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Cosmic Psychos

Go The Hack - 2024 Reissue

    Sometime in the winter of 1989-90, I wandered into New York City’s Midnight Records, a store famous for its deep catalog of ’60s garage and psychedelic music, as well as a strong selection of classic punk rock and a cantankerous French owner with ridiculous hair. On this visit, instead of hearing a puny French bootleg of The Standells or the Seeds, as I opened the door I was enveloped in the massive opening chords to the first song on the Cosmic Psychos’ then-new album Go the Hack. “She’s a lost cause / She’s a lost, lost cause!” blasted into the air at maximum volume. In a perfect cinematic moment, the drums announced my entry, the bass dictated my walk, the air became thick with guitar fuzz and wah-wah, and snarled vocals described perfectly a girl’s descent into a cause which was lost. Instead of record shopping, I felt like I’d stepped into a biker movie and was motoring down a long, straight Outback road on a Harley. This was my introduction to the Cosmic Psychos, and I was hooked.

    I loved that a band could be so powerful, sound so big and unapologetically simple, and incorporate so much of what I loved about music—well, basically the attitudes and sounds of The Stooges and Ramones: setting up songs with a good title or idea, matching it with a massive riff, then running it out with squeals of wah-wah and manly disregard for cleverness or adornment. And they called themselves the Cosmic Psychos! They obviously had no regard for “makin’ it” in those days, when an alternative rock band at least had a chance to sell some records. I was an instant fan.

    Earlier records proved to be the same formula with even less refinement, and that was definitely a good thing. These were lovably manly Aussies singing about what they knew best: farm equipment, lusting after Elle Macpherson, wishing they were in Van Halen (for the ladies), drinking at the pub, and even more drinking at the pub. Trivia question: In what indie rock song does the lead singer bellow “I love my tractor!”? Answer: None! No scarves or looking like Stevie Nicks straight out of the hairstylist’s for these fellows. They were the real deal before the deal was dealt. And they couldn’t care less.

    The Psychos enjoyed a long run through the ’80s and ’90s on such Australian labels as What Goes On, Mr Spaceman, Survival and Rattlesnake, as well as American stalwarts Sub Pop and Amphetamine Reptile. Many bands from that era no longer seem vital today, lost in a murk of crisp drums, loud guitars, flannel shirts and shallow aspirations. These first Cosmic Psychos releases are as timeless and necessary as ever—still a bullshit bulldozer, a blurry loud night at the bar, a rollicking time hanging with the guys. The time has come for a new generation to be uplifted by these initial blasts from the Cosmic Psychos. Goner is proud to partner with Melbourne’s esteemed Aarght! Records to bring these platters of primal perfection back into a world that definitely needs them.

    — Eric Friedl, Oblivians / Goner Records.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Lost Cause
    2. Rip N’ Dig
    3. She’s Crackin Up
    4. Out Of The Band
    5. Alright Tonight
    6. Pub
    7. Back In Town
    8. Elle
    9. Go The Hack
    10. Can’t Come In (Live)

    Aquarian Blood

    Bending The Golden Hour

      With Bending the Golden Hour, the third album from Memphis, Tennessee’s Aquarian Blood, husband and wife team J.B. Horrell (Ex-Cult) and Laurel Horrell (formerly of the Nots) continue the gorgeously stripped-down and atmospheric direction set on their critically acclaimed previous effort A Love That Leads to War.

      While Aquarian Blood has roots as a chaotic punk rock six-piece, the band shifted gears after two raucous cassette-only releases on ZAP Cassettes, a pair of seven-inches, and 2017’s Last Nite in Paradise, released on Goner Records. After drummer Bill Curry broke his arm, the Horrells redefined

      Aquarian Blood, reemerging in early 2018 as the more intimate, mostly acoustic balladeers behind the staccato, fever dream sound of A Love That Leads to War. Like its immediate predecessor, Bending the Golden Hour was recorded at the Horrell's Midtown Memphis home. The band turned over 43 tracks to Goner co-owner Zac Ives, who handpicked 17 songs for the album.

      The final result is shimmering and hopeful; as beautiful and sparse as a Rockwell Kent snowscape. Bending the Golden Hour begins ominously with “Channeling,” which sounds like an outtake from Paul Giovanni’s soundtrack to 1973’s pagan nightmare The Wicker Man. Then the band upshifts for “Time in the Rain,” a sweet duet set to a rigid snare beat. From there, Aquarian Blood zigs to country and zags to psychedelic folk, brooding on one song and soothing listeners with the next. And while the music, feel, and experience is different, Aquarian Blood naturally brings to mind some legendary musical partnerships: Richard and Linda Thompson, Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris; not to mention similarly-bent-but-beautiful luminaries like Roy Harper, Pentangle circa 1967 -1973, and Jackson C. Frank.

      There’s a big middle ground, like folk-psych, or weirder country music,” he says, reeling off names like Skip Spence and Syd Barrett as stepping stones between the genres of punk and folk.

      Inspirations for Bending the Golden Hour come from myriad sources that document the milestones and minutiae in a family’s full life. Some lyrics name a time or a place; others reflect the fleeting moments that elapse unnoticed. “Come Home,” which is sung by J.B. and his daughter Ava, was written the day Ava got her driver’s license. “Ava took the car out by herself afterwards, and I wrote the song immediately—she sang her part when she got home that evening,” J.B. recalls. Whether or not the listener knows the backstory, the song rings sentimental, with subtle, supportive instrumentation that underscores guitar and vocals. The bewitching “Rope and Hair,” on the other hand, is less sketched out, with lyrics that are simply a recitation of the talismen found on a silver sabertooth charm that J.B. purchased for Laurel at a Latin strip mall in southeast Memphis. That’s all to be said. “Sometimes when you know too much about what the song is about, it takes away the magic,” says J.B. “Alabama Daughter,” says Laurel, is about a place where a childhood friend lived called Castleberry Holler. “It was really rural, just a lot of shacks without electricity—the kind of place you didn’t go to unless you were invited,” she says. “Probable Gods” is a hazy reflection on the struggle of such a strange year. “It’s been very cathartic to put all of this into words and not have it live in my head,” J.B. says.


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Channeling
      2. Time In The Rain
      3. Bolted And Embossed
      4. Waited
      5. Til It Wasn’t Anymore
      6. Spray Them All
      7. Rope And Hair
      8. Bending Time
      9. Come Home
      10. Covering The Past
      11. Hate To Wake You
      12. Alabama Daughter
      13. Night Train
      14. Count My Love
      15. On The Divide
      16. Probable Gods
      17. Boredom Hours

      Michael Beach

      Dream Violence

        Dream Violence, Michael Beach’s fourth full-length, is an epic album that explores the duality of the human condition. Or, as Beach himself puts it, the album is about “human futility, passion, desire, anger, frustration, and the struggle to maintain hope in a somewhat hopeless time.” Dream Violence, then, addresses the existential crisis of being an artist in 2020. Known for his work touring with the Australian guitar pop band Thigh Master and the late, brilliantly eccentric Israeli guitarist Charlie Megira, currently the focus of a number of reissues by the Numero Group, Beach is the architect of a sound that is both well-built and ramshackle, straightforward and indeterminably complex, out of the norm yet familiar in all the best ways. Dream Violence unfolds like a revelation, filled with sonic tumbleweeds that reference Neil Young’s On the Beach, Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, and the Go Betweens’ Before Hollywood. Influences ranging from the enigmatic outlier Megira to Glenn Branca to the Oblivians are combined to create a new, exhilarating sound, part of the path that Beach has been on since 2008’s Blood Courses. A veteran of year-end indie rock round ups beginning with Golden Theft in 2013 and continuing with Gravity/Repulsion, released in 2017, Beach distills the best of those early albums and adds sharpened intent.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Irregardless
        2. De Facto Blues
        3. The Tower
        4. Metaphysical Dice
        5. You Know, Life Is Cheap
        6. Spring
        7. Curtain Of Night
        8. You Found Me Out
        9. Dream Violence
        10. Sometimes I Get That Cold Feeling

        Ausmuteants

        Order Of Operation

          Jake Robertson and Billy Gardner started Ausmuteants in late 2011 in Geelong, Australia, after having played since teenagers in trad garage bands (The Frowning Clouds and The Living Eyes, respectively). Per the norm for good-looking rebels who play by their own rules, they cracked the shits, broke loose with just a synth and drums and, in early 2012, knocked out the Split Personalities tape. The addition of Melbourne’s loose-unit Marc Dean on bass followed, and soon after, ex-Canberran hardcore non-guitarist Shaun Connor on guitar.

          Their second album Amusements (note: not self-titled) comes from this fledgling time as a full band, with a heavy dose of the duo’s songs. Since the runaway international success of that record and playing every second weekend in Melbourne, they’re rocked-out full-tilt with all four members writing and singing new songs—23 of which were recorded live with vocal overdubs in the basement of an old ice cream factory by Mikey Young, then mixed and mastered in his idyllic coastal abode. Again the band and their Australian label Aarght! Records strained the friendship with song picks, agreeing on thirteen to make up Order of Operation.

          This record is better than Amusements any way you cut it: songs, lyrics, delivery and sound. It opens with Connor’s forehead- and thigh-slapping musical and lyrical debut, “Freedom of Information.” From there, songs range from balls-to-the-wall punkers (“Felix Tried to Kill Himself”; “Boiling Point”), well-considered workouts (“Family Time”; “Tunnel Vision”) and unguarded tenderness (“Wrong”; “Looney Bin”).

          Even people who couldn’t stand their earlier juvenile bullshit are now onboard. The toilet humor has been ditched, the band has gotten nasty and written songs about other people’s problems, terrible bands, fighting crime and trading sex for porn. Young was heard to say after one particular vocal take: “You deserve to be bashed for that.” The song’s on the record; you guess which one.

          Order of Operation is now their defining moment. If you don’t like this record, you pretty much won’t ever like Ausmuteants.

          Hey bro, check it out: In Memphis in early 2011, five people joined forces to start a punk rock band. They each came from different scenes—hardcore, psychedelic, and various flavors of indie pop. Things gelled. I mean, really came together, man! Following the release of two killer singles under the name Sex Cult, they were faced with a lawsuit from a similarly named and very aggressive techno label in New York City. So Sex Cult became Ex-Cult. Playing a series of house parties and gigs in dive bars, Ex-Cult honed their sound—a punk rock sweet spot that incorporates angular post-punk, flying saucer fuzz guitar, snotty vocals and bash-your-head-in energy. A real stone groove! Killer linear punk à la Wire, Urinals, Australia’s X or something, man! A show at SXSW caught the attention of indie wonderkind Ty Segall, and the two began making plans to record in San Francisco. This is the end result—a debut album that takes the living energy of their show and crams it onto the grooves of an LP. Wild, man! Wild!

          'The Last Donkey Show' is the latest album from everyone's favorite freaky Texas troubadour John Wesley Coleman. While Coleman's particular madman swerve still recalls Doug Sahm and Roky Erickson, this collection covers more territory than his earlier work. Does this mean the half-mad misfit has grown up? Not quite-but the songwriting chops are all there, from carney kookiness to fuzz rockers to barstool tearjerkers to dustbowl pop.

          In his own words: "That's right. My new album is called The Last Donkey Show. It is a fucking roller-coaster recorded in Oakland, California, at Greg Ashley's studio The Creamery and also in the country near Lockhardt, Texas, at my good buddy's childhood home. Aaron Blount is his name. He is a bad-ass songwriter friend of mine. We ate BBQ all day and shot BB guns and had a bonfire. There is a cast of characters on this record... It's a floodgate of memories. Every song has a crazy story. I will tell them to you some time. The donkey is a symbol of hard work, humor and death. I love it! See you at town near you. Eat Gus's Fried Chicken!"


          Eddy Current Suppression Ring

          So Many Things

          They've drawn comparisons to Wire, Can, The Fall, Fugazi and The Stooges. They have a singer who wears black gloves to overcome stage fright. They won the $30,000 Australian Music Prize for their 2008 album Primary Colours - then recorded the next one themselves in a few hours in their practice space and spent the dough on a photo shoot for the album cover. They do not care about you and your expectations. You could call them "fiercely independent" but they don't seem fierce at all.

          Quietly, and definitely on their own terms, Eddy Current Suppression Ring has become a force in underground music. Now, after three albums, it's time for a compilation of singles tracks, demos and other stuff they had lying round. Turns out there was lots to choose from-and even after trimming, they ended up with a double album. Goner Records is happy to provide 'So Many Things'.


          Overnight Lows

          City Of Rotten Eyes

          Goner Records release "City Of Rotten Eyes", the debut from Jackson, Mississippi’s Overnight Lows. It’s about time. Marsh and Daphne Nabors, guitar and bass, have been playing out as Overnight Lows ever since their previous band, The Comas, imploded in early 1995. Goner and many other labels have badgered them to record for years. Their reluctance to release anything until now reflects both their disdain for musical trends and their quest for a recording worthy of their sound. With "City Of Rotten Eyes", they’ve achieved it. Playing everything 'in the key of Hep C', the Overnight Lows mix a sick and sickened attitude with a classic Angry Samoans / Queers aesthetic: establish a blazing guitar riff, yell some memorable antisocial blather over it, hit a chorus, and get out. Who has time for anything else these days? Overnight Lows aren’t going to waste your time attempting to show you the path to enlightenment or the way to your lover’s heart. They’d rather show you the door. Melodies? Sure, kinda, but more like rhythmic chants to accompany you on your third trip back to the liquor store. The male / female vocal trade-offs add to the band’s desperate charm. Marsh and Daphne are backed by chef Paul Artigues from New Orleans’ Die Rotzz, a batterer of both drums and food.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. City Of Rotten Eyes
          2. So Well Read
          3. Eyesore
          4. Lipstick Burn
          5. Dirty Looks
          6. Static Scars
          7. Shut Up Looking At Me
          8. Bad Times
          9. Low Road
          10. Picked Apart (Left To Rot)
          11. Second Guess
          12. Last Meal For The Underachiever

          Burying 60s sing-alongs and dance crazes beneath waves of reverb and giddy thud, Ty Segall has carved out his own shelf in the San Francisco neo-psych garage alongside local compatriots and collaborators Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees. After shattering the Bay Area underground as a frantic one-man band that was devoured by the local press, Segall has now given up the solo act for a three-piece group that destroys sonic and melodic boundaries with manic glee. This new live set-up is a better reflection of his studio work. As an exploration of the space between Cro-Magnon fuzz and atmospheric acoustic psych, "Lemons" is the natural next step after his celebrated self-titled 2008 debut on Castle Face.


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