Gator – “Full Moon”


At around two minutes long, Gator’s “Full Moon” is a concisely effective track with ample variation shown in that timespan. Nonchalant vocals to start give the sense of awakening with weary confusion, apt considering the lyrics. 00:20 sees the vocals shift more to a Bowie-like theatrical quiver, making for a very intriguing sound amidst the sitar-y effect and then the blast of guitar-based distortion. Ample melodic and structural variation are apparent in the first minute alone. The “I look up/down,” bit with the ascending vocals is an excellent driver into the track’s conclusion.

Gator’s origins trace back to a period 2014 from 2016 in San Francisco, where the band played at notable venues such as the Milk Bar, as well as underground shows. Though Gator has been dormant since 2016, the band recorded a sizable amount of material, much of which was eventually incorporated into the recently-released Gator album. Alumni of Gator went on to join or found many bands in a variety of genres throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and in Berlin, including Cloud Kinski, the Silk Road Truckers, and Hooded Youth.

The act’s stylistic pursuit was primarily in the realm of “swamp metal” — specifically, the ’70s hard rock/early metal sound of Black Sabbath meets the swampy New Orleans blues of Dr. John, with punk-inspired stream-of-consciousness vocals. “Try Try Try” and “Got a Woman” are most indicative of this aesthetic.

Showing a more eclectic side, “Full Moon” evokes late-night psychedelia with exhilarating success. The band elaborates on the track further below:

Unlike the rest of the songs on the album, “Full Moon” was not fully written by the time we started recording it – we had the chords and a few lines of lyrics but that was it, and we’d never performed it live. We had a couple hours of studio time left over after we’d recorded everything else and decided to record the instrumental parts of “Full Moon” just for the hell of it (and it’s very fortunate that we did). Later, when Joseph and I were tracking his vocals for the album, we were trying to finish the lyrics for “Full Moon” but hit a bad case of writer’s block. We stepped outside and called a taxi to take us a nearby bar, but accidentally got into the wrong car. It was the night of a supermoon, and the taxi driver kept talking about the full moon nonstop (completely unprompted by us), explaining the mystical effects he felt that the moon had on people. “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” by DMX was playing on the radio, and the driver started saying “Let the full moon riders roam”, over and over. We were able to quickly write and record the rest of the lyrics after we got that crucial line.

Stream the band’s new full-length in full below:

“Full Moon” and other memorable tracks from this month can also be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of August 2018’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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