Gabe Hascall
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Gabe Hascall

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Gabe Hascall, “Just Dust” (unreleased demo)"

Gabe Hascall has been through a lot for a 31-year-old. He went from playing for a decently well known ska-punk band, the Impossibles, in his hometown of Austin, Texas, and collaborating with Impossibles bandmate Rory Phillips to form Slowreader, an Elliot Smith influenced project, to living in his mother’s attic, trying to kick meth, drinking and watching The Departed incessantly (see Casey’s feature on Hascall).

Now clean, Hascall has relocated himself from his mother’s attic to the basement of notable drummer Scott McPherson (Elliott Smith, She & Him) in Northeast Portland. Eager to continue making music, Hascall has recorded a handful of demos in his new Portland home in, and we were lucky enough to get ahold of them via the man himself.

Though all eleven of the tracks compiled on the burned disc are packed tight with talent, “Just Dust” stood out the most to me. This song, like the others on the disc, is stripped bare: It’s just acoustic guitar and vocals, but really, that’s all it needs to be. As was the case with Slowreader, there is an apparent Elliott Smith influence in Hascall’s solo work, mostly in the vocals, where both musicians possess a soft, airy, high-pitched voice that teeters on the edge of falsetto. The Texas native layers his voice on these demos, creating eerily beautiful harmonies atop quickly strummed guitar chords. This is one of the more upbeat tracks on the compilation, and the lyrics reflect that. The last lyrics Hascall sings are, “The next day is tomorrow/and the past is just dust,” before ending the song with a series of oohs. Knowing a bit about his past, this line is uplifting and something that can pertain to anyone: The past is gone; all we have is the future. - Local Cut


"New Music: Gabe Hascall – “Just Dust” (Demo)"

You may remember Gabe Hascall’s voice, if not his name, as part of early ’00s duo Slowreader — a sort of King of Convenience for Figure 8 fans. Now based in Portland, the singer’s had a rough time these last few years — from the dissolution of his band (and prior outfit The Impossibles) to kicking a meth addiction. “Just Dust” and a handful of other fresh songs are the product of getting clean and getting inspired. He’s still double-tracking, still sincere and, unlike the late, lamented Elliott Smith, still here if you want him. - Rawkblog


Discography

The Impossibles - Austin, Texas, USA
Genres Indie, Ska, Punk, Rock
Years active 1994-1998 and 2000-2002
Labels Fueled by Ramen

Slowreader -
When famed Texas rockers The Impossibles decided to call it quits at the end of 2001, a side project between two of the members emerged as their new full time gig. Rory Phillips and Gabe Hascall had been toying with the idea of Slowreader for a few years (the first Slowreader track mysteriously appeared on Fueled By Ramen's sampler in the summer of 2000), and the end of their former band allowed the two to focus on the development of a new, refreshing sound that became Slowreader.

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Bio

For Gabe Hascall, everything is new. A new city, new wife and his first solo album. It has been a long time coming, this fresh start, but he’s making the most of it now.
In 2008, Hascall was lost. He’d taken a three-year hiatus from playing music after leaving Los Angeles for his native Austin, Texas. While Austin was where Hascall got his start—first with popular punk-ska standouts The Impossibles, then with the mellower acclaimed offshoot duo Slowreader—his three years back home were spent mostly in isolation. He was writing songs, he says, but his mind was clouded.
When Hascall picked Portland as the destination for a fresh start, it was less a musical decision than a lifestyle choice. He moved into a friend’s basement (former Elliott Smith drummer Scott McPherson), took a low-key job in a warehouse, developed a serious coffee addiction and spent free time with his cat, Ruben. And he wrote—building a library of songs that later became full-band demos produced by McPherson. Though the recordings showed promise, Hascall felt anxious about them—he needed the songs, not their instrumentation, to be the focus. “I really wanted to shine a light on the intangibles. They were trying to hide,” he says now.
The twelve songs on Hascall’s debut disc, “Racing Slowly,” evidence that bold and sudden change in direction. He has stripped his songs down to a bare minimum of voice and guitar to create a revealing, vulnerable new musical approach that almost seems strung directly from Hascall’s heart to yours.
That he manages such a distinctive sound with so few tools is a testament both to Hascall’s unique vision and his private work ethic. The churning, almost harp-like guitar strums that lay a quilt beneath sweet songs like the lullabic “Season Everything” and the confessional “Early in the Night” are just as easily identifiable as Hascall’s delicate voice. That voice is put to complex tests by Hascall’s trapeze-like songwriting, jumping into falsetto on a moments notice and embracing his rolling, wordplay-rich verses. Hascall stretches these talents to the limit on challenging songs like the dizzying “Until Forever” and the tender closer, “Finish Forwards.”
For Gabe, releasing his long-overdo debut disc is more than a musical re-boot, it’s a rediscovery of the joy of making music. “Writing songs is the only thing I do really well,” he says. “I don’t know...maybe not the only thing.”