Gravity Propulsion System
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Gravity Propulsion System

Band Rock Punk

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Drilling and droning, this is the kinda thing you heard a bunch during the decade when Sonic Youth released Daydream Nation and many of our nation's college students had to turn the dial to the left to hear such things. Nowadays? Ikara Colt could gig with'm just fine, as could Poem Rocket, or some of those angular units wandering around in the yard where Kittens for Christian and The Division of Laura Lee play kickball with Trail of the Dead and Cursive. Will they have a slot on the five-disc tribute to Too Pure recs I'm gonna put out when I hit a big enough number? Hey, any band that even comes up with a title as good as "Damage Control Disguised as Progress/Sick Energy" gets in… Gotta love the four videos, too. Really a great way to go about augmenting the spacier side of things. -Craig Regala - Lollipop Magazine


When I listen to most CD's, I can usually tell by the opening minutes if I'm going to like the record or not. This was not one of them. GPS' CD began with a bunch of noise, and it being a data CD, I thought perhaps I played the data track on accident. Oh boy, was I wrong. The minute the first [real] track kicked on, it was an all out blur.

I can imagine the household where the band probably played:
*tons of feedback*
Parents: "Can you fucking turn that down? We're trying to sleep!"
GPS: "Fuck off, we're recording."

They should've also included people complaining about the noise pollution they're making on the recording! The vocals are distorted, the mastering sounds like a Steve Albini record, with instruments way too high for their own good, and bass that's high enough to wake up neighbors next door. Think Mogwai, gone wrong. Yes, sounds like a good record to me.

These guys remind me a bit of The Icarus Line, and they're currently one of my faves. But these guys have a sunshine-y sound to them for some reason. Almost like they decided to make noise rock, and then make it poppy. It's interesting to say the least. It had enough to keep me locked in for more than a few minutes, and that's brilliant.

At times, you feel a Sonic Youth vibe to GPS, who are another one of my favorite bands. Noise rock is completely hit-or-miss with most people. Anyone can make a bunch of noise and call it art, but it's how you structure your work around the noise that truly makes a difference. And Poison Rays of Sound puts enough hooks to keep the listener interested, and enough noise to make people writhe in pain. Holy shit, we have a breakthrough! A well done record, if I say so myself. - Decoy Music


Gravity Propulsion System is a band that has defied everything I thought it would be. Where I thought GPS would be industrial, it is more garage-rock oriented. When I expect noise, I get melody, and when I think a track will be instrumental the vocals suddenly appear. Poison Rays of Sound is an album that has surely surprised me at every opportunity.

Originally a two-man drum-and-bass outfit, Gravity Propulsion System has since added a third member manning guitar and a second drum kit. Add a bunch of tape loops, effects, amps, microphones, and even a Speak & Math to create the backdrop and you’ve got yourself a frenzied mix of sounds. All three members provide vocals at one point or another, and their lyrics focus on politics, the government, and mass media.

It’s not as ear damaging as it might seem on the surface though. GPS definitely has some sort of off-kilter sense of melody and song structure, although I wouldn’t say they are copying from any particular source. This is like noise rock that goes beyond the “hey we can make lots of sounds and just put them together at random” territory of some bands. There is a tighter focus here, I guess, while still maintaining a sense of unpredictability.

“Noise Weapon” is the most dissonant of the bunch with 35 second intro “The Talker” and its overlapping loops following closely behind. Other tracks fit the garage-rock label fairly neatly, like “Note to Girlfriend” and “Solvent,” but the highlights for me are in the more laid-back numbers. “Signal Jammer” lets the band’s sense of melody shine through the crunchy guitar and wall of feedback. I’m also drawn to “Sleep (They’re Coming)” for its languid attention to creating a mood.

Poison Rays of Sound also contains three videos for the songs “Radio Waves,” “Broken,” and “Change,” which is a nice bonus feature. I think I get a better sense of the band after watching these and dig the grungy, documentary-style footage.

Those interested in everything from garage rock to any of the “posts” (post-industrial, post-grunge, etc) will find plenty to like about Gravity Propulsion System. This release is a solid effort and although there are a few parts I personally would have left out, as a whole Poison Rays of Sound is worth seeking out.

- Jennifer, 1/26/04 - Delusions of Adequacy


Though the world is crawling with bands for whom noise-laden garage-punk is a nod to the musical past, there's a comparative shortage of bands who project it as something of a futurist concern. Fortunately, Gravity Propulsion System do just that, and their first album proper is a messy minefield of radio static, distorted splurges, destructo-bass, howling feedback and punk-dirge riffery. Of course, there's nothing new about GPS's music, or their somewhat glaring nods to the chaotic squall of Sonic Youth and the lumbering rock'n'roll drone-age of the Jesus and Mary Chain, but its skilful execution, coupled with a veritable reservoir of vim, vigor and gusto, works distinctly in its favor.

The album arrives as 36 minutes of music, padded with 17 minutes of VCD-compatible music video tomfoolery. The video footage ranges from the extraordinary to the banal; "Radio Waves", for instance, features hazy wall-eye shots of skylines interspersed with (what look like) home movies and the mildly ominous presence of a wind-up nun. The video for "Broken", meanwhile, consists of lots of things, erm, breaking, while the video for "Change" wouldn't look out of place on a Sub Pop Video Network compilation -- it's a hastily-edited bunch of shots of everything from turntables and billboards to skate-ramps. For a low-budget affair, it's an impressive audio-visual blurt -- but it's a shame that the three videos are for songs that aren't included here in audio form! "Change", for example, is a terrifically motoric, rumblingly infectious cut that would sound much better blasting from a halfway-decent stereo system than the knackered speakers of this here crummy laptop.

And so, to the musical meat. The opening "Note To Girlfriend" starts as a fist-pounding stomper of a garage-rock tune, then settles into a pleasantly discordant lull that wouldn't sound out of place on a Daydream Nation outtake. Peddling a riotous rock'n'roll energy that's all too aware of its struggle against listless apathy, the eight-minute "Black Helicopter Undercurrent" builds upon a droning rumble of low-end feedback, exploding into a wholesomely expressive dirge-rock instrumental epic dressed with synthesized blips and dark electronic tinkerings, all the while informed by a palpable sense of dystopia-in-waiting. The closing "Noise Weapon", however, does exactly what it says on the can. Listen to it on headphones, and the squalls of pounding guitar scree guarantee cluster headaches all round.

The smart money suggests that GPS are a sensational live act; there's a tangible fizz of crackling energy behind them that, derivations aside, is pretty electrifying. Even if the lyrics aren't always audible, and the reference points are somewhat meretricious, Poison Rays Of Sound packs enough spunk and guts to floor a hundred leather-clad garage-rock whimperers.


-- Allan Harrison
- Splendid Magazine


You people and your infrequent playlist updates. Leave it up to the guy that likes not-so-cool music to put up something new after a week of the same ol' same ol' just sitting there on the front page. So yeah, these GPS guys, they're pretty great, and a nice change of pace from what I typically listen to. I'm just now discovering this sort of noisy/frazzled/electro-influenced/screamy punk stuff. I keep seeing these guys compared to Lightning Bolt, and I guess that's pretty accurate. All I know is that this is incredibly harsh without leaving me completely worn out like so many other psychotic rock bands do. I like, and I like a lot.
- Deep Fry Bonanza


Lots of high-end noise and plenty of guilty-pleasure riffage. Not exactly a common combination, especially when you throw in waves of distortion and lots of feedback. Gravity Propulsion System keeps everything under control (generally), with the result being a most arresting album. - Aiding and Abetting


In the dying days of 2003, with an upper atmosphere clogged by satellite transmissions and studded with thousands of shards of broken high-tech equipment, the music of the spheres probably sounds a lot like Gravity Propulsion System, an Oklahoma-based band that nimbly shifts gears from hard-driving rock & roll to weightless space-rock while trailing a swath of rapidly disintegrating parts. GPS's album Poison Rays of Sound, released earlier this year on local label Ascetic Records, is as brilliant and intelligent a combination of rock-thrust, conspiracy-theory lyrics and grand, beautiful noise eruptions as you could hope for in this era of angsty, Marketing 101 corporate rock. - River Front Times, St. Louis


Discography

GRAVITY PROPULSION SYSTEM "Poison Rays of Sound" Ascetic Records CD AR010 Released Aug. 2003

GRAVITY PROPULSION SYSTEM "Everything's Wrong" Little Mafia LM036" 10" LATHE EP Released July 2004

Tracks from "Poison Rays of Sound" are in rotation on:
KVSC 88.1FM St. Cloud MN, WUSB 90.FM Long Island, NY, WHFR 89.3 FM Dearborn / Detroit , KBGA 89.9 FM Missoula, MO, WRRG 88.9 FM Triton College, IL, KCPR 91.3 FM San Luis Obispo, CA, WWCD 101.1 FM Columbus, OH, WNUR 89.3 FM Chicago, IL, WXYC 89.3 FM Chapel Hill, NC, WEFT 90.1 FM Champaign, IL , KSCU 103.3 FM Santa Clara, CA, WTPS 99.9 FM Milwaukee, WI, CBC RADIO 2 Montreal Canada, 100 Offener Kanal Oldenburg, Germany, K-FUEL CANAL B 94.00 FRANCE

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Beautiful, angst-filled skronk & skree, sturm & drang, piss & vinegar from this Oklahoma City duo-turned-trio. The lineup was recently cemented with Lance Pellegrini on guitar and second drum kit and draws its influences from the unholy waters of Lightning Bolt, Slug, Bad Moon Rising-era Sonic Youth, the more song-oriented Dead C material and other assorted noisicians. With an arsenal comprised of drums, bass, guitar, four amps, three microphones, tape loops and an insane amount of stompboxes, this trio creates a tempest of sound that is reminiscent rather than an imitation of its predecessors, for it springs from the same primitive logic and visceral understanding of the word and of art.