Gentleman Auction House
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Gentleman Auction House


Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"SPIN - A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular"

A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular
December 22nd @ Off Broadway

Besides eggnog and gingerbread, nothing screams holiday cheer like the wintry piano twinkle of Gentleman Auction House and the spring-loaded glam fuzz of Walkie Talkie U.S.A. - SPIN Magazine; December 2006

" AG Review Gentleman Auction House - Alphabet Graveyard"

I was wholly unfamiliar with the St. Louis-based band Gentleman Auction House when their debut full-length arrived at the station recently, but I was immediately intrigued. Their unofficial seal of approval happened the minute that I saw Chad Clark (from Beauty Pill) & TJ Lipple (from Aloha) listed on the album’s credits. It’s gotten to the point where these guys can do no wrong to me. They absolutely have the best ears in indie rock and seem to bring out the best in any bands and artists they work with.

When I popped in the cd, it didn’t take long for me to warm up to their sound. On tracks like “Call It Casual” and “We Used To Dream About Bridges”, I thought for a split second that maybe Beulah had reformed with Conor Oberst on lead vocals. With 7 members, the band has a wide range of eclectic instrumentation including trumpets, glockenspiels, and even a lot of “yelling, stomping, and clapping” (as credited in the liner notes).

Sometimes you hear a record and while it may be technically perfect, you immediately get the feeling that the band in question could never pull off their sound in a live setting. On the flipside, I hear a band like Gentleman Auction House and imagine that I’ll appreciate their songs even more after seeing them tear it up on stage. Without any knowledge of their previous EPs, this record has quickly become one of my favorite releases of the year. - Shiv, The Futurist;

"Glide Magazine Alphabet Graveyard Review"

Intense, organized chaos can make some beautiful music. Wilco has achieved this with songs like “At Least That’s What You Said,” “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” and “A Shot in the Arm,” to name just a few. And while Gentleman Auction House isn’t as established as a band like Wilco, their newest album, Alphabet Graveyard, has that mystic and iconic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot feel to it, mainly because there is always something interesting lurking in the background – you know, those sounds that jump out after the eighth or so listen. My feeling is that you’re going to love it just as you did YHF.

Opening with hand claps and turbulent vocals on “ABCDEFGraveyard,” lead singer Eric Enger wastes no time with his agenda – to win your full attention. The three tunes that follow – “Call It Casual,” “The Book of Matches,” and “We Used To Dream About Bridges” – achieve their message through the use of keyboards, trumpet, and harmony, never once slowing the poppy and rocking pace. My only complaint here is that I’d like to hear more of Kylie Kozel’s voice, especially on a slower song like “Good Behavior,” but I’m willing to wait for that. In short, this is quite an original album that should be just the beginning for a band that has a welcoming future in front of them - Jason Gonulsen; Glide Magazine

"Concert Livewire Alphabet Graveyard Review"

"We're shot like cannonballs off a mountaintop into oceans of our history, and we won't stay down," Eric Enger cries on the ridiculously quirky and catchy song "The Book of Matches" on Gentleman Auction House's debut effort Alphabet Graveyard. And with an album that's exploding with refreshingly new sounding indie-rock its evident they're not about to be held down.

Despite that the St. Louis-based septet has an air of familiarity about them (Enger's voice at times hearkens to Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, while a bit of Arcade Fire's chamber pop also manages to seep in, albeit a whole lot sunnier for this affair) there's still no denying the uniqueness of this band in the sea of indie tweeness these days. Alphabet Graveyard is filled with cute and indelible pop ("Call It Casual" and "If I'm The First To Go," with its rifling rhythm and call-to-arms harmonies), upbeat eccentricities ("ABCDEFGraveyard," the snaky "New Moon" and the disco-beat driven "I Sleep In A Bed Of Scissors Arms") as well as a bit of Baroque pop ("We Used To Dream About Bridges"). And just for good measure GAH also incorporates the gentle lullaby of "Good Behavior" as well as the more reflective and introspective number "24th."

It's no wonder that college radio has already gotten behind this strong debut, not to mention the positive press accolades that continue to roll in since its release just a couple of months ago (this being no exception). With their bouncy, positive, unique and downright irresistible pop if you see Gentleman Auction House on-the-block anytime in your area, put your bid inŠ you won't regret it. - Tony Bonyata; Concert Livewire

"Static Multimedia Alphabet Graveyard"

The strangest thing about Gentleman Auction House’s first full length album Alphabet Graveyard, is that they seem to do everything right while still making all the wrong choices and ending up with generically instrumented indie pop. Almost every idea from these songs sounds like something I’ve heard before without being as memorable. Their strongest suit is with the second, fourth and sixth tracks, “Call It Casual,” “We Used To Dream About Bridges,” and “In A Bed of Scissor Arms.” These songs are their greatest on this album. They’re doing what a band of two guitars, two keyboards, many scattered random instruments, and two percussionists/drummers should be doing: sounding full and exuberant like an orchestra. Wouldn’t that be the point of doubling up on instruments, vocals, and having the ability to play all of these instruments at once? I certainly see it with this album, where at its worse the songs are bare with what sounds like a single composer, and at best filled with seemingly a symphony-sized band. The band itself was originally created as an outlet for the lead singer and song composer Eric Enger but, according to their website, “… has gradually blossomed into a seven-piece ensemble….” This is fortunate for him, for it is with group vocals and bombastic instrumentation that his songs shine.

The overall album seems to be about themes and emotions associated with growing up, relationships, missing friendship, building your own life, and hoping for better days to come. The first track, “ABCDEFGraveyard,” has a degree of catchiness to it, and the layering in this song is the most massive of the album. This track puts forth the effort, grabs your attention and tries to keep it, but the yelling and drum beat at the beginning feels rather off-putting rather than a jovial call to join in. Listening to “Call It Casual,” the band I’m From Barcelona comes to mind. Gentleman Auction House’s use of many vocals and wonderful trumpet melody, matched with xylophone and a fun bouncy rhythm. The lyrics in this song catalogue the many feelings and attempts to keep someone interested or progress in a “casual” relationship. This song is truly great, and while it may hold nothing on any I’m From Barcelona song it still stands out as the gem of the album. With such a catchy pop sense, “Call It Casual” makes the album worth hearing and will leave you with that trumpet line stuck in your head all day. Lyrically, the theme of start-stop relationships and whether love is in the cards or if it’s time to walk away appears repeatedly throughout Alphabet Graveyard.

The album’s low point comes with a song which is clearly a ballad of Bright Eyes proportion. “Good Behavior” continues with the idea of naiveté in dating and attempts to grab a better shot of true love. Failing to ever really communicate what the nostalgia of the music is about, the song is too bare bones and disaffected to come off as a true song of heartache.

For a first full length album, Alphabet Graveyard shows a band with promise, and for fans of Papercuts or Architecture in Helsinki, this album will strike a strong chord. As is goes with all bands, save prodigy acts, there is a time for growth. This album sets the stage for that growth, and makes me eager to hear what comes out with their second album. With lengthy touring, the experience gained in recording this Alphabet Graveyard, their next will be an album full of gems. For now, I would stick with “Call It Casual” for a fun summer song that will make you feel like a kid at a birthday party. - John Moore; Static Multimedia

"Chewing Gum For The Ears AG Review"

Though I've already put up my "Top 25 of 2008" list, I'm still getting a hold of some very worthwhile new music from the past year. I completely missed out on Gentleman Auction House when they released their debut album, Alphabet Graveyard, in July, but I'm glad to be late rather than never; I've been listening to this pretty obsessively over the last week or so. The seven-piece group from Missouri, led by Eric Enger, make energetic, melodic, and intelligent indie pop that is infectious and exciting.

In the album's liner notes, three members of Gentleman Auction House are credited with playing drums or percussion and three with guitar, while a variety of other instruments (trumpet, keys, glockenspiel, etc.) are mentioned as well. With this many people doing so many things, Alphabet Graveyard could easily have become bloated or unnecessarily noisy, but the band show a remarkable amount of maturity and restraint. The arrangements feel carefully constructed and the music is tastefully executed, even at the album's oddest moments. It's a little goofy but also quite sincere, think a slightly less bombastic and more accessible Los Campesinos with a shot of funk.

The record starts with the stomping rhythm of "ABCDEFGraveyard," a fun tune with a stop-and-start beat ending with a percussion-heavy "na na na" chorus. Following is the album's first single, "Call It Casual," complete with explosive horns, boy/girl harmonies, and a rap-rock bridge. Once again, it might seem like too much, but the band pull off both tracks with style. The groovy "I Sleep In A Bed Of Scissor Arms" and the epic closer "Good Son" are a couple of my other favorites, though the best part about the album is its consistency; there's truly not a weak song to be found. It's clear that Gentleman Auction House are out to have (and provide) a good time, and they certainly succeed. Alphabet Graveyard does have it's more somber moments, but even at his most dour, Enger still sounds fairly cheerful.

Quirky, melodic, and a little abstract, Alphabet Graveyard has just the right amount of variation and experimentation to make for a thoroughly interesting listen. With strong songwriting, impressive musicianship, and a fresh, fun sound, Gentleman Auction House is a band worth keeping your ears on.

Christmas In Love - Gentleman Auction House have also recently released a Christmas EP called "Christmas In Love," which provides another dose of their unique indie sound for the holidays. It's a fun set of tunes, several of which you can hear on their MySpace page (link below). - Chris Nowling; Chewing Gum For The Ears

"Daytrotter In-Studio"

The gentlemen and gentle lady that we have here in Missouri’s Gentleman Auction House have made themselves poised to be noteworthy with their newest album, Alphabet Graveyard. They’ve done it with bells and whistles, something that’s usually frowned upon and has been awful-ized by too many people. They use the one whistle – the kind that’s dripping with spit and dangling around every gym teacher’s neck, standard issue is what we mean — to make everyone within an 8-mile radius stop and listen to what they’ve built into a wall of sound that serves their bigger stories well, giving them the oversized stairwells and deep, deep backyard pools that are needed for what they’re trying to accomplish.They have paintings up on the walls of this set, where they operate out of, where the cameras and tape are rolling, where the eyes feel as if they follow you through the room as you walk, counting your steps and mentally commenting about how long ago it was that you exercised. They have antique candle fixtures jutting out from the walls, which are absolutely perfect for illuminating the skeletons in the closets as they click open the doors and start walking around on their own, surveying the damage that they’ve been leaving or just taking notes on how to get more bang for their buck as the sloganeers would have it. They are the red apples, glistening ripe on the fingertips of tree branches, hanging on for dear life, as well as the infamous little green worm that makes that apple its home, ruining it for anyone with a hungry belly. They’ve found a way to capture the good and the despair of almost everything, serving up stories about life’s difficulties with bows and ribbons on them – making them into the anthemic bursts and brawn with all of their ornate collisions of sound and structure. There is a lot of daring on this record and in the group’s general approach as nothing seems to be off-limits. They’re willing to just do the unthinkably odd, out of context ideas and make them work resoundingly. Lead singer Eric Enger makes dysfunction a strong suit, or more so, makes discussing and understanding dysfunction for what it might be, a strong suit. He – with a voice that is reminiscent of Conor Obert’s when he’s singing lustily about hating the president or loving any kind of booze and Kevin Barnes when he’s going through a divorce – takes the reverse tact of those with a Peter Pan syndrome. The growing up, for most of his characters, is a better thing to be doing. There’s no arrested development for those going down to the graveyard. Some of these characters want to burn their given names to the ground, to look at the ashes and blackened char and see the greatest gift they’ve ever been given, to be free from all of the cumbersome hang-ups and hangnails. There’s plenty of rage and atrocity coursing through the words that Enger sings like the cannonballs that appear in the song – being shot from the tops of mountains. It’s mostly about persevering and leaving all of the ugliness of a past behind you. A lot of the songs, though slightly-to-heavily different in actual intent, come across as a bigger book. Stuffs that might be autobiographical take on the same feeling as these other latch-key kid and lost boy songs – willful abandon and the desire to be loved unconditionally by the people who are supposed to know exactly what that means, by the people who are supposed to do that better for you than any other people. When the mirror ball lights are spinning across the neighborhood and people are dancing in the broken light as if they were in a club, though with less ecstatic faces, just surveying what they’ve gotten themselves into and what they want out of the charade, that’s when we’re there, right where the Gentleman Auction House wants us. - Sean Moeller; Daytrotter

"RCRDLBL Alphabet Graveyard Review"

I'm sorry, but where the hell has Gentleman Auction House been all my life? Bear with me, cause I'm about to gush like a proud mother. "ABCDEFGraveyard" playfully hints at the Jackson 5 with a hand-clap chorus that is so infectious, you're going to be beaming within the first 60 seconds. If you were ever like, man, Secret Machines were so fun on that first record when they were building momentum like it was no big thing to have people standing on tip toes at their gigs waiting for the cymbal crash to break and bring them to the next level of indie rock nirvana, but wouldn't it be cool if instead of just one voice there was a whole chorus of kids shouting in pure glee? Get ready to play "The Book of Matches" on repeat for the rest of the day. Or rather, resist that cause if you think this song is as totally bad ass as it can get, wait til they add bloody horns on "We Used To Dream About Bridges." Alphabet Graveyard comes out next week on Emergency Umbrella Records and if this isn't the most jubilant record to tickle your ears all summer, I'm a goddamned monkey's uncle. - Christen Thomas; RCRDLBL

"Pop Matters Book Of Matches EP Review"

In simplest terms, Gentleman Auction House could be described as Okkervil River and Arcade Fire rolled into one kooky, Southern gothic amalgamation. But the St. Louis-based seven-piece (including two drummers) is so much more than that. Coupling male-female vocals with intense percussion and layers of chamber pop and folk, Gentleman Auction House has created a sound unlike any other band at the moment.

With their debut full-length Alphabet Graveyard set to be released in mid-August, Book of Matches could be perceived as simply an appetizer to temper the stomachs of their die-hards. The band themselves might have even approached it that way. But the truth is much more enticing. There are no shortcuts here. The songwriting is crisp and emphatic, the vocals sometimes affected but always passionate, and the melodies, despite being buried in a vortex of sound from trumpets to xylophones to flutes, twinkle like pop diamonds.

Those male-female vocals, ranging from whispers to banshee yells, are key to opening and title track “Book of Matches”. More importantly than that, however, is that beneath the hum of innumerable sounds lays a classic pop melody. When it worms its way into your head and stays, you’ll find yourself compelled to sing along.

Mid-EP tracks “Our Angry Town Stamps Them Out” and “I’ve Seen Trouble in This Sunken Land” are the best seven minutes. Paired back to back, the songs highlight Gentleman Auction House’s flexibility in crafting such diverse soundscapes and lyrical subjects. “Our Angry Town Stamps Them Out” is an alternate version of “Our Angry Town Runs Them Out”, from their debut EP The Rules Were Handed Down. This new version is more frenzied, fierce and immediately enjoyable than the original. Its ending swells to bombastic heights worthy of Tom Waits’ more outlandish moments.

“I’ve Seen Trouble in This Foreign Land”, on the contrary, coils slowly and menacingly like a rattlesnake ready to strike. No, really: “I’ve seen trouble in this sunken land / No clouds can cover what we’ve got planned / No changing course and no turning back / We come to kill a man”. Those lyrics are eerily reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”. Unlike O’Conner’s story, however, this is no sanctimonious narrative, just the frankest of vicious intentions.

After this, the aptly titled “Parting Shot” becomes almost a therapeutic massage, kneading out the intensity of previous songs with waves of instrumentation and vocal harmonies at once both indulgent and relaxing. Erik Enger’s voice cracks open the melody: “When you find me I’ll be wrapped in a cloud.” And by the end of the song, this is exactly how you’ll feel.

Hardly an appetizer, Book of Matches is chock full of enthralling harmonies and delivers near-infinite depth of sound. Its lyrics are interesting to analyze, and yet also fun to belt out in the privacy of your home. And that is quite a line to balance, indeed. Most bands stand staunchly on one particular side. Gentleman Auction House isn’t most bands. And Book of Matches isn’t an ordinary EP. It is, quite simply, stunning. - L.A. Bryan; Pop Matters

"Metromix Q&A"

Formed in the summer of 2005, St. Louis’ Gentleman Auction House is already garnering some very heady praise from the indie rock cognoscenti, who seem to be smitten with the seven-piece group’s mix of Arcade Fire–style thunder and playful pop rambunctiousness. The popular RCRD LBL blog called the band’s debut album “Alphabet Graveyard” (out August 19th on Emergency Umbrella Records) “the most jubilant record to tickle your ears all summer,” and PopMatters called an earlier EP “quite simply, stunning.”

Led by singer-guitarist and principal songwriter Eric Enger, the group also features Michael Tomko on guitar, xylophone and percussion; Steve Kozel on keyboards, guitar and trumpet; Kiley Lewis on keys and flute; Eric Herbst on bass; Ryan Adams (no, not that one) on drums; and Michael’s brother Stephen on a second, smaller drum kit. (“Stephen just kind of showed up to practice one day, and he was in,” Kozel explains; it’s that kind of band.)

While gearing up for the release of “Alphabet Graveyard,” the band created a Metromix playlist of some of their favorite things in the Lou (see sidebar), and Kozel told us more about the band’s influences, stage set-up and pre-sound check pastimes.

What's the story behind your name?
It's just words that don't really have anything to do with each other, but when you put them together, it means us. Kinda like the members of our band, I guess. I think the original idea was to come up with something that sounded like an organization, like Preston School of Industry, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Zack Attack, you know. In the end, it might have backfired, I dunno. We've actually played events that had a silent auction, which results in a lot of confusion.

What are your biggest musical influences?
Yeesh. Well, we all listen to a broad variety of music, but we have some funny intersections (i.e. Deftones, believe it or not). Ultimately, I think Eric E.'s influences carry the most weight, and there you'll find everything from Prince, Janet and P.M. Dawn to Ryan Adams, Soul Coughing and Guided by Voices. I think if you're going to tackle influences with this band's material, the most indicative way to do it would be on a song-by-song basis, since I think Eric sets out to do something different with each song.

About how many different instruments would you say are on stage at a typical Gentleman Auction House show?
Let's see: a full drum kit, a half kit (with baking sheet and metal pot), bass, two guitars, two keyboards, glockenspiel, flute, trumpet and three of us yelling into microphones.

If we actually did auction off all the gentlemen in the band, who do you think would fetch the highest price?
Eric Herbst. He's classy and refined, and up until recently, he had a very distinguished moustache.

What's the best thing you've read about yourselves in the press?
We've actually had a lot of really flattering comments, deserved or not. I might have to go with Jim Utz at Vintage Vinyl, who said, "Any city that has the opportunity to call Gentleman Auction House their 'own' is one of the luckiest cities in the world." That's pretty high praise, man.

Complete this sentence: "The St. Louis music scene is awesome because..."
Everyone's doing their own thing. There's no “St. Louis sound,” really, but there are ton of great bands, and definitely something great for everyone. If you can't find one St. Louis band you like, then you aren't looking hard enough.

Your blog features a new swatch of plaid every day. Why the plaid obsession?
It's like the modern tapestry, but you wear it! It's rare that you see the same plaid twice in a day, but almost guaranteed that you will see some plaid in any given day, especially at shows. And just think about how many possibilities there are for different plaids: the colors, the patterns, the "check" sizes. It's endless, you know? I guess I'll answer your question with another question: why not the plaid obsession?

“Tonight we'll be blowing our drink tickets on...”
The best stuff we can get, but usually PBR, G&Ts, whiskey (with or without Coke), and a ginger ale for Stephen.

Have you ever played a cover song where you immediately thought afterward, "Wow, guess we won't be doing that again"?
We did have a little challenge with our friends in [Illinois rock band] Elsinore before we played a three-date weekend trip with them. We gave each other a list of four songs to choose a cover from—they played "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven" by Phil Collins and we played "Coming to America" by Neil Diamond. I can pretty much guarantee that neither band has or will ever play either song again.

What's your least rock 'n' roll hobby?
Hmm. Eric E. and I bother everyone else with our constant jabber about fantasy baseball statistics, but that's their problem, you know? And I don't really see that as a non-rock hobby, considering seven out the 12 guys in our fantasy league are in a band (and almost all of them play in a softball league, too). I guess I'll tell you what everyone does once we arrive in a city and have time to kill before load-in. Eric E., Ryan and Stephen seek out somewhere to play pool. Eric H. may join them, but only to get a beer and read a book. Mike will probably try to find a pinball machine or one of those bar-mounted quiz/trivia/game machines. Kiley will look for a thrift/vintage/second-hand store, and I might go with her, unless I find somewhere with free Wi-Fi first. Pretty wild band, huh? Oh, and we don't do any drugs, and that's totally non-rock, right? - Andy Hermann; Metromix


"Christmas In Love" (EP, Emergency Umbrella Records; Released: Novemember 18th, 2008)
"Alphabet Graveyard" (LP, Emergency Umbrella Records; Released: July 22nd, 2008)
"The Book of Matches" (EP, Emergency Umbrella Records; Released: May 6th, 2008)
"The Rules Were Handed Down" (EP, Self-Released: Oct. 6th, 2006)



Gentleman Auction House doesn’t subscribe to “less is more.” Initially starting out as a seven-piece, the St. Louis-based band has packed in three EPs and one full-length in under three years. The band continues to hit the road, winning over audiences with its dual-drummer rhythms, ebullient choruses and instinctive pop hooks. Such big thinking has won the band press in the pages of Spin, led to a session, a lounge act (and a #50 spot on their “97 Best of ’08”), and propelled the debut full-length, Alphabet Graveyard, to #31 on the CMJ Radio charts.

Led by singer and guitarist Eric Enger, the group first hit the stage in late 2005. Word quickly spread of the band’s magnetic live shows, and the group’s sound continued to evolve. Two years later, the quaint, melodic chamber-folk of their first EP had fused with a bolder sound that combined buoyant pop with rock’s raw energy and modern R&B’s use of heavy percussion and buzzing keyboards. GAH’s first two releases of 2008 (on Emergency Umbrella Records), The Book of Matches EP and Alphabet Graveyard, proved that a group of white Midwestern 20-somethings could corral rhythm and soul into something palpable and powerful.

To cap off an already overstuffed 2008, Gentleman Auction House released the Christmas in Love EP, featuring five original songs and a sleighful of holiday merriment. The success of the self-produced disc emboldened the band (now trimmed down to a sextet) to record its next full-length itself, a process that will begin in the summer of 2009. Until then, Gentleman Auction House will continue to think big and move forward, touring the land and writing songs that match modesty with big pop dreams in the way that only a group of affable young folk from St. Louis can.