Inspired by the rhythmic grooves of ESG, the dopey drawl of Jonathan Richman, and manic energy of The Fall, Gustaf’s live set is quick on its feet, constantly in flux, and obsessively catered to the people in the room, resulting in a sound that is emotive, androgynous, and infectiously danceable.
Comprised of Tine Hill (bass), Vram Kherlopian (guitar), Melissa Lucciola (drums), Tarra Thiessen (vocals, percussion), and Lydia Gammill (lead vocals), Gustaf got its start in 2018 when Thiessen recruited Gammill to help drive her van down to SXSW. When Thiessen’s original tour fell through, Gammill suggested pulling a band together to play in their place. With little more than a name and a handful of t-shirts, they hit the ground running, playing hundreds of shows in their first two years and earning a reputation as one of New York’s “hardest working...and most reliably fun bands” (Brooklyn Vegan).
Finding early champions in all quarters, they caught the attention of luminaries like Beck and Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant - who had the band open for him at a secret loft party - and secured opening slots for buzzing indie acts like Omni, Tropical Fuck Storm, Dehd and New York no wave legends like James Chance and Martin Revv without any recordings to their name. They quickly earned acclaim from outlets such as Oh My Rockness, who touted, “Listen, if Gustaf is playing a late night basement show somewhere, or on a rickety roof, or in someone's shitty apartment, or just at some regular old music venue...you should make all the necessary arrangements and go.”
Gustaf’s debut full-length album, Audio Drag For Ego Slobs, out October 1st 2021 on Royal Mountain Records (Wild Pink, Alvvays, U.S. Girls), is a culmination of lessons learned on the stage and in the studio. The album is a collection of anxious affirmations, existential dread, and blind joy. Recorded at the Honey Jar Studio in Brooklyn with Carlos Hernandez (Ava Luna, Sneaks, Mr. Twin Sister) and co-produced by Hernandez and Gammill, it follows last year’s Mine 7-inch, the band’s first recorded material and a release that immediately garnered attention from outlets like NME and NPR who dubbed the band one of 2021’s emerging artists, as well as BBC 6 Music who added the release to regular rotation.
"Melancholy ’80s post-punk and the molten distortion of ’90s grunge, brutally heavy but dreamy at the margins." LA Times
"Nine songs, 26 minutes: The debut album from Kills Birds is a furious, fuzzy bombshell." New York Times
"Bosnian-born singer Nina Ljeti is...a woman who won’t be erased. Her power-punching trio matches her fury and her finesse between outbursts on this short, sharp, shock of a debut album." Chicago Tribune
"Their sophomore album Married (recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606) is the unapologetic zinger we’ve all been waiting for. From first listen, it’s clear the only thing they’re killing is any chance of anonymity." SPIN