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A biography is generally about the past; however, with Gary Reynolds it’s very much about the present. Gary is currently putting the finishing touches on his third album which is the boldest and brightest musical statement so far. Gary’s personal biography goes back over 15 years.

Gary Reynolds is a songwriter, musician, engineer, producer, and all-around musical monster. Born in Texas, Gary began his first musical incarnation in NYC feeding off his 8 track recorder. Naturally he soon began to seek out musicians and as a result led a few bands through the NYC club scene. During this time Gary experimented with punk, pop, rock, funk and soul as he began to find his musical identity. These were great experiences but the band always felt secondary to the center of Gary’s creative life, his solo albums.

Gary then moved back to Texas and began crafting his solo album. Upon completion he gathered musicians to take the show on the road and embarked on an East Coast Tour. The tour was successful and the band began to gather notoriety. Eager to get a CD release the band entered the studio with the idea of writing new material. The music drifted in several directions and so did the musicians involved. Gary soon headed back to NYC.

thomas-covenantUnder the name Thomas Covenant, Gary finally released his solo, now acoustic, album. Once again Gary put a band together for the live shows. At the time Gary relied on playing shows and word-of-mouth to get his music distributed. Gary eventual found some representation and the band headed back into the studio for a full release. Once again the band aspect of Gary’s music headed into different directions and the final product was never released. Gary needed a change and packed his bags for Seattle.

It was during this time that the first incarnations of “Instant Happiness” began. Gary moved to the Fremont area of Seattle where he setup his studio. Most of his time was spent helping other bands in the studio as an engineer and producer. Gary’s music was evolving; he was focused on his solo project. His past musical experiences helped develop the lush orchestral pop sound that was at the heart of Gary’s music. His studio was also becoming a success and he soon relocated and established Electrokitty Studio in the Wallingford area of Seattle. The artists that came into this studio were vast, but that’s for another story.

Gary was now ready for what would be his first official album release. Looking to separate himself from past success, Gary was now “Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity”. Self-produced by Reynolds and mixed by Robbie Adams (U2, Smashing Pumpkins), Instant Happiness was released on Electrokitty Records with its thick gospel hand-claps, piccolo trumpet, choral backups, strings, infectious hooks and unforgettable grit. While various session players have historically contributed to Gary’s recorded work, the vision was clearly his. The album received glowing reviews from the soaring piano-driven choruses on the title track “Instant Happiness” to the back wood swing of “Lonely Interlude” and the delicate thick progression of “Here We Go Again”. Instant Happiness also received a substantial amount of college radio air play.

instant-happiness

A band was formed and “The Brides” hit the road to support Instant Happiness. These were by far the larger venues and audiences Gary had reached to date. The album released in 2006 went through its first 1000 pressings and The Brides received rave reviews.

Upon returning to Seattle, Gary already had a volume of songs to choose from and was eager to release a follow-up. The four piece band entered the studio and crafted a new album. The second release on Electrokitty Records in 2008 builds on the broad and colorful range of sounds that were so evident on the first release. “Santiago’s Vest” with it insanely catchy songs, lush vocal harmonies, guitar lines that attach themselves to the inner workings of your cerebellum and sparse productions made a welcome breath of fresh air for this sophomore release.

The album however received mixed reviews as the overall sound dipped in different directions and didn’t have the cohesiveness of the debut. It seemed a trend in Gary’s writing legacy as this album started as a four piece band versus a solo project. The musicianship on the sophomore release is outstanding and perhaps better performed than Gary’s previous efforts. The creative process of a band can take a few incarnations before a true “sound” is created. The live show on the other hand was simply amazing. Working with material from both albums, The Brides went on tour once again and truly started to develop their own vibe.

santiagos-vestDuring this time Gary lost a musician, band mate and true friend tragically. This ultimately changed the future plans for The Brides as the band faded and Gary took some time off.

Songwriting is an incredibly intuitive additive process. Gary spent the next few years as a studio manager, no longer engineering or producing. His song ideas continued to be captured on iPhone voice memos and he tried a few digital releases with a song a week campaign but no real direction. With a vault of ideas, Gary began formulating his next move.

 

The “True Brides” were formed as Gary put together a band with female musicians. It was quite the extravaganza as a whole new flair to his live show took off. The flamboyant music presentation added the fun aspect of music back into Gary’s life. This “refresh” brought new life to Gary’s next musical direction.

Music is at the heart of everything Gary does and with a new outlook he has begun to take his brand of bouncy piano pop to an entirely new level. Focused, and now stripped of “The Brides of Obscurity” or “Thomas Covenant”, Gary is back as simply Gary Reynolds and is working on his next solo album.

First Gary takes a step back and presents Volume One. Gary has partnered with and literally dumped his entire music collection into the hands of flameproofmusic. Together the vaults have been opened and the stage is set for a bridge to Gary’s future release. While Gary admits himself he has taken his music in all directions, Volume One represents this pure song writing journey. Songs can start on a piano, acoustic guitar, a rehearsal room, a studio, airplane, car – it doesn’t matter. The essence of a great song is the song itself.

Volume One is a collection of just that, great songs by Gary Reynolds.

volume-one

 

Summer EP

 

After a successful release of Volume One at the beginning of 2013, Gary releases his Summer EP.

“After a taking a break for 5 years and releasing Volume One (a compilation of my first two albums plus several unreleased tracks), I realized with Facebook, Twitter and the whole social media scene, there was a whole new fan base hearing this music for the first time. While I put the finishing touches on my third studio album, this Summer EP is a collection of straight up rock tunes for those summer drives. This is also the EP sent over to FX that ended up getting -I Wanna Go Home- featured on the TV hit series Legit” – Gary Reynolds.

The 4 song EP includes the tracks; Golden Rules, You Are What You See, Silver Spoon and I Wanna Go Home. It will be released on July 16th and will include the digital download of the album Volume One.

Volume One

 

Gary Reynolds returns in 2013 ready to rock. Volume One features 14 tracks of pure Gary Reynolds – heavy pop leaning mixed with indie psychedelic rock. Volume One is a collection of songs from Gary’s past two albums plus many unreleased tracks all remastered for Volume One.

“The atmosphere and feeling on the record make it feel like it came from the UK in the late 70s, but it sounds fresh. It serves as a tribute to the musical heritage of some fantastic bands and artists – think Velvet Underground’s piano/organ sounds, Bowie’s structure or lack thereof, with some fantastic guitar work thrown in.” -TheShrevest

AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT SEATTLE RECORDS STORES | SONIC BOOM | SILVER PLATTERS

Press

 

The Shrevest

Gary Reynolds presents quite an interesting listen in his second solo record. His voice harkens reminders of Ed Roland (Collective Soul), Ian Webber (The Tender Idols, The Idyllists), Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen), and Elliott Smith. Yes, throw some singing from those four into a blender, and it’s likely to come out as Gary Reynolds. The music on Volume One is a nice, smooth blend of college and indie rock with some pop rock tossed in to keep things catchy. full review >>>

Chad Wolfe

This morning I drove through country gravel roads full of fog and rain to get to a job of clutter and noise, and Gary Reynolds collection Volume One was contemplative, patient, and melancholic enough—it is a sexy record, deliberate and so full of heart that it provided the perfect early morning drive soundtrack to get there. Volume One is anything but cluttered or noisy. There are experimentation’s with electricity for sure— re-verb, pedals, and amps. The scratch and hum of amplification. But it is a controlled chaos—so controlled that at times this listener wishes Reynolds would unleash his demons more heavily, and let the amplification rock to force all of us to run for cover. full review >>>

Phil’s Rock Reviews

It’s never too late to try and get back out there. After a five year hiatus, Gary Reynolds has returned to the music scene with the release of his first album in as many years, and shows that he has certainly not forgotten how to write a song. Also produced and engineered by the man himself, Gary comes swinging with strong heartfelt lyrics over a number of tracks with obvious strong inspiration from past masters in the music business, such as late 60’s Beatles-esque pop with early 70’s soft rock. Even a feint glimpse of 90’s alternative era influence can be heard, specifically in lieu of a band like Oasisfull review >>>

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The first thing to love about singer-songwriter Gary Reynolds is that he sounds just like John Lennon. Just like him. The songs themselves continue the Lennon aesthetic of smart pop structures, keen, peppery musicianship and an easy, speak-sing voice that can go up or down to emphasize any point. Lyrically, “Santiago” leans toward clear narratives, little story-songs with catchy choruses and hard, spiky edges. The peaks…build sturdy and succinct jams into the songs, which resemble gritty Americana with tendencies toward surprising, hard-rock moments.

Performer Magazine

… strong pop songwriting; free of filler, any of these songs could easily be considered single-worthy… if you could write pop songs as catchy as The Brides’ Gary Reynolds, you’d probably be writing love songs to yourself, too.

IndieMusic.com by Jennifer Layton

I was enthralled by this. And I don’t use that word a lot. If the CD title Instant Happiness rings of John Lennon’s Instant Karma, I’m guessing it’s intentional. This is the album Lennon, David Bowie, and the Electric Light Orchestra would compose if locked in a studio together. The one-minute instrumental opener serves as the perfect mood-setter: a classical orchestra pit warm-up, at first traditional and somber, becomes warped and psychedelic after some tweaking in the studio. Buckle in, folks. We’re going to fly. Reynolds even sounds like Lennon, yearning and a little British (per his web site, he’s American). Each song on the CD casts a different spell, but one slides smoothly into the next, a tapestry of lush, full, beautifully orchestrated pop music. Songs like the title track rise like a wave, swirling, flowing, enveloping. Others, like “Landslide or Hurricane,” offer a drawling, swaggering, almost leering vocal delivery, and it’s darkly delicious. “Living By Myself” also offers a more aggressive delivery combined with a more raw rock and roll influence, but the blending of the orchestra keeps it magical. Whether he’s in a trippy or a confrontational mood, it all still feels like a dream you can touch. The most interesting track, and my personal favorite, is “The Food Song,” and not just because the of the sensual menu contained in the lyrics. (Let’s just say you’ll either head for the refrigerator or want to lick someone’s fingers.) This song uses a wide range of instruments yet maintains a minimalist sound by keeping them spread out. It’s quiet and delicate, yet we get percussion, then a string section, then a mournful bass clarinet, just never all at once. It’s a classically gorgeous and intriguing sound.This CD is a perfect dream. Somewhere, Lennon is smiling.

BabySue by LMNOP

Gary Reynolds writes and records pop music that is strangely reminiscent of the genius of Neil Innes. Unlike a lot of underground artists, Reynolds and The Brides of Obscurity produce timeless classic pop that is highly melodic and surprisingly accessible. Combining some of the best elements of British pop from the 1970s and 1980s with a modern updated sound, these guys have an approach that is remarkably clear and direct. Lyrics are not buried underneath walls of noise. You can hear every word and every syllable in these tunes. Fortunate…because the lyrics are intelligent and insightful. Throughout all fourteen tracks on this album, Reynolds and his associates provide music that evokes…instant happiness. Top picks: “Instant Happiness,” “On The Radio,” “Telephone Girl,” ”The Happy Day Jamboree Revival.”

Racket Magazine by Abe Gastelum

The album Santiago’s Vest really shows you what “pop rock” is. These days we have bands that try to say they are “pop” and, well, those bands need to take tips from this band.

Vinyl Fanatics

Its a quirky mixture of sonically interesting experimentation and big big choruses. Its mainly guitar and percussion driven but brings in plenty of organ and some Cello to keep things off the beaten track. Musically its a very interesting album. There are a wide variety of styles and/or influences. Its cinematic at times, straight ahead rock at others. Possibly the closest match is Supergrass with the same shared love of sixties influences and harmonies. And organ! There are musical twists and inflexions all over which keep the listener interested.

Aiding & Abetting #269 by Jon Worley

The title track is absolutely brilliant, a wondrous little piano-pop supernova. The rest of the album kinda veers between okay and pretty damned good. A little more consistency and I might not be able to control myself.

Three Imaginary Girls by Chris Estey

In 2001, released a singer-songwriter compilation record on small indie Electrokitty, with other underground pop songwriters including Peter Bongiorno, Dan Cohen, and Rene Gosch. Otherwise, he seems to have been wood-shedding his brand of terse but catchy tune-crafting, the best examples here being the defensively-single “Living By Myself” (reminiscent of John Hiatt’s cranky odes to bachelorhood), and the melancholic Candy Butchers-style cracked-confessional pop of “Instant Happiness. The ode to splintered friendship “Elijah,” with its nice string-laden fade-out, is particularly affecting. The sensual oddity “The Food Song” is also notable, layered with tasty lines about consumable passion. There is a great album in Reynolds, and while Instant Happiness may not be it yet, I’m sure it will come — he has a playful, accessible style that would make you want to listen to anything he sings. He seems prolific enough that lesser songs like “Telephone Girl” will fall to the bottom of the pile as he keeps working out his salvation through songcraft. From his almost-perfect John Lennon-style vocal melodies, lyrics of clarity, and ability to make the piano a lead instrument without it being all prim like those keyboard-based hacks on VH-1, I look forward to what Reynolds will be delivering in the future. In the meantime, there’s plenty of occasional tracks here to enjoy, and I bet his live shows are ones to remember.

 

Releases

 

Instant Happiness on Electrokitty Records

Gary Reynolds has been making lush, orchestral classic pop under several monikers in several cities for over a decade. Reynolds need to create, record, play and work is infallible  and for good reason: his gift for borrowing the soaring, touching hooks of late 60s George Harrison and appropriating the whimsy of Bowie with his own distinct, often pessimistic touch of blues is undeniable.

Santiago’s Vest on Electrokitty Records

Bridging the gap between power-pop, shoegazer, and Brit-pop, Seattle’s Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity bring forth a melodic, folk-and-rock brand of pop that can be swooning and crushing, often at the same time. Hook-laden and relaxing, here is a pop record that knows history and the architect of the design, but still sounds modern, breathing fresh air in to a sea of imitators and pop-school dropouts. A classic pop record from the new millennium.

Volume One on flameproofmusic

Volume One features 14 tracks of pure Gary Reynolds – heavy pop leaning mixed with indie psychedelic rock. Volume One is a collection of songs from Gary’s past two albums plus many unreleased tracks all remastered for Volume One.

instanthappiness     santiagosvest     volume-one

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Swag

 

Grab a t-shirt!

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Multiple color selections & sizes. Select the image above or visit the Store >>>

Volume One Summer EP

Golden Rules

Volume One Summer EP

I Wanna Go Home

Volume One

Want

Volume One

Paula My Dear

Volume One

Lay It Down On Me

Volume One

Instant Happiness

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