"The whole record feels like it could shatter any moment, it's kind of glossy in that way. It can be heavy and dense or incredibly fragile," ponders UV-TV singer-bassist Rose Vastola in response to Orlando Weekly's question about naming their debut LP Glass. It's a descriptor that also perfectly sums up the jagged, cold, crystalline storm in heaven that UV-TV conjures up behind sunglasses and deceptively blank expressions.
The Gainesville postpunk/shoegaze trio has been practicing their dark arts since 2015, springing from the ashes of the Cretin Girls and Grommett. Based around the songwriting team of Vastola and guitarist-vocalist Ian Bernacett, along with the recent addition of Post Teens drummer Ryan Hopewell, the band showed shimmering promise from their very start. A demo cassette on Chicago's High Fashion Industries and early wall-of-noise live shows were undeniable evidence of a band that knew what bad vibes they wanted to inflict from day one.
And what UV-TV wanted was a potent mix of Darklands-era Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Tambourine's candy-apples-and-razorblades alchemy, and Loop's narcotic sneer. The band has reached their sonic zenith with Glass, newly released through well-regarded punk label Deranged Records – also home to White Lung, Arctic Flowers and Total Abuse – and containing their most cohesive body of songs yet. And they're taking these songs on the road with an extensive, self-booked U.S. tour.
Though UV-TV have been fixtures of the Gainesville underground since their inception, Bernacett confesses that a good deal of lyrical inspiration for his songs on Glass were about "feeling kind of stuck" in the city. Bernacett explains, "I never planned on living here for seven years. ... Getting older was [also] a big factor. At least with my songwriting. Realizing that time is slipping away. And doing the best you can with the time you have." Vastola adds, "We were in a transitional period – early 20s going into mid-20s – and I think that had a huge impact." And though Vastola acknowledges the sonic influence of the Primitives and Shop Assistants on Glass, she also explains that their interest in visual art is equally as crucial to their sonic strategies. "A pretty melody clashing with a fast riff," is their approximation of Dada collage techniques in their songwriting.
The DIY ethic is deeply ingrained in the members of UV-TV, even extending to the recording of Glass. After a couple of false starts in more traditional studio environments, the band decamped to a converted train station turned DIY venue in Gainesville called "The Nest" ("a big empty wooden room," recalls Bernacett), set up a couple of microphones and tracked the majority of the album – save a few overdubs – in a matter of days. "The room was big and echoey and that's what we were looking for," says Vastola. "The lower end stuff is really big."
At the moment, though, UV-TV's full focus is on their U.S. tour; the band is currently rehearsing 30 songs, so setlists can be changed up at a moment's notice, to avoid numbing routine. "For Orlando, we'll be playing most of the record and a couple of brand-new songs," promises Bernacett. "We have an EP coming out soon with some covers and some new songs; we'll be playing some of that material." In keeping with her interest in visual art, Vastola is planning an ambitious photo documentation project on the road. "I was really inspired by all of the people who helped us book our national tour and looking back on them I realized that they were predominantly women," enthuses Vastola. "So I want to do a photo project that's portraits of all the women who are involved in booking or playing the shows – femme or woman-identified people. Recognition is an important thing." We couldn't agree more.