Milwaukee’s Gauss calls itself a punk band. Perhaps that was accurate for a time, but oh boy, have things changed. In 2012, guitarist-singer Eddie Chapman (currently in Cairns), Andy Grygiel (Absolutely), and Jimmy Brickner (ex-Blonder) started a noble punk trio whose name was a tribute to German mathematician Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss. Since that less-than-noteworthy outset, Gauss transitioned its sound into a dour, down-tempo project that continued to venture into experimental crevices with each new release.
Along the way, the band added new members, picking up YLLA ex-pats John Larkin and Brandon Miller to play trumpet and keys, respectively. Finally, Eric Ash (ex-Alta) came on board in April to play violin. Together, this mutated version of Gauss retired to Kevin Dixon’s basement analog studio (HumDrum) to record an EP that’s utterly unrecognizable compared to any of its previous efforts, with exceptional results.
The changes are immediately evident in the math-y salvo of percussion and horns in opener “Deep Than Blue.” From there, the Domestica-era Cursive guitar licks and vocals in “Stakes Are The Same” and Q And Not U-channeling “Stumbling Block” bring about a sped-up Gauss playing short-form, but much fuller and more uplifting compositions than ever before. “Epicenter Of Abnormality” subtly nods to American Football, though with grittier results. Loose comparisons aside, Thalweg‘s seven songs not only showcase a version of Gauss you’ve never heard before, it also displays the band sounding better than it ever has. Before Gauss’ October 8 release show at Club Timbuktu, listen to Thalweg in its entirety, only at Milwaukee Record.