Still Bones Are Distinct and Cathartic On New LP “Dopeful”
Still Bones is an emerging band based in Baltimore, MD. Their guitar-driven indie rock blends in elements of emo, shoegaze, and alt rock to arrive at a sound that’s both familiar and distinct. Diving head first into the studio, John Gamble performed vocals, guitars, bass, and keys on the record and enlisted John Burkhardt (Thunder Club) to play drums.
Still Bones’s debut LP, Dopeful, is an ode to apathy, self-doubt, and blind optimism. Alternating from spacious and delicate to thick and boisterous, even raucous at times, the instrumentation captures a dynamic range of musical expression. Engineered and mixed by Sean Mercer (Teen Suicide/American Pleasure Club, Us And Us Only) at Magpie Cage in Baltimore, Dopeful weaves expert production with an indie ethos and serves as a cathartic introduction to Still Bones.
“I’ve always been a lead guitarist, but Dopeful is my first real attempt at full-fledged songwriting. I had been kicking around song ideas for years and even had a handful of demos when, like many people, COVID-19 forced me into pseudo hibernation for most of 2020. I used that time to refine ideas, solidify demos, and then hit the studio. I was familiar with making records within a band context but not so much on my own, so it was really great to be able to bounce ideas off Sean throughout the process. I’ve always wanted to start a band where I was the primary songwriter so being able to release this LP is very exciting for me. It also serves as a proof of concept when it comes to filling out the Still Bones lineup.“
Although this is his first foray as a frontman and primary songwriter, John has been a lead guitarist in several bands over the years. Most notably, as a member of Philadelphia-based indie punk band Sister City, he shared the stage with several established underground acts (Modern Baseball, Sorority Noise, The Hotelier, Tiny Moving Parts, Slaughter Beach, Dog, among others). What began as a solo project is growing into a full band with plans of booking shows to promote Dopeful, now that COVID restrictions are gradually lifting.
“Because these songs were written, and in some cases re-written, over the course of several years, there are some interesting contrasts between the tracks. There are certainly common themes throughout, both lyrically and musically, but I think it’s cool to have a record compiled of material written by both my younger self and my current self. Part of me feels like working on some of these songs over a long period of time caused me to overthink things but, on the flip side, the fact that I could work on them on and off for years without hating them is a good sign, right?“
“Gamble is able to transform his sad moments into something triumphant.”VENTS Magazine
“Dopeful has the nostalgic feel of early 2000’s indie rock while also bringing new sounds to the table Still Bones sets the tone that they are ready and willing to stake their claim in the alternative scene.”Alt Revue