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"Guv "Firestorm" - January 24th, 2006"

I have to admit that I am a sucker for songs that seems bigger than life. This song by unsigned band Guv sounds big. Brings to mind something that may have been a demo for Radiohead's OK computer. The sound is bare bones but complex. Different movements and parts all work in harmony with one another to create a nice picture of a young and developing band that has some obvious song writing chops and some great vocals (think less whinny Thom Yorke). Being that it is a demo I shouldn't say that I don't really like the lead guitar tone (but it isn't my favorite). Get this now and when their album comes out this summer purchase it and support a great band.

--Bo - Lead Singer Disorder,

"GUV - A noisy, fast-paced nod to Brit-pop here in RI"

The music is loud, thick with guitars and rich sound textures, often reminiscent of Radiohead, complete with Thom Yorke-like singing by vocalist Adam Cissell. But from the start, there's a twist.

The drums are fast-paced, impertinent, punkish. Cissell's guitar playing takes jangly, distinctly American little twists. And the looks are a far cry from the black-clad, earnest British: Cissell has a schitzu dog T-shirt and stars-and-stripes bandanna; bassist Jeff Zupka has a blue polyester polo with a big Nasa sticker and a retro tie.

Guv are an oddball crew - but you could've known that by looking at their Web site, which proclaims right at the top: "We're kinda awesome..." Or by talking for a minute to drummer Matt Atwood, a master of the tall tale.

Yet it's clear that deep down, these are serious musicians. It's evident from the way the songs are crafted, the way they layer the sounds - Cissell's crisp guitar over Bryan Ploutz's distortion and Zupka's sparse, note-by-note bass lines; Atwood's sometimes subtle, sometimes frenzied drumming; the way the vocals play into the orchestration.

The first crop of Guv songs, which they released in last year's debut CD, Papercut, are all Cissell's work; he'd written them by himself, and he needed a band to play them. All four work for the U.S. Navy - they're all engineers - and Ploutz, who had started playing guitar with Cissell, introduced them to one another.

After a night of heavy drinking in Providence, they ended up at the Star Bar in Newport.

"We started free-styling right there," Zupka said. Atwood did his beat-box thing. They improvised and went crazy. It was perfect.

After putting out Papercut, they began writing together. "We have a very communist band; Anytime anyone has an idea, they throw it out there," said Zupka. They start with a simple melody, "then we texturize it," said Atwood. Sometimes they have a concept for the lyrics, like the song about cannibalism they're writing now. Other times, Cissell said, he starts making vowel sounds to go with the instruments, and builds words on them.

The result is sophisticated, multi-layered music that builds up and takes unexpected twists and fills the room till it feels, at some points, like they've hit every frequency in the sound spectrum. The songs tend to be long; a recent set clocked in at 40 minutes with only six songs, culminating in the epic, almost orchestral "It's Never Coming Back" a track from the second CD they're working on; you can download it at their Web site.

The British shoegazer influence shows up in "Firestorm," another new track, which starts out with subtle guitars and mournful vocals before turning into a trip-hop extravaganza, enhanced by a heavy dose of beat-box. "Trying Hard," also new, is much louder, built on insistent, fast paced drumming, with some counrtyish riffs and an ending that would fit perfectly in a Tarantino soundtrack.

Even the old songs, though, keep getting reworked. The album version of "Two Rocks In the Garden," is a lean, sad pop song with Cissell's vocals over relatively lean guitars and drums. But live the other night, it started with a vocal harmony over the lightest instrumentation, highlighting the Beatles-ey tune, then built into a much richer sound.

Because the music is often so loud, it's easy to miss many of the lyrics, but a close listen will reveal a mix of sad and poetic, and silly-humorous ("I feel something's wrong, like a coyote being chased by a road-runner"), just in case you took them too seriously.

It's the same contrast you see on stage: epic music played by a guy in a schitzu T-shirt.

"We like to keep the audience uncomfortable," Zupka said. "Keep them on their feet."
- Motif - Aug 17-Sept 6, 2005 - Marion Davis


"Guv - Papercut" - 2004



Two mid-westerners and a couple of New England natives with similar musical influences met in Rhode Island and formed the band Guv in December of 2003. Guv forges emotional connections with listeners through an intelligently inspired approach to making music. Guv's formula combines detailed song structure, thoughtful lyrics and riveting guitar solos with overriding influences of both classic and modern indie Brit rock. While tending towards solemn moodiness in many songs, the band's underlying playfulness often rises to the surface. Songs about embarrassing hook-up stories and absurd stage attire lighten the mood. Guv wants to make you think, rock, dance, and then laugh.

Guv originally began as a solo project of original songs composed and recorded by Adam Cissell (lead singer, guitar) during the fall of 2003. He released these recordings independently as "Papercut" in May 2004. However it was in November 2003 that the current day band began to take shape.

After he recorded "Papercut", Adam was playing guitar with Bryan Ploutz (guitar) one night and expressed his yearning to form a band. Bryan then introduced Adam to his friend, Matt Atwood (drums, vocals), who had similarly done a good deal of solo recording. In need of a bass player to round out the band, Adam then suggested that another guitarist and mutual friend of theirs, Jeff Zupka (bass), might lend his talent to round out this stimulating foursome. The band came into being a few weeks later as a result of a drunken dinner in Providence. You wouldn't guess from their inspired music and jilting stage presence that these guys all work as engineers in their day jobs.

Derived from Adam's life-long nickname, Guv gained approval to become the official name of the band. The first task at hand for the guys would be to master the material Adam recorded for "Papercut." By April 2004, Guv was ready to hit the stage and started to perform the songs live. They played local gigs throughout the summer of 2004 in Rhode Island, and one festival, Playa del Fuego (PDF), in Delaware.

In the fall of 2004, the band began collaborating fully to write new songs. As one could imagine, this has helped bring more creative elements into the writing process. Guv's sound for the new material highlights the vocals of Matt and the riff-based work of Bryan. This cooperative writing process lends Guv a greater depth; emotional undertones are enhanced by the layering of sounds and techniques. These elements are showcased by a very modern rock groove. Recording of the new material began in November 2004 and remains ongoing.

2005 brought about more live performances for Guv. Playing a mix of Papercut material and the new material, Guv played 16 shows in the Boston/Providence region. Guv also gained online radio acclaim in the fall of '05, being featured twice on indie rock station, on their program, which features upcoming bands from around the globe. Guv's "Firestorm" was played on this program and also mixed in with regular rotation along with other indie rockers. By the end of '05, Guv had transitioned to playing mainly the new material from the upcoming album. The band has completed this album, which has been mastered by Uncle Punchy (Clutch, The Apes, The Hard Tomorrows, Red Right Return) in Silver Spring, Maryland. Plans for distribution are now underway.