Jacco Gardner Hypnotizes the Echo

Jacco Gardner by Matt MatasciLos Angeles – Though outside The Echo the temperatures had fallen a few degrees from their scorching mid-day high by Jacco Gardner’s late 11:30 start time, the venue’s ancient cooling system still failed to provide relief inside the packed club. Thank goodness Gardner specializes in a brand of baroque pop that is not really meant to get the audience moving around – had the night’s performer been a more raucous punk band, the venue might have burned (or melted) to the ground. Instead, music fans were treated to a lengthy set of tracks that cover much of the Dutch singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s discography, particularly his latest release Hypnophobia. 

Earlier this year in anticipation of Gardner’s most recent full-length release, Best New Bands’ Will Jukes had a chance to chat with him at South by Southwest. The two talked about The Zombies, Syd Barrett, and Gardner’s decision to branch out as a solo artist after years as a member of The Skywalkers.

Jacco Gardner first hit the independent music scene with 2013’s well-received Cabinet of Curiosities, a fanciful psychedelic adventure that showcased his ear for classic harmonies and extravagant instrumentation. His most recent release for Polyvinyl Records saw the artist making few changes to his signature sound – in a live setting it was at times difficult to discern between his older songs and these brand-new tracks. Throughout the set, Gardner and his band of four instrumentalists offered bursts of pure paisley pop in impressive fashion.

It only took a couple of songs for the band to launch into the first single from Hypnophobia, the hooky, jangling “Find Yourself”. With Gardner strumming and mumbling away into the microphone, his backing band’s lush harpsichord-led sound transported the audience back to a time when leather fringe and tie-dye bandanas were all the rage. While not all of the songs in his set were as memorable as “Find Yourself”, they did present a very similar musical aesthetic.

As the band delved deeper and deeper into Gardner’s back catalog, the audience’s excitement grew more and more palpable – while nobody was in full-on dance-trance, the crowd hypnotically swayed along to the soothing baroque pop songs. It is surprising that Gardner’s star has not risen quite as high as some of his neo-psychedelic contemporaries. Tracks like “Clear the Air” from Cabinet of Curiosities demonstrate Gardner can write a song as intriguing and tuneful as soon-to-be-legendary Ty Segall’s Sleeper or the critically-acclaimed Foxygen’s …And Star Power.

Jacco Gardner and his backing band will have a busy summer and autumn touring the world. In July, the band has several dates across the southern United States, eventually heading north to New York City on July 12. They then head across the Atlantic to play in several countries on the European continent, including Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, Finland, and of course Gardner’s home-country of The Netherlands. Finally, in September the band will tour the United Kingdom, and head back to the European continent in November.

There are lots of chances to catch Jacco Gardner live in the upcoming months, check their Facebook page for more information!

Matt Matasci

Matt Matasci

Perhaps it was years of listening to the eclectic and eccentric programming of KPIG-FM with his dad while growing up on the Central Coast of California, but Matt Matasci has always rebuffed mainstream music while seeking unique and under-the-radar artists.Like so many other Californian teenagers in the 90s and 00s, he first started exploring the alternative music world through Fat Wreck Chords skate-punk.This simplistic preference eventually matured into a more diverse range of tastes - from the spastic SST punk of Minutemen to the somber folk-tales of Damien Jurado, and even pulverizing hardcore from bands like Converge.He graduated from California Lutheran University with a BA in journalism.Matt enjoys spending his free time getting angry at the Carolina Panthers, digging through the dollar bin at Amoeba, and taking his baby daughter to see the Allah-Lahs at the Santa Monica Pier.
Matt Matasci