Guitars and keys jangle and wail, calling out with a raw cry. A drummer plays his kick drum with his palm, his kit having just been destroyed in a furious explosion. The singer throws himself from the stage and into the embrace of the audience. It is a visceral celebration, a prayer to rock and roll. It is Gay Nineties.
They’re not indie darlings. They’re not beholden to a scene, a look. For them, one thing is sacred. The music.
The first thing you sense when hearing Gay Nineties is the feeling of total individual freedom. Each member is an accomplished, passionate musician that leaves an indelible mark on the music. Lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Parker Bossley stands center stage, but all are in the spotlight. On drums: Malcolm Holt, Parker’s musical accomplice since they were 16. Together with Daniel Knowlton’s galloping bass, the rhythm section is complete. For a time, they performed as a trio, ripping through ragged psych pop. The Zombies by way of Nirvana. But something was missing. That’s when they found Bruce Ledingham, a synth wizard who brought a bed of texture and harmony that pulled it all home. Together they have found a tone, a vibe, an energy that none of them could control even if they wanted to. It doesn’t seem that they do.
Nowhere is this more apparent than on their debut LP, Decadent Days. As with their previous EP, the recording process was fiercely independent. The entire album was self-funded and recorded over ten blistering days with Steve Bays of Hot Hot Heat producing. Joining them in collaboration were Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra, Brendan Benson of Raconteurs, Angelo Petraglia, and a cadre of other talented friends. The album was written on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, where Bossley traversed and meditated through the ancient hills and Confederate cemeteries. In the end he found himself with a song cycle of love, independence, darkness, and shattered fame. Stark, eloquent songs. Once recorded, the band discovered a cohesive yet eclectic record; a collection shot from the hip, straight to the heart.
The record carries you, diving into a new world, a place where bright lights bleed to shadowy corners, inviting you in as it warns you: Beware. Danger.
Even while recording Decadent Days, Gay Nineties dreamed of getting back on the road. It was there, playing everywhere from dive bars to huge festival stages to a triumphant show at Vancouver’s world-famous Commodore Ballroom, that the band honed their sound, a decadent ode to sleazy elegance. It was there that they wrote and crafted their EP and, independent of any label, propelled two singles onto the charts: “Hold Your Fire”, the most added single of the week, and “Letterman”, which peaked at #5. It is there, playing so hard their instruments give way, diving into the arms of fans, that they feel most at home.
Gay Nineties exist outside of any genre, even any time period. Together they have created a moment out of time, a rhythm all their own. Burning within them is a fire, a passionate belief in the beating heart of rock and roll, an ardor that promises they will not live quietly.