armies are based on the conversational dynamic of a couple.
The band define their music as Rock/R&B dance music with a sound that has been heavily influenced by hip hop, gospel, funk and psychedelic French pop of the sixties. Their self-titled debut was released in August of 2015, just three months before being named #1 of "15 Great Albums You Didn't Hear in 2015" by Rolling Stone Magazine.

Band Members