You’d probably not guess from listening to the latest record from Guts Club that Lindsey Baker, the singer/songwriter/guitarist behind the band, first approached music making from a slightly less serious angle.
She initially started playing in “joke bands” that spent hours and hours covering Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. “It was just this weird thing my friends and I did,” Baker says. “We were young and had 12 hours a day to devote to singing ‘Atlantic City’ in chorus.”
Baker then started creating fake music videos, extracting the audio from music biopics like Great Balls of Fire, Elvis and Me and 8 Mile, and replacing it with her purposefully rough renditions of songs from those movies. This led to another video series wherein she wrote original songs under various names like Sad Club and Big Mistake Club—the last of which was called Guts Club.
“I ended up liking the songs, and they were better than the actual videos,” Baker says. “It just made sense to try it in a different way and not be so visual about it.”
Trench Foot is Guts Club’s third album, a transfixing record that has touches of psych, country and folk, all grounded by Baker’s direct, beautifully unadorned singing. Her subtle vocal inflections draw the listener in further, every song seemingly a story she’s telling directly to you. Or sometimes at you.
This is first Guts Club album written with a full band in mind. On her previous Guts Club release, Shit Bug, Baker included sparse accompaniments of pedal steel, upright bass, piano and some snare drum, but still went on the road as a solo artist, an experience she started to find nerve wracking.
“Playing solo by yourself sucks!” she says. “So, I decided, ‘I’m going to have a band—and also have an amplifier, and also do some light thrashing.’”
Baker still wrote the songs that would become Trench Foot by herself on acoustic guitar. She then put together a band (Travis Bird, guitar; Ian Collins, drums; Anne Reiley Morgan, bass; and Andy Plovnick, organ) and began recording the album late last year. The record has a lo-fi coziness (Plovnick also engineered, mixed and mastered the album), with the band providing hypnotic, spooky atmosphere with hints of a light swampy twang.
Guts Club will take these tunes, along with even newer ones, on the road in August. The touring band will feature Bird and Morgan from the Trench Foot sessions, along with Morgan Ray McManus on drums. They’ll be mostly hitting stops in South and East Coast; Baker says the band is also planning to hit the western states later this year and possibly the Midwest spring of 2019.
Trench Foot is out Friday, July 6 on cassette and digital download. Guts Club celebrates the record’s release show with a show that night at Banks St. Bar in Mid City.