New Video: GIFT Shares Motorik-Driven Affirmation “Share The Present”

Brooklyn-based psych rock quintet GIFT — TJ Freda, Jessica Gurewitz, Kallan Campbell, Justin Hrabovsky and Cooper Naess — have developed and honed an uncanny knack for crafting soundscapes that are simultaneously turbulent and gorgeous. As a band, they share the quest of the perfect sound rooted in harmony and radical openness during times of tumult.

Their overall approach is a desire to live in the moment. In fact, live they’ve created a live experience that sees them pushing their material in wildly improvisatory directions — and as a result, they’ve been selling out shows in Brooklyn, mostly through word of mouth.

Dedstrange Records, a new label co-founded by A Place to Bury Strangers’ and Death by Audio’s Oliver Ackermann and Kepler Events‘ Steven Matrick signed the rising Brooklyn psych rockers earlier this year. The new label will be releasing GIFT’s full-length debut Momentary Presence on October 14, 2022.

Inspired by Ram Dass’ 1971 spiritual guide and countercultural landmark Be Here NowMomentary Presence is a meditation on working through the anxiety and self-doubt that we all, at some point or another, carry. Specifically conceived, written and recorded with the idea of a full-length album being a fully contained work of art, the songs on Momentary Presence reportedly tease something seismic coming around the corner, while featuring dense layered productions that feel and sound self-assured, complete, definitive and impermeable. This is rooted in the band’s belief that each moment has richness, complexity and singularity. And once it’s gone, it can’t be recaptured or repeated. 

The album asks the listener several key questions: Can you truly be present? Can you open yourself up and appreciate life in its fullness — the ugliness and confusion, as well as the beauty and joy? The members of GIFT believe that the listener can. And their full-length debut is a chronicle of that chase, and a celebration of the eternal now. 

In the lead-up to the album’s release next week, I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles:

  • Gumball Garden,” a towering ripper centered around an expansive and densely layered arrangement featuring scorching guitar pyrotechnics, fuzzy power chords, glistening synth arpeggios, thunderous drumming and a relentless motorik groove paired with rousingly anthemic hooks and Freda’s gentle cooing. Sonically, “Gumball Garden” brings Join the Dots-era TOY, Minami DeutschKikagaku Moyo, JOVM mainstays No Swoon and others to mind. 
  • Feather,” a slow-burning and contemplative song with painterly textures featuring glistening synth arpeggios, skittering, metronomic beats paired with Freda’s ethereal cooing, a soaring hook and a blazing guitar solo. While simultaneously evoking both a feather floating in the breeze, Autobahn-era Kraftwerk and The Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, the song was written by the band’s TJ Freda the morning after waking from a lucid dream. 

 Momentary Presence‘s third and latest single “Share The Present” is centered around a glistening synth arpeggios and a relentless motorik groove paired with wiry bursts of guitar. The arrangement serves as a airy bed for TJ Freda’s breathily cooed, gentle affirmations. Sonically, the song seems like a slick synthesis of Join the Dots-era Toy and The Horrors.

“Sharing the present is being in the present moment. Not looking towards the future or dwelling on the past,” GIFT’s TJ Freda explains. “Being present is the most important thing you can do when you are feeling down. ‘Don’t look back, you’ll fall down’ don’t dwell on the past of who you were. Look to the present moment and appreciate who you are and where you’re going.” 

Directed by Andrew Gibson, the accompanying video for “Share The Present” follows an older couple, Claudia and Leonard. And when we’re introduced to them, we get a sense of profound loss under the superficially vibrant personas and colorful clothing. They miss a loved one, who turns out to be GIFT’s TJ Freda. While watching an informercial, they purchase an odd gift that reconnects them with their beloved TJ in a surreal universe. The couple purchases another gift box, which contains a toy car that takes them on a lysergic adventure. It’s a cinematically shot surrealistic fever dream — with a mischievous vibe.

“When I first met Claudia and Leonard, I sensed a deep sadness burrowed under their vibrant personas,” director Andrew Gibson says in press notes. “It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when they invited me over for a lovely breakfast, that I learned the source of their pain was related to the strange disappearance of their adopted nephew TJ. It was at that moment that I vowed to help them in any way I could in their quest to reconnect with the holy Taj. It has been quite a journey to say the least, but ultimately incredibly rewarding once the magical mailman arrived with the gift that would change everything. After meeting TJ it became quite clear why Claudia and Leonard were so determined to find him, to put it simply, he’s just a great kid.”