The Gloria Record reissuing ‘A Lull In Traffic,’ discuss 6 songs that influenced the EP
Chris Simpson is a busy guy. Mineral are still reunited (and booked for Furnace Fest this year, though that might get postponed), he's releasing the debut album by his new solo project Mountain Time in June, and now he also announced a 20th anniversary reissue for the sophomore EP by his and Mineral bassist Jeremy Gomez's other classic band, The Gloria Record.
The EP, A Lull In Traffic, gets its re-release on July 10 via Big Scary Monsters (pre-order), and it comes out on limited edition yellow vinyl with an exclusive demo of "The Arctic Cat," recorded in the band's practice room in 1999. The news comes shortly after Chris revisited one of the EP's songs, "Miserere," during his solo acoustic quarantine performance series.
We caught up with Chris to ask him a few questions about the reissue and The Gloria Record in general, including if there'd be any chance of a reunion when this pandemic ends ("That would be really fun. I think there’s always still a hope that we’ll finish some or all of the unfinished material"). We also asked Chris if he could tell us about some of the music that influenced A Lull In Traffic, and he made a list of six songs by Radiohead, Blur, Bjork, and more. Read on to see what Chris had to say...
BV: With 20 years of hindsight, how do you view the songs on A Lull In Traffic compared to the way you did when they were released?
Chris Simpson: I like the songs for the most part. "Tired And Uninspired" hasn’t aged well for me. There’s a certain overly self-conscious young depressive vibe to it that’s hard to embrace for me now, but it was what it was. The production to me now feels overly bright. But I have fond memories of making it. It was our first time working with Mike Mogis and we were delighted to be working with someone whose work we had great respect for. We were settling in with the five piece lineup and excited about the future. If I remember right these were songs we’d had around for a few years after the first record and we wanted to kind of clear the decks once the lineup had solidified so we could start fresh writing together for a full length.
BV: You recently played a song off this album during one of your solo acoustic quarantine performances - how long had it been since you last performed Gloria Record material live (well, "live") and what was it like to return to the song and reinvent it a bit in the process?
Chris: Yeah. It’s been really fun to play some Mineral and TGR songs in that manner. It really feels cool to strip things down to just the basic chords and melody. "Miserere" in particular is so drenched in atmosphere on the record, that taking all that away leaves something very stark feeling in contrast. I’m particularly proud of the lyrics and melody on that song. It’s held up for me. I sing so differently now too, so that was an interesting stretch as well. Everything was so full throttle at all times vocally for me in that era.
BV: Speaking of live, when this pandemic ends, can we hope to ever see a Gloria Record reunion?
Chris: That would be really fun. I think there’s always still a hope that we’ll finish some or all of the unfinished material. We’re all still great friends and really feel a special camaraderie with one another, so I know we’d all love to see ourselves together again in some capacity. We’re also very spread out now, between Texas, New York and North Carolina and everyone has families and kids and jobs etc. so, it would be a challenge, but… we still dream.
SIX SONGS THAT INFLUENCED THE GLORIA RECORD'S A LULL IN TRAFFIC
Radiohead - "Let Down"
This is a song that kind of launched our search in a way I think. We were obsessed with this band and this song in particular kind of had all the touchstones for us. I was really interested in the acoustic guitar in big atmospheric backdrop thing and certainly thought Thom was an impressive and compelling vocalist. The b-sides to this record and The Bends were indispensable to us at the time as well.
Blur - "End Of A Century"
This band was definitely the most played artist in the TGR touring vans. We were obsessed with Blur. From the songs to the production to the guitar playing and singing. No artist more immediately makes me remember our time together in the band than this one. Anytime I hear one of their songs come on I’m immediately transported back in time and somewhere with my TGR brothers.
Bjork - "Joga"
No one was influencing me vocally as much as Bjork during this time. I wanted to be Bjork. The Homogenic record in particular was on constant rotation in my Discman. I remember getting an early leak of the Vespertine album when we were making Start Here as well and being able to listen to nothing else.
Clinic - "Porno"
This band definitely made a dent for us. This came along right as we were making A Lull In Traffic and we would go on to listen to them fervently through the remainder of the band’s time together.
Sparklehorse - "Painbirds"
Mark Linkous was definitely my favorite songwriter during this time. I was all in on the first two Sparklehorse records, especially Good Morning Spider. I think the production on that record definitely began to shape things for us moving forward as well.
Yo La Tengo - "Deeper Into Movies"
Another staple of the Poodleship (our pet name for the tour van). This record was so good. Impossible to pick just one from it. Benjamin X. (Keys) chose this one for the Pauline Kael reference in the title.
Watch the trailer for the reissue:
A Lull In Traffic Reissue Tracklist
1. A Lull In Traffic
2. The Arctic Cat
3. Tired And Uninspired
5. A Bye
6. The Arctic Cat (Demo)