Gabe Hascall has been through a lot for a 31-year-old. He went from playing for a decently well known ska-punk band, the Impossibles, in his hometown of Austin, Texas, and collaborating with Impossibles bandmate Rory Phillips to form Slowreader, an Elliot Smith influenced project, to living in his mother's attic, trying to kick meth, drinking and watching The Departed
incessantly (see Casey's feature on Hascall
Now clean, Hascall has relocated himself from his mother's attic to the basement of notable drummer Scott McPherson (Elliott Smith, She & Him) in Northeast Portland. Eager to continue making music, Hascall has recorded a handful of demos in his new Portland home in, and we were lucky enough to get ahold of them via the man himself.
Though all eleven of the tracks compiled on the burned disc are packed tight with talent, “Just Dust” stood out the most to me. This song, like the others on the disc, is stripped bare: It's just acoustic guitar and vocals, but really, that's all it needs to be. As was the case with Slowreader, there is an apparent Elliott Smith influence in Hascall's solo work, mostly in the vocals, where both musicians possess a soft, airy, high-pitched voice that teeters on the edge of falsetto. The Texas native layers his voice on these demos, creating eerily beautiful harmonies atop quickly strummed guitar chords. This is one of the more upbeat tracks on the compilation, and the lyrics reflect that. The last lyrics Hascall sings are, “The next day is tomorrow/and the past is just dust,” before ending the song with a series of oohs. Knowing a bit about his past, this line is uplifting and something that can pertain to anyone: The past is gone; all we have is the future.
Photo courtesy of Gabe Hascall