This past weekend, NYC’s GIFT celebrated their debut album, Momentary Presence (Dedstrange), with an album release show at Brooklyn’s Sultan Room. And just like the last time I saw them, opening for Frankie and the Witch Fingers (see you coverage), they took us on a wild rocket ride fueled by their own brand of psychedelic dream pop. Or as Rolling Stone described it, “a portal to another dimension.”
Fronted by vocalist/guitarist TJ Freda and hailing from Brooklyn, the band also includes Jessica Gurewitz on guitar, Kallan Campbell on bass, Justin Hrabvosky on keys, and Cooper Naess on drums. Referencing the idea of a ‘gift’ being a present and taking a spin on that to mean being present, the name was inspired by Ram Dass’ Be Here Now. That idea of being present is carried into the themes found on Presence. And while it certainly deals with all the pressures, anxieties, and self-doubt we face, no doubt exacerbated by the isolation brought on by the pandemic, it also celebrates that the gift it is to be alive.
Gift at Sultan Room
GIFT’s music has been described as psych, psych pop, dream pop, and so on. And while I certainly hear nods to 90’s shoegaze/dream pop acts like Lush, Cocteau Twins, and Curve (who ironically have a song called “Gift”), their sound is their own. Along with the dreamy vocals, dense layers, heavy reverb and so on, there’s a more propulsive, guitar driven sound as evidenced in songs like “Gumball Garden,” “Dune,” and “Here and Now (Time Floats By).” There are of course some dream pop nuggets like “Share the Present,” “Pez” and “Lost for You” that nicely round out the album.
Also on the bill was Psymon Spine and The Lovenauts who got the crowd revved up and in the case of Spine, had the whole room dancing by sets end. Definitely two bands to have on your radar when they’re playing in your area.
Check out GIFT’s amazing new album, Momentary Presence, which is available for download now with a vinyl release scheduled for January 27, 2023.
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kevin McGann)