The low-key yet watch-steady buzz that has followed Joey Gorman since his days co-fronting the dirty Stones-rock outfit The Longshots is likely about to start humming again. Gorman’s current project, the Ebola-level-infectious beach-bum rock quartet Joe Gorgeous is about to drop a new single just in time for the season of cut-off jean shorts and neon Wayfarers. Two years ago, Joe Gorgeous began as a solo project of sorts, but now Gorman considers it a proper band, with bassist Matthew Gibbons (Toy Gun), drummer Noah Hall (The Williams), and lead guitarist Ricky Williford (War Party). The new single, he said, is just the most recent testament to the other members’ increasing influence on his songwriting.
“These guys have injected a lot of life into this project,” Gorman said. “Due to them and how natural and organic the growth of it has been, it’s become the best rock ’n’ roll band I’ve ever been a part of.”
“Wet Cement” is a sing-along fist-pumper that opens with some “Holiday in Cambodia”-style delay stabs before a fuzzy bassline romps into a Pixies-inspired chord progression that lays the foundation (to borrow a ham-fisted concrete metaphor) supporting Gorman’s slightly out-of-phase self-harmony on the vocal.
Lyrically, the track was inspired by a backpacking trip through India where Gorman noticed that in the larger, more developed cities like New Delhi construction workers had to continually touch up freshly poured cement, because no sooner was it laid before a million footprints would splatter through it. The pedestrians didn’t care about the impact of their actions. Their only concern was where they needed to go. It became a symbol to Gorman of the constant hustle and bustle of city life and its focus on immediacy at the expense of long-term stability.
“It’s all about the ill-conceived urgency of now,” Gorman said of the song. “About how nothing truly matters [to some people] other than the present, right here, right now. I guess it’s an audibly aggressive version of what Toots and the Maytals were trying to say about living in the present.”
The lyrics illustrate Gorman’s disappointment of such short sightedness. “Am I the only one who is just a little pissed / To find out the glass slipper doesn’t fit?” he barks flippantly over the bridge.
“Wet Cement” was recorded at Electric Barryland, the Justin outpost of Grammy-winning engineer Jordan “Jorts” Richardson (Son of Stan, Ben Harper, White Denim). His production gives a radio-ready luster to the band’s snotty Replacements-style grime. The tune’s well-oiled and broken-in baseball glove feel is likely the product of a long and familiar working relationship.
“I’ve worked with Jorts for seven years, since I moved back from Nashville,” Gorman said. “I absolutely love bringing creations to his mind’s doorstep and letting it go from there. He has a certain quality that really pushes things into another realm with no resistance from the vibes that originally walked in. Studio days with Jorts are exactly like how excited I was to go to Six Flags or the museum with my dad when I was a kid.”
The song is the first of a couple of singles that will serve as sneak peeks of an upcoming album the band is working on with Richardson. Life in the Faust Lane will be Joe Gorgeous’ first full-length.
“Wet Cement” will be released on Mock Records via Paste magazine, one of Gorman’s original media cognoscenti and the outlet that launched Joe Gorgeous’ first single, “How Bruce Lee Died,” two years ago. The new single drops Friday