“You have got to hear this album.”
That’s how it started. Isn’t that how it always starts? I’d been waxing poetic on my schoolgirl crush on Justin Vernon, better known to some as Bon Iver, better known to others as the hottest fella to wear too-revealing shorts during Pitchfork 2009, when my friend John Brunner told me about Gayngs. Little did I know what would happen next.
Gayngs is a Midwestern band to be reckoned with, a tour de force of over twenty of Wisconsin and Minnesota’s finest, from P.O.S. to Dessa to, yes, Justin Vernon, and it’s all the brainchild of Ryan Olson. Naturally, the moment I heard of Vernon’s involvement I was in. However, when John told me a bit about the record, I was no longer just “in”. I was “all in”. Apparently, one of John’s friends had been spinning Gayngs at the record store he works at. All the gentlemen who heard the album were appalled by the sheer raunchiness of it. The ladies, however, became instantly weak in the knees. That, I feel, is the most appropriate reaction to debut LP Relayted. Despite nary a “dirty word” appearing on the LP, the songs play out at 69 beats per minute and the album’s sheer seductiveness is, quite frankly, incomparable.
Sure, songs can be sexy; songs can flirtatious; songs can explicitly talk about sexual acts of various natures but never once has song, let alone an entire album, physically turned me on. That is, until Gayngs (quite literally) came into my life. Within moments of procuring Relayted and putting down the proverbial digital needle on the opening song, I found my mouth agape and goosebumps raising upon my body. In my two plus years as a music journalist, I had heard a lot of records but never had I heard anything like Gayngs and I’ll probably never hear anything like it again.
Something magical happened when Gayngs was conceived and it’s impossible to discern exactly how it all came about. Even if Olson himself attempted to recount the story to me, I’d probably hush him because part of the allure of Gayngs is the mystery of how it is that such explicitly lustful bedroom music came to be. Listening to Relayted is like having your first sexual experience resulting in an orgasm. Sure, you’d been turned on before, but never before have you felt anything like this. “The Gaudy Side Of Town” seduces you gently, wrapping around you like smoke before dissipating into “The Walker”, a song which ups the ante with a kicky hook that doesn’t just permeate your eardrums, but permeates areas which, well, music just doesn’t usually permeate. “The Walker”, in turn, seamlessly carries you into a cover of Godley & Creme’s “Cry”, which tempts you to venture to “No Sweat” and before you know it, Gayngs has changed something inside of you, going deeper into than you ever thought a record could and making you realize there’s a whole other level of physicality that most music can’t compare to.
After falling for Gayngs, I fervently recommended it to friend after friend, telling them that this record will get you laid. There’s no doubt about it. Pop open a bottle of wine and put Relayted on as your loved one walks into your respective house or apartment. I’m willing to bet something will be penetrated before “The Gaudy Side Of Town”‘s seven minutes is up. In fact, I’ve made it my personal goal to let Gayngs get me laid before the year is up. I’ve also told a number of my fellow gayng members that they will be receiving a text message telling them when I’ve completed that particular dream. So, when @Gayngs themselves @ replied me on twitter one day, after mentioning the dirty things their record made me want to do, telling me to “do my thayng” and “be proud”, you can probably imagine the elated-slash-aroused emotion I found myself rapt with.
To be quite honest, Gayngs recent Jimmy Fallon performance was the best sexual release I’ve had in many months, not because I was doing anything remotely sexual whilst watching Olson and his Midwestern comrades but rather because it’s just that good. Even I, with my extensive Gayngs love, was not prepared for what the band offered up when Sean Moeller, Daytrotter’s fearless founder, and accompaniest David Vandervelde joined the gayng in Wisconsin to record the sexiest thing ever put to tape. To quote Vandervelde himself, “It’s like music for sex people. You’re all just sex people.”
I never was a “sex person”. I was always a “mope” person, who found catharsis in the kind of music that detailed heartache and loneliness but then I met Gayngs. And now, here I stand before you, a woman, having finally found a band worthy of taking my “sex music” v-card and I can guarantee that if you let Relayted enter your life, you’ll be a “sex person” too.
For more from Amber and her fine team of sex persons (including Indie College’s own Mylynda Nellermoe), check out Radio Free Chicago.