Garcia Peoples


Welcome to the sound of Garcia Peoples at full speed. Without losing a ray of sunshine or a drop of dew, One Step Behind is the first major statement by the malleable Brooklyn sextet. The 32-minute title cut highlights the twin guitars and songwriting of Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki and, instead of pointing itself towards one possible future for the band, just zaps itself square into the thick of it. Encompassing a range of moods and scenes in one flowing arc (plus a coda), it’s less a piece of music to listen to than it is a zone to occupy, a portal for all open-eared heads.

The band’s third album in a year-and-a-half, One Step Behind is unquestionably their boldest yet. Formed in New Jersey by Malach and Arakaki, the band took a few years to find their flying shape, solidifying into a lineup with Danny’s brother Cesar on drums and Derek Spaldo on bass by mid-2016. Ramping up their acceleration around the time of their 2018 Cosmic Cash debut, they’ve blasted through residencies and new songs and sessions and collaborations, leaving a trail of live tapes in their wake, along with the crashing power of 2019’s Natural Facts follow-up, and scaling ever upwards. It’s been a little dizzying to watch. You’re jamming with who? Even so, One Step Behind might still come as a surprise to those who’ve been keeping up with the tapes.

Recorded and assembled at Black Dirt Studio with Jason Meagher (Jack Rose, Steve Gunn), “One Step Behind”–and One Step Behind–opens with the newest auxiliary Garcia: Tom’s father Bob Malach. A veteran sax player with a CV that includes Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Miles Davis, the Asbury Jukes, Arto Lindsay, Barbra Streisand, and Steve Miller to (seriously) name just a few, the elder Malach contributes twin overdubbed saxophone parts, channeling Terry Riley–soon joined by Tom and Danny in interlocking guitar bliss–before blowing it out at the end. In between comes Danny’s floating song, more jams, and wild organ by Pat Gubler, ascending from auxiliary collaborator to full-fledged Garcia, and providing a linkage from the Garcias’ millennial jams to the freaky lo-fi sound scenes of ‘90s Massachusetts.

It’s not quite the literal flip, since the title piece sprawls over onto the back of the LP, but the second song on the album–only eight minutes–is another new move for Garcia Peoples, too. Written and sung by bassist Derek Spaldo, moving over to piano for the first time, “Heart and Soul” is a more contemplative place for the band. Appearing on record for the first time is Andy Cush, who occupies the bass chair for most of the band’s shows, Spaldo now dwelling outside of regular gig range. Intending to record Spaldo’s gentle song as a short postscript, “Heart and Soul” grew into its own soundspace, as Garcia Peoples’ songs sometimes do. Gubler plays flute, and they go full glow.

With a stash of live recordings accumulating at the Live Music Archive, Garcia Peoples’ music is very much a living entity. Since the release of their previous two albums, songs have started to expand, jam suites have grown, and experiments have been undertaken. The first part of 2019 has seen Garcia Peoples back Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth (an expanded Solar Peoples Band has hit double-drummer overdrive several times now), and joined with guitarist Ryley Walker. They’ve improvised on WFMU, and jammed with the sounds of ocean waves and falling rain at strange late night happenings. Probably something else new and wonderful and weird has happened in the Garciaverse since I wrote this.

Whether or not you thought you knew Garcia Peoples’ music, One Step Behind is something new and beautiful, for new heads and old. No matter where you stand–behind, beyond, or another plane altogether–One Step Behind is ready. For those about to get on the Bus, we salute you.

Jesse Jarnow
Brooklyn, NY


Garcia Peoples in Brooklyn Vegan

New Jersey’s Garcia Peoples have been straddling the line between indie rock and jammier territory since their inception, drawing comparisons to the Dead (which their name invites), Meat Puppets, The Feelies and Parquet Courts, and they’ve shared bills with Kikagaku Moyo, Ryley Walker, Howlin’ Rain and more.

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Praise for Garcia Peoples

“…not as much an album as it is a world, one that doesn’t reveal itself in haste but rather unfolds over time and multitudinous layers” – Uncut

“It’s the epic title track that carries the whole thing, making One Step Behind another step beyond for these Peoples.” The WIRE

“New Jersey rockers’ fresh-minted productivity sends them outwards and upwards.” MOJO

“…an expansive, exploratory collection dubbed One Step Behind that opens with a 32-minute title track.” Relix

“Garcia Peoples may wear their influences on their sleeves, but over three albums they have evolved into one of the most exciting bands on this planet.” Echoes and Dust

“I can’t predict where the band goes from here, but standing on the precipice of this release I can only imagine they’re going to completely tear down what it means to be a jam/psych/choogle/rock band in 2019 and rebuild it in their own image.” Raven Sings The Blues

“One Step Behind takes a giant step forward, right off the edge and into the unknown.” Dusted

“One Step Behind sees Garcia Peoples continuing their rapid, curious evolution. That the band can take such a huge leap from their previous material in such a short period of time points to an even more radical exploration of what’s to come.” AllMusic

“…there’s more than a little Grateful Dead in their sound, along with a general love of ’60s West Coast psych, but you can hear homestate heroes The Feelies and Yo La Tengo in what they do too.” Brooklyn Vegan

“Quite simply this collection is up there with anything that has been touched by the hand of the psychedelic geniuses such as Syd Barrett, Arthur Lee and Jimi Hendrix.” GigSlutz

“Whereas a lot of so-called modern psychedelia has taken the wall-of-noise approach to mind expansion, bludgeoning the third eye open, Garcia Peoples are navigating a more subtle yet no less exciting route to musical revelation. One Step Behind is a doozy in this respect…” Prog Magazine

“Fans of the first two records will have their minds blown by what they hear on One Step Behind. Now the only question that remains is, where will Garcia Peoples possibly go to from here?” Record Crates United

“…one of the true mind-blowing epics of 2019.” Uproxx

Listed: Garcia Peoples


Garcia Peoples formed in the early teens in New Jersey around the core duo of Danny Arakaki and Tom Malach, adding Derek Spaldo on bass and Cesar Arakaki on drums soon after, and then later picking up one Pat Gubler of PG Six and Wet Tuna as an occasional member. In her review of this year’s Natural Facts, Jennifer Kelly observed, “an ideal balance between transcendental rumination and bright, vibrant forward motion. The guitars here tangle and untangle in a way that reminds me of Television, though the shout-y verse and campfire sing-along chorus feel rustic and natural in a way that that band never did.” Here, Danny Arakaki counts down ten records that matter.

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This list rules. Dig in…

Garcia Peoples – 3/29/19 – Nublu, New York, NY (record release show)

NYC Taper captured Garcia Peoples on Friday night in Manhattan at their EPIC Natural Facts record release show. Second set they are joined by Chris Forsyth and Ryan Jewell. It was a truly magical night to say the least. Dig in…




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Booking: Al Marano /

Management: Dom Miniaci /

US Press: Nathan Walker /

EU Press: Rachel Silver /

Label: Beyond Beyond is Beyond /

Licensing: Pete D’Angelo /

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