I will admit that this is a super-random choice. I’m completely unaware of the history of this Gladie band. I’m not even sure, frankly, if that’s the lead singer’s name, or even if that’s her on the cover. Ok, I’m not going to play the stupid idiot that I usually do on this site and pretend I don’t have the Internet and can’t Google shit. So, yes, this is the lead singer of Gladie all out of focus and looking suspiciously at us from the album cover. And her name is not Gladie, but Augusta Koch. And apparently she’s been in the Philly punk scene for over a decade. News to me. Thanks, computers!
I’m honestly not sure how this album, Don’t Know What You’re In Until You’re Out, came to me. I mean it’s not as if there’s a glut of indie rock right now. Or maybe there is and it’s just not making its way out of whatever service these things get buried in. Or maybe I’m just lazy and expect things to be handed to me. But, as a Gen-X jerkoff, I’m going to assume it’s the former. People suck! Technology is stupid! Whatever the case, I’m sure some Apple Music algorithm figured out that I like melodic indie rock with pop tinges sung by female lead singers. I can’t say that was always the case. But I have gravitated toward some other bands in this territory like The Beths and Camp Cope in recent years. Bands that clearly didn’t grow out of the post-hardcore thing and have swerved around the emo or even the spazzy, power chords of pop-punk. It’s not that I don’t love the sound of dudes screaming their vocal chords raw, or telling sad tales about their high-school crush and their mom’s second funeral, but sometimes I just want some good ol’ hooks, riffs and what amounts to a cool, amped-up pop song. Sung by a person who doesn’t sound like she wants to chew your head off. Or is just moonlighting as a singer from day job on the docks. Or makes me want to just take a nap.
Nope, this thing is pretty blissful. My reading tells me Koch has been through some stuff. And if I was a person who paid attention to lyrics, I’d be pretty certain that the themes on this album aren’t all sunshine and puppies. But it’s difficult to feel down when you’re being served banger after banger. I think that’s a hip-hop term, but in this context it means the band is giving us some real toe-tapping rock ditties. Which sounds dirty, but it isn’t. We start off with this odd instrumental thing, but then launch into the first of the aforementioned bangers, “Born Yesterday.” If there was any justice in the world, this would be a radio hit. If the radio was still a thing. Of course I felt similarly about that old 2011 Sleeper Agent album, which this reminds me of for no particular reason. And that went nowhere. It’s followed by “Mud,” which is equally melodic and equally guitar-y. These two songs alone would be worth the price of admission, but there are a few more tunes, most notably “Nothing,” that almost climb those heights.
They do take a few tracks off to be slower and more sensitive. Giving the drummer the whole day off on the final track, and doing some kind of almost headbob-y country tune on track four (which is actually still pretty good), but there is a great base here on which to build. The songwriting is super-solid and Koch’s voice is a pretty great one, situated right in that indie rock pocket. The whole thing is entertaining and surprising in a good way. I don’t want to praise my robot overlords too highly, but I’m thankful their ones and zeroes sent this one my way.