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Boston, MA | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Boston, MA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Alternative




"The Fire Note: Gladiola "Off You Go" album review"

Off You Go
Self-Released [2013]

August 6, 2013, 4/5

Fire Note Says: Gladiola’s third album Off You Go is a mode.

Gladiola is an independent band in the truest sense. They self-produced and self-released their latest LP Off You Go. The band is based out of Massachusetts and consists of Bill Madden-Fuoco (vocals and guitar), Chris Regalia (bass), David Mohs (drums), and Jess Madden-Fuoco (vocals). Bill Madden-Fuoco “moonlights” as a high school English teacher and this shows in the music. I was most reminded of two others hyperliterate artists, Dan Bejar of Destroyer (and The New Pornographers) and John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Madden-Fuoco’s actual voice sounds a lot like these two men as well. If you enjoy these two bands Gladiola will be a revelation to you and is well worth checking out.

The music on Off You Go can be described as guitar-driven chamber pop. Pianos, saxophone, and strings often pop in and out of the album. Gladiola does a great job of building to a climax in most of their songs – having a female backing vocal makes each chorus swell. “Your Biography” starts with a bit of guitar distortion and then enters pleasant jangle-rock territory. Appropriate to the title of the song, the lyrics evoke a storytelling sentiment that transports you back to adolescence.

One of my common concerns when listening to full-lengths is the lack of diversity to be found. This cannot be said of Off You Go. “Breaking Into The Pool” is a harder, faster jangler that evokes Guided By Voices or R.E.M. It was actually eerie how much the guitar riff in the chorus felt familiar. Following track “Birdman” has a syncopated beat to it that gives it a light ska sound. The common thread that connects the album is Madden-Fuoco’s voice. I would’ve liked to hear more menace to some of the vocals, but I’m not quite sure if that would have fit the nostalgic feel of the album.

If you like sonically diverse music with intelligent, storytelling lyrics Gladiola is worth a listen. Off You Go is also an album that I believe would improve with each listen because it is not a one-trick pony.

Key Tracks: “Your Biography,” “Breaking Into The Pool,” “Birdman”

Artists With Similar Fire: The Mountain Goats / Destroyer / The Decemberists - The Fire Note

"Gladiola Offers "Your Biography" For This Week's Free Download"

For their remarkable third record Off You Go, Boston indie favorites Gladiola turned the focus insular, writing catchy, power pop anthems about, simply, what they know. Lead singer and English teacher Bill Madden-Fuoco took the advice he doles out to his students, “Write what you know” to heart, crafting tunes from classroom experiences and observations of his Boston Public high school students. “Most of the songs are about teenagers, and a lot of the ideas came right from the classroom,” he explains. Evoking the rebellious teenage spirit captured by The Hold Steady, Madden-Fuoco and Co. document these experiences with an electric garage spirit, matching the protagonists and their journeys.
- Enter the Shell

"Recommended Album: Gladiola - Off You Go"

Boston’s own Gladiola released their third album, Off You Go, last month, and it’s an intelligent & succinct effort. Post-Rock is the genre I’d pin on Gladiola, as they incorporate non-traditional time signatures over a driving bass and jangled guitar. The mix of boy/girl vocals on tracks is a nice change of pace, and the lyrics are cerebral yet strait forward, making for an interesting record, that they’ll hopefully be playing out around town soon. - Visions of the Unexcused

"The Noise: Gladiola "Off You Go" Album Review"

Off You Go
10 tracks
From what I gather, it’s been a few years since these guys put out a new record. This is either too bad that we’ve had to wait, or a sign that it’s worth taking your time to get something right. Gladiola makes noisy pop that on occasion becomes a little too pleasant, but generally has enough darkness and cacophony beneath the surface to keep the listener’s interest over repeated spins. The strength of this record lies in the vocals as Bill Madden’s Superchunk-y vocals add some manic angst, which is nicely offset by Jess Madden’s sweeter ones. The less said about the strikingly cheesy sax on “Your Biography” the better, but overall, this is quite the solid effort. (Kevin Finn) - The Noise

"The Daily News: "Off You Go" Album Review"

‘Off You Go’
Gladiola (self-released) ∂∂∂1⁄2
It’s been five years since we last heard from Boston pop/rock four-piece Gladiola, but at long last the Bill Madden-Fuoco-front- ed outfit is back with third full-length “Off You Go.” One of the more literate songwrit- ers plying his trade these days (Madden-Fuo- co’s day job is teaching high school English), the 10-track slab is both smart and appeal- ing. After a slow start, Gladiola hit their stride with keepers “everyday Reasons.” Here’s hoping this rock-solid record helps raise Gladiola’s profile. - The Daily News


Let the Notes Go Free (2003)
There is No Road (2008)
Off You Go (2013)                                                                                                                 This Year's Storm (2016)



“Write what you know.” It’s one of the most often-dispensed pieces of advice to writers, as Gladiola songwriter and English teacher Bill Madden-Fuoco knows. When working out the songs for the band’s third album, Off You Go, he took the aphorism to heart and gleaned lyrical inspiration from his Boston Public high school students. “Most of the songs are about teenagers, and a lot of the ideas came right from the classroom,” he explains.

For example, “Your Biography,” the crashing and soaring anthem that evokes Mission of Burma, is rooted in an epiphany hatched from a class reading of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. “We were reading the part where the teenage Malcolm first arrives in Boston from Michigan, and his sister Ella implores him to spend his first few days exploring the city,” says Madden-Fuoco. “The book describes him walking down specific streets in Roxbury and Dorchester, and I just had this picture of a future leader wandering around, the crowds oblivious to him. It made me think of my students and how often people overlook and underestimate them. The song updates that idea.”

Similarly, “No Flag” tells the story of a group of friends graduating high school, their shared path about to diverge into different destinations. For one character, an undocumented immigrant, the path seems to disappear altogether. “I didn’t set out to write a song about immigration issues,” says Madden-Fuoco, “but this is the story of many students I know, and it’s not a story that you can just file away. For me, songs are often formed from the thoughts that are stuck in heavy rotation.”

Off You Go arrives five years after the release of the band’s second album, There is No Road. The long gap is the result of an unanticipated three-year recording process. One night bass player Chris Regalia showed up at the band’s Charlestown rehearsal space with a Tascam digital Portastudio. “We started recording demos, which sounded good, so we decided to record this album ourselves,” says Regalia, who served as engineer. The recording desk was set up facing a wall in the cramped space, necessitating Regalia to constantly crane his head around to communicate with the band. After two sessions, his neck was too sore and stiff to continue. The solution: an array of dollar store mirrors hung over the console. “I still don’t understand how it took us so long,” says Madden-Fuoco. “The results are great, and the price was right, but I don’t know if I’d do that again.” Once everything was recorded, the band handed it over to trusted partner Dave Minehan, who had recorded the first two Gladiola albums at his Woolly Mammoth studio, for mixing.

Off You Go is the first Gladiola album to feature drummer David Mohs, who took over when original drummer Gary Vitagliano moved to Ireland. Jess Madden-Fuoco, who contributes vocals, rounds out the band. Gladiola’s history begins during the summer of 2002, when Bill had put together the band for a “recording project” (the band’s initial incarnation included Tim Madden on keyboards and electronics and Eric Shepherd on second guitar). Jess floated the idea to sing a surprise set of cover songs with the Gladiola boys at her and Bill’s upcoming wedding reception. Thus the quick and temporary transformation of Gladiola into a cover band. On August 17, 2002, hours after the two became the Madden-Fuocos, Jess sang Beatles, Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper songs in full bridal regalia to a stunned audience of wedding guests. Her first-ever rock performance and ingratiation into the band.

In 2003, Gladiola fulfilled its original purpose: the completion of Let the Notes Go Free, an album of songs Bill had written since his old band, Resolve, called it quits after a decade-plus.

Let the Notes Go Free received an official self-release in 2004. The Boston Globe called Gladiola “very appealing, clever pop-rock noisemakers,” and The Noise implored readers to “Please get this.” Commercial and college radio stations transmitted Let the Notes Go Free over Boston frequencies. The “project” conceit soon evaporated.