Gee Tee – Gee Tee Tour Tape
12.21.22 by Matty McPherson
I came out of pit retirement for Gee Tee. I do have an overreactive gag reflex that often hinders any necessity to mosh. But when in Memphis for Gonerfest and the men from Australia, “where the beer flows like wine,” are on stage, anything can happen. And well I’d lose a pair of leggings somehow and almost crowdsurf like a doofus.
I do not know what energy is emanating out of the state of Tennessee that it can produce arguably the two strongest independent music festivals in all of the Continental US. Knoxville, TN’s Big Ears in Spring is a stately communion. A global meeting of particular sorts of crate digger and private press enthusiasts that descended upon the downtown for the chance to hear a bro whip out a laptop and drone it out or see Meredith Monk play vocal games. Rarely though, does the festival reward the same kind of crate digger and private press enthusiast that exists in the Gonerfest circuit–which itself is a global meeting of a punk-continuum that truly showcases the state of affairs for Goner and many labels within its orbit. Big Ears has you in bed by 11:30 PM if you so please. Gonerfest suggests you walk 3 miles stoned off a weed tonic, grab a late night Rueben, and head to a dive bar to catch showcase at 1:00 AM.
If that sounds old fashioned and dangerous, well that was the predominate energy Gonerfest tapped into pre-COVID . Late night red-eye punk showcases of frantic nervy jitters have been corralled to afterparties though, as a post-COVID move to the Railgarten has given the festival a newfound lease on the daytime. The ample amount of food and beverage options (including a gas station where you can buy unfathomably cheap craft beer that uses the finest water in the Continental US) gave Gonerfest’s centralized midtown location a colossal bout of energy and efficiency. Few shows ran late and only half of one band cancelled (the BBQ Show component of King Khan caught COVID; there were replaced by the Oblivions in a wildly rough and fun, borderline practice session). It slightly drizzled. We saw hardcore punk stalwarts Negative Approach close a song right as a lightning struck with cosmic coincidence. I made new friends. I met old compatriots I’ve talked shop with online.
Trends of sorts do emerge if you pay close attention; both in the lineup AND at the merch tables, which were flush with tour tapes this time around. Gee Tee’s fanbase erred younger than most at Gonerfest. These fellas were a colossal draw for Friday and arguably were the definitive act of the day/festival (if you had missed Freak Genes in any capacity). Gee Tee have an album coming to vinyl on Goner Records. Yet, due to pressing delays and like MANY bands, they’ve decided to reward the tape community with it first. And goodness gracious, what an absolute wrecker of a tape these kooks seemed to have cranked out. And I did grab at least 8 of these various tour tapes, but words don’t come easy nor often enough to express why THIS release is built different from the rest.
In fact, I honestly didn’t quite realize it myself until I heard an exceptional power pop cassette release you can buy from a major indie label (hint: it’s the one about “blue alcopop” and it comes on a smoky gray cassette; idk why they used that shell). I do enjoy “Blue Alcopop,” but I’m sticking my guns with Gee Tee’s deeply fried style of power pop as the best display of raw talent and veracity. Their pals in Research Reactor Corp also had a tour tape that plays along the same lines of “HAM radio vocals, kitchen-synth, dishwasher guitar n’ bass, and coffee grinder percussive” that sounds like it was recorded in a mouse box and plays to a one-track mindset. Gee Tee’s is just slightly more polished and takes the edge.
Gee Tee goes deep in the red, plays about ten cuts that all sound borderline identical, but also totally raw-dog masterful. It’s cathartic stuff that “lo-fi garage” doesn’t quite surmise. Brute force shit that carries an absolutely unvarnished punchdrunk-pop quality that was made for smooching deep within the chaos of a mosh pit. They repeatedly make their synth sound like mythical “lottery noises” (not the “Blue Alcopop” song, the sound effect), especially on Within the Walls and 40K, special kinds of jukebox wonder. And good god that’s all I wanted at the end of the day when searching for the best punk I could hear all year.
Again, you’ll probably have to do some shenanigans or politely mail a letter of sorts to the Gee Tee world hq down in Sydney, Australia–“where the beer flows like wine”–if you want a tape. These songs are coming supposedly next year (late ’22 was not on the table as hoped), and at least Stuck Down and Rock Phone (as well as non-album cut Someone Else) are available as a righteous, economical digital at the moment.