Gauche Blend New Wave and Post-Punk on Their Debut 'A People's History of Gauche'

Photo: Jen Dessinger / Merge Records

Evoking best elements from post-punk and new wave, Gauche offers up an impolite and delightful debut album.

A People's History of Gauche


12 July 2019

To be gauche is to be socially awkward, unsophisticated, an embarrassment. It is also to put oneself out there forcefully anyway and without apology. For their debut record, A People's History of Gauche, the Washington D.C. band presents all of these things in a maddeningly delightful and refreshing 36 minutes.

A People's History of Gauche introduces a band that evokes the best of DIY post-punk from the past (think the Slits and Raincoats meet the B-52s) but translates it all to now in a furious, danceable stew. This is music that refuses to be passive and that demands motion, effectively capturing a spastic, energetic live band on record.

Gauche is Jason P Barnett, Adrienne CN Berry, Mary Jane Regalado, Pearie Sol, and Daniele Yandel, all of whom have served time in other bands but merge together seamlessly into this collective. While the primary aesthetic is joyful and dance-inducing, Gauche's lyrics reflect our troubling times. This is not escapist music; in fact, one of the album's strengths is the energy the band generates from their anger and the directness of their perspective.

"Cycles" attacks the inhumanity and inanities of our news cycle: "reading all about it" Regalado sings, "Have they found the bodies / What about their mothers?" Meanwhile, "Pay Day" offers up the reality faced by so many in our allegedly improving (for who?) economy: "I know I can't survive like this!" in a cathartic, danceable package. The sentiment is amplified in "Running": "I'm running out of options / And I'm tired of feeling empty-handed."

In "History", an album highlight, Regalado reflects upon a historical narrative that privileges male voices and often erases women's contributions, particularly in the sciences, her voice expresses a century of female frustration as she brays "It wasn't him / It was ME! / It was MEEEE!" The rawness in her voice is both convincing and beautiful.

Like impolite guests who may or may not have been formally invited to the party, they make an impactful entrance that guarantees people will be talking long after the final wine stain gets washed out of the good linens. A People's History of Gauche is an uplifting and thoughtful album amidst its ample dance grooves.





Ivy Mix's 'Spirits of Latin America' Evokes the Ancestors

A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".


Contemporary Urbanity and Blackness in 'New Jack City'

Hood films are a jarring eviction notice for traditional Civil Rights rhetoric and, possibly, leadership -- in other words, "What has the Civil Rights movement done for me lately?"


'How to Handle a Crowd' Goes to the Moderators

Anika Gupta's How to Handle a Crowd casts a long-overdue spotlight on the work that goes into making online communities enjoyable and rewarding.


Regis' New LP Reaffirms His Gift for Grinding Industrial Terror

Regis' music often feels so distorted, so twisted out of shape, even the most human moments feel modular. Voices become indistinguishable from machines on Hidden in This Is the Light That You Miss.


DMA's Go for BritElectroPop on 'The Glow'

Aussie Britpoppers the DMA's enlist Stuart Price to try their hand at electropop on The Glow. It's not their best look.


On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.


Considering the Legacy of Deerhoof with Greg Saunier

Working in different cities, recording parts as MP3s, and stitching them together, Deerhoof once again show total disregard for the very concept of genre with their latest, Future Teenage Cave Artists.


Joshua Ray Walker Is 'Glad You Made It'

Texas' Joshua Ray Walker creates songs on Glad You Made It that could have been on a rural roadhouse jukebox back in the 1950s. Their quotidian concerns sound as true now as they would have back then.


100 gecs Remix Debut with Help From Fall Out Boy, Charli XCX and More

100 gecs' follow up their debut with a "remix album" stuffed with features, remixes, covers, and a couple of new recordings. But don't worry, it's just as blissfully difficult as their debut.


What 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Taught Me About Unlearning Toxic Masculinity

When I first came out as trans, I desperately wanted acceptance and validation into the "male gender", and espoused negative beliefs toward my femininity. Avatar: The Last Airbender helped me transcend that.


Nu Deco Ensemble and Kishi Bashi Remake "I Am the Antichrist to You" (premiere + interview)

Nu Deco Ensemble and Kishi Bashi team up for a gorgeous live performance of "I Am the Antichrist to You", which has been given an orchestral renovation.


Rock 'n' Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.