For some time now, Brendon Avalos has been forging a path for himself among the clamor of emerging indie artists as the bassist and vocalist of Brooklyn punk trio B Boys. Now, he is releasing his first solo effort – a full length album entitled Losing Count – under the moniker Gift Wrap.
As an artist, Avalos embraces spontaneity and immediacy in his work. “One thing that B Boys taught me musically is that ideas that feel spur-of-the-moment or come quick, end up being some of the best songs.” Leaning even further into this approach for Gift Wrap, he purchased his first drum machine – a DR202 – and set up a small studio in his apartment, giving himself 24/7 access to testing out ideas right as they came to him. The rewards? The hook-filled title track, a standout on the album, which he recalls “was the first song I wrote in a day with no intentions of recording it, and it may be the most structured and realized song on the album.”
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Losing Count is the culmination of a personal goal Avalos set two years ago: to see through the completion of a collection of music all his own. “Artistically, I think the sole purpose of this record was to just do everything. An exercise in realizing a full concept without seeing what the end result would be.” As it turns out, that end result is a 13-track experimental pop album that packs a large punch with influences ranging from early new wave acts like Depeche Mode and OMD to Frank Ocean.
B-side highlight “I Cry” is a cover of another Gift Wrap influence, 80’s electro hip-hop artist the Egyptian Lover. It manages to stay true to the original, while fitting seamlessly into the sonic cohesion of the album. With each track draped in whimsically looping layers and interspersed with the pervasion of old radio samples, buzzing, and hums to create a state of constant white noise, Avalos successfully conveys a state of latent anxiety through danceable, weirdo pop. In this way, Losing Count becomes an exercise in synthesizing the collective experience of today’s political and cultural climates into a fully individualized expression.