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  • Bryon Harris

Gavin Wentzel - 'Summer Shade'

Review by Brandon Watts & Staff

Gavin Wentzel is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and engineer. He is self-taught in piano, guitar, and bass.  He began producing his senior year of high school back in 2015 in order to create an instrumental album as a school project.  After growing up in Ithaca, New York, Gavin moved to Colorado to attend the University of Denver.  At DU he joined a band called Late Nite, a high-energy funk band, as the keyboardist.  The group would later open for D.R.A.M. at the Ogden theatre and continue to play around campus until eventually disbanding.  His senior year, Gavin joined a group called High Street Joggers Club (HSJC) as a gigging side project.  In May of 2019, Gavin Wentzel released a fusion album called Arctic Experiment.  Off the album, "Summer Shade" is a great way to introduce yourself to Wentzel's talent.   

“Summer Shade” from Gavin Wentzel showcases the undisputed talent that can be brought from artist in the DIY movement. Ranging in influences, Gavin draws aesthetic from lo-fi hip-hop and fuses them with elements of bedroom pop and shoe-gaze that make for an unforgettable music experience. Lunagram sings the lead vocals; Jonathon Petronzio plays lead guitar; and Wentzel is on rhythm guitar, bass, and keys. He also produced, mixed and mastered the track.

At the start, the arrangement is strongly hip-hop based with layers of ethereal synth over a pumped kick and snappy snare on a steady beat. Artist Lunagram kicks things of with a slightly melodic, rhythmic flow,

“Something soft playing on the radio, I keep my voice down / Don’t wanna wake your housemates, It’s been a long night out/Take my shoes off when I walk in you talk like a movie smoking cigs in the summer wind/Take a breathe and for a cleaner vibe you got a tattoo of a wave on your left side/I told you all about my life, poured a glass of ice, liquor mix it in nice and her lacy thighs, guess it takes some advice.”

His vocals are easy-going, with a raw sound that fits perfectly in space with the arrangement. Making the transition from the first verse to the chorus, psychedelic, electric guitar takes a prominent seat in the mix as they switch over to a catchy pop-style chorus. As the song progresses, sections of strong lead guitar wash over the reverberant vocals allowing the instrumentals to take precedence making for a more shoe-gaze influenced sound.

"Summer Shade" is about summer love and it's healing and fleeting nature. The song describes the feeling of falling in love and the motivation to be with someone. "Drive all night, just to see you by the morning light/ Got the stars foggin up my eyes." Also, the way a new love can wash away the blues. "I’m feeling so brand new like the rust doesn’t dare." And in the end, as external factors come in, the need to say goodbye despite strong feelings.

From start to finish, “Summer Shade” will keep your ears locked in with stellar vocals, instrumentals and overall great production. Make sure to check out Gavin’s website to stay up to date with his releases!


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