Magnet Magazine 1998

The Gerbils
"Are you Sleepy"
By Jud Cost

Since you've undoubtedly missed the boat on those early vinyl collectibles from Neutral Milk Hotel and The Apples In Stereo, the Gerbils are giving you a leg up with their own product. This 36-minute CD from Neutral Milk horn player Scott Spillane and drummer Jeremy Barnes - aided by NMH utility infielders John D'Azzo and Will Westbrook - adds two 1996 singles to "Are You Sleepy," a five-song, cassette-only release, and fleshes things out with a couple more sonic oddities. If that doesn't make your head swim, the music certainly will. As might be expected, the Gerbils sound more like Jeff Magnum's noisy aggregation than the other Ruston seed bands, with Spillane's pixie-like vocals taking the place of Magnum's growl. "Box of Crayons," however, is sung by an uncredited woman, probably Magnum's girlfriend Laura Carter, who plays a mean zanzithophone in another E6 group, Elf Power. The song's lyrics are so hip they're bound to seem embarrassing once the Elephant 6 backlash begins: "How could you go out and watch the show without me?/You know that Portastatic is still my favorite band/I left you behind this time/Even though I know that Sebadoh is still your favorite band." It still sounds pretty cool this week, though.