The Better Of-

Dear algorithm - Bite me.

These things just stack up like unopened cds in mailers and responses to answer. So you gather them up and you add an overdub here or there, and it’s done.

NYC is a Bone- I don’t think I was thinking consciously of the phallic metaphor, more that the island of Manhattan is laid out on a single piece of bedrock. Martin Spieß was visiting and played this 90’s rhythm instead of the 20’s rhythm I had used with a previously released version. Adam Kabak’s contrabass does it for me.

Stranger at the Party- I’m usually starving and broke when I show up at one of these and perhaps there’s an extra layer of hu-ha at NYC parties. Like usually finds like. Kudos to Leon for the Mancini references and Kevin for the drunk harmonies on the outro.

Cat Samba- Some Ken Nordine homage. My most over-used expression.

Only the Doorman Knows- I just had that keyboard riff in my head for days before I had to have it power washed out of me. Didn’t mean to stick it into yours.

Saved Valentines. I went to a songwriting workshop with Martin Briley. The assignment was to write a holiday tune.

Mutual Savings. My friend V. loves this song so I dressed it up to a point where she said, “What the f#ck is this elevator sh#t?” I like it.

Island of Men- I was shooting for Fela and landed in goth territory somehow. Ouch. Bring on the matriarchy.

Disco Nomads- How to take an arrangement way too far. Jazz people.

Sharpening Knives- I thought I was so original then heard another dude my age use a similar metaphor in a similar shanty.

Handfuls- I wrote this in my twenties about my introverted-ness. Still resonates.

It was a Dark and Rainy Century

The Sound of the Night

As a whole, I feel that the modern world is sad enough without adding to it, but every once in a while, I can’t repress darker feelings, and I just sort of let it all hang out. I started listening to white noise as a way to get to sleep as too many times I found myself listening to Rolling Stones Greatest Hits albums on repeat at three in the morning, so Warm Blue Noise is my attempt at a lullaby for an insomniac.  I just wanted to shout out my collaborators. Greg Odell did a wonderful job on drums and percussion. Leon Gruenbaum came through with beautiful washes, jabs, and plinks from all sorts of keyboards and synthesizers, and Martin Scion did a wonderful job mixing and mastering, so warm blue noise is here and I hope you enjoy it more things planned for 2024. Thanks for listening, Bob.


The Dark Child

It comes out dark. I’m just the quality control checker at the factory- just the air traffic controller for the flight and the stenographer for the court. 

I can remove an adverb or replace a metaphor, but the feeling has to come out. And after, I honestly can’t remember anything about its conception or birth- there was either too much limerence or pain involved. 

I hope you can get something from it. I hope I’ve made a useful tool. Some sort of length of stick that can be used as a lever to move something heavier or just walk with, then throw for your dog to fetch.

 Just to keep things moving, the next one will be light and sparkly. 

Bob, October 1st.

Strawberry Fields

The extroverted sister

I was going to create a “greatest hits” album  with my own songs that I’ve re-recorded. That idea sort of stalled out and I felt that I wanted to exploit my dream-team a bit more (Kevin Cerovich-drums + horns/Kenneth Coleman-guitars/Leon Gruenbaum-keys/Emilia Cataldo-backing vocals) before I had to shut down the assembly line for a period of time to address some credit card debt. I kept writing and writing and tapped a set of songs that I’d done live a few years back to make what I thought would be a cohesive package. Visiting Rio this Spring, Patricia had painted two nice images that I thought captured the feel of the two albums I would be releasing (the second being ‘one last shot’). In fact, I wound up using the titles of her paintings for the titles of the two albums. Earlier I wrote about “One Last Shot”; so here is “Strawberry Fields”. 

Bob Gaulke 


June 7, 2023 

One Last Shot

Streaming June 6th-now on Bandcamp


I don’t remember writing these songs- where I was; what the feelings were.  General fears and anxiety with an outsized hope of redemption through intimacy. That’s what I hear listening back. 

The arrangements are done by Matt Carrillo, one of a set of Kansas City-bred jazz musicians met through meeting the great bassist Adam Kabak (Kevin Cerovich merits his own write-up). 

Matt is a disciplined student of seventies funk/jazz/soul and garnered a certain amount of attention in the contemporary hip-hop scene. I’m from a neighboring planet in the post-punk/bossa solar system-the sky turns interesting colors when we get close.  

The tracks were mixed by Alex Nahas, with whom I share certain stylistic preferences and generational outlook, “I like the songs because they’re short.” High praise, indeed. 

Cover painting is “Strawberry Fields” by Patricia Chueke. Nice title-I kept it.

Listening back after not hearing these songs for a few years, I feel pretty proud with my poetry. I could always sing things better and study more theory, but I generally feel pretty good about how these came out. Matt always surprises and the arrangements sound very sharp to me. Enjoy! B

Where I go from here-

Feeling the Spring




I just spent a year releasing short albums or long e.p.’s.- one a month. It might seem crazy, but as I write poems daily, it feels like a reasonable pace to me. My credit cards are now screaming for relief as, even as my musical friends give me rock-bottom rates, the invoices add up. I’ve got 35-40 more releases plan. As soon as I can dig mostly out of debt, I’ll get back on schedule. In the meantime, there’s a question on my mind: are you f*ucking nuts? 


I’m way past the sell-by date to be a hot young artist. My reference points are mostly a few decades in the past. However, I’ve lived my life in a way that many things provoke/stimulate/interest/bother me and writing and recording feels deeply therapeutic. Perhaps it’s the fate of artistically-inclined folks without offspring to want to prove they’ve existed in some way, but there’s something else going on in my mind, motivation-wise. 


As a musician, I crave dialogue with the public. I want to entertain people. I want to negotiate between the things on my mind and the desires in their hips. I live in a diverse working-class community. Is there any way to be “useful” with my art? Can I crunch all my desires into a funky little band that can during a summer season at a zoo or in a park and put a smile on people’s faces?


I think of Louis Jordan’s desire to “play for the working man” or Silvio Rodriguez playing for free at lunch-time concerts all over Cuba or Sergio Sampaio’s famous couplet about the place of poetry being the streets, not the drawer. The introvert goes through a second birth to become an artist, to meet the public in a negotiation that feels like a beautiful dance. 


I’m writing a 24-song repertoire for my trio. Myself on bass and vocals, Leon Gruenbaum on keys, and whoever we can seduce/fool/threaten on drums. Then I’ll get back to work and put out the other 40 albums. 





The Humanities

Capping a year of monthly releases with a double-album

There’s what you hear and what you feel and think and sometimes these three lines cross and songs are made that aspire to be more than sweet murmurings of love or inarticulate musings of atomized modern existence. 

Bob Gaulke aligns himself with the troubadour tradition- he wants to bring you the emotional truth of today and break it to you gently.  Gaulke hopes there’s something therapeutic in addressing the endangered elephant in the room or using the dub blueprints of post-punk, post-jazz, beatnik spoken word or tropicalia to keep the conversation going.  

“The Humanities” is his latest release- a double album that touches on the state of the world and imagination in a time overrun with normalcy bias and cognitive dissonance masquerading as progress. Like Mark A. Stewart after sex with an electric fan, Gaulke croons, whispers, and screams his poetic musings over rubber bass lines,  jazz trombones, Verlaine guitars, and hippy-chick backing vocals. 

The material covered include AI conversations with uber eats (“Your Order”), death in the american health care system (“Hospital”), sex with hedge funders (“You and your body”), sex with social workers (“Heat Sink”), prison escapes (“Plastic Spoon”), and the value of art at the end of the world (“Useless but Necessary”).   

Co-Conspirators on the album include Kevin Cerovich (drums and trombones), Leon Gruenbaum (keyboards), Kenny Coleman (guitars), and Emilia Cataldo (backing vocals). The album was mixed and mastered by Martin Scian.  

Artwork by Adam Hunter Caldwell

“The Humanities” (Parts 1+ 2)

Streaming  on all platforms  on January 6th. 

2022 Year in Review

How did it feel to you?

Martin Scian was kind enough to indulge me with volume pricing on mixing as I knocked out an "extended play" record montly in 2022. I just sort of write and record compulsively- it's probably some sort of therapy for my public school career and existential angst. Pacing-wise, it felt fine for me and gave me a sense of purpose, although it did the streaming alogrithms no favors. Sadly, I still have about 36 albums to go, but i'll be slowing down in 2023 as my credit cards are absolutely maxed out. In the new year, I hope to be playing solo and with a trio and perhaps just release a song a month instead of a whole project. There's also this rock musical I've been kicking around. Have a safe holiday. B


Now Streaming

“Inappropriate” is now streaming. I’m particularly proud of the way this rocks; Greg Odell and Marco Raaphorst bring the kerrang on drums and guitar. Soft, inner jazzy parts courtesy of Leon Gruenbaum (keys), Kevin Cerovich (trombones), and Emilia Cataldo (backing vocals). We’re running eight tunes reflecting on a sense of emotional claustrophobia courtesy of the then current national political climate as filtered through my role as a public school teacher in a poor neighborhood. Or something like that. I remember writing these tunes on the bass somewhat rapidly. I feel they came out pretty well. I bow down to the musicians and Martin Scian on the knobs. Bob November 2, 2022

"Obviously" Streams April 1st