Today, we reintroduce you to the men of Chavez — Matt Sweeney, James Lo, Clay Tarver, and Scott Marshall — whose debut full-length, Gone Glimmering, will be reissued on 10/23.
First released on May 23, 1995 Gone Glimmering remains an unparalleled slab of rock-action 25 years on — evoking the spooky power and mystery of ’70s hard-rock while charting a course toward a future guitar music where dissonance, hooks, and brain crushing beats might thrillingly exist at once.
Back then, lesser scribes tagged the Manhattan-based quartet with thinky adjectives — knotty, algebraic, angular, etc. Not all of those were exactly off base. Still, whatever braininess Chavez employed was tempered by their passion for the visceral moves of Cheap Trick, The Pretty Things, and Aerosmith’s Rocks. They dug “difficult” sounds but pursued transcendent hooks.
“For a year Clay and I played together in a Chinatown loft as a two-guitar thing before we got together with James,” says Sweeney, recalling the band’s formative rehearsals. By the time Lo came on board, though, Chavez had become more clearly identifiable as a rock ’n roll outfit. “Before practice, we would meet up at Max Fish bar on Ludlow street then go to the rehearsal space,” says Sweeney. “And then we’d go back to Max Fish. This was the Gone Glimmering writing process.”
Back in 1995, Pavement and the Blues Explosion were Matador’s top-tier local draws. Chavez never played a show with either of them, though. Instead, the band found fellowship with psych-adjacent burners like Guided by Voices, Come, and Bardo Pond. They were — and remain! — outsiders.