Clingrap Media, 2007
Two years ago, Guitars & Hearts, a New Paltz-based guitar-and-drum duo, was setting up for a show in Poughkeepsie as a bunch of too-cool patrons milled around. The attendees had ignored the night’s first act, but when Guitars & Hearts drummer/vocalist Julie Novak asked, “What’s up?” into the mike, the crowd hushed and then cheered as Novak and guitarist Lauren Camarata started to play. Now, that’s stage presence.
Missed that show? Have a listen of the band’s posthumous, self-titled debut. Raw and passionate without being excessively “grrrl,” Guitars & Hearts runs the gamut, exploring gender variance and queerness in a way that almost any listener can relate to. Rage along to “Transmission,” beg your lover to come over with “Dainty Chain,” and dance all crazy as “Whoa!” plays. Though Guitars & Hearts has since dissolved—Camarata decided to travel after graduation and is now pursuing a photography career in Brooklyn—Novak’s new band, Gigantic!, has been garnering plenty of local attention. Decidedly more pop than Guitars & Hearts, Gigantic! has proved thus far to be the perfect outlet for Novak’s thought-provoking, energetic approach. www.myspace.com/guitarsandhearts.