Gateway District features ex-/current members of The Soviettes, Dear Landlord, Banner Pilot and Rivethead (listening yet?), but this isn’t blitzing punk or sugary power pop. Instead, their mid-tempo melodies rage with reserved exactitude and scratch at my mind’s door like a hungry cat. I open the screen and let the feline saunter in. Her whiskers and soft body rub against my legs. This is a pleasant, yet confident, guest. Gateway District is like that. The choruses are robust and reassuring as if each lyric is sung just for you, as if this cat never begs at any other door, while the music is succinct with palm-muted guitars and precise bass lines that are dense with harmonies. Every song is independent, wandering house to house for something to eat, never relying on tricks or flashy hooks to trick you into paying attention. Eventually, these strays come together and assemble into five tuneful gems that are good company. If you aren’t a fan of Gateway District, this record just might lure you in with its fierce Maine Coon eyes.
–Sean Arenas (Salinas)