Album Review: Gooch Palms – Introverted Extroverts

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Getting in on the ground level of a band that you go onto love is both good and bad. On the one hand, you get to see them develop from their scrappy beginnings, going from struggling with a couple of chords to unprecedented levels of success. On the other hand, there’s that risk of the band developing further and further away from what made you like them in the first place – The Westerberg Effect, if you will. This is the crossroads that I find myself staring at with The Gooch Palms, one of my all time favourites – on their second full-length album, where they going to make a Let It Be or an All Shook Down?

Newcastle’s Kat Friend and Leroy McQueen have made extraordinary progress since their humble beginnings as proud Novos flogging a Ramones covers EP on Bandcamp; it’s been crazy to see them go from support slots in Frankie’s Pizza to the Enmore Theatre. Their success is well deserved – since relocating to the USA and amidst a near constant touring schedule, their stage presence, (which was already full of Beavis butt tattoos and Twisted Sister covers) has been honed into them realising their potential as one of the most reliably entertaining bands to have called Australia home. So yeah, the live aspect still rules, but what about the new album? Have the Yanks diluted that ragged garage pop spirit that drew in so many eager punters like myself?

NOT AT ALL! Are you kidding me? You doubting piece of shit! Why the hell would you think the Gooch Palms would suddenly lose their magic? Listen to “Tiny Insight” above – that song fucking rules. That track is the equivalent of a 2 Dollar Tequila Night – two minutes, and you’re covered in sweat, shivering and intoxicated, delirious on the elixir of something sweet and jagged at the same time.

Fans of that driving, gonzo punk that propelled The Gooch Palms to cult status will not be disappointed – Introverted Extroverts is full of songs like “Living Room Bop”, “Eat Up Ya Beans”, “If You Want It” and “Sleep Disorder” that showcase that distinct Gooch Palms sound. Cutthroat riffs and throat-shredding chorus’ pure bred for an adoring crowd to belt back into the faces of the two disciples of the Church of Reatard. It’s colourful, inhibition-obliterating stuff – alcohol, with none of the calories and twice the flavour.

However, what’s really precious about Introverted Extroverts aren’t the mad dashes of lunatic garage but rather the ballads that sit pretty amongst the insanity. The songwriting chops of Kat and Leroy have been significantly expanded – although their debut Novos had highlights in the slow-burners “Don’t Cry” and “You”, but the fourth quarter half court shots of “Long Gone” and “Don’t Look Me Up” force you to look at the Gooch Palms in a whole new light. Not only can these guys slow their songs down, there’s none of the holding-up-a-flickering-lighter-anthem strength that coated their debut’s softer moments – these songs are naked; songs of stand alone incredibility.

I don’t think you’d ever apply the word ‘matured’ to the band with a frontman that constantly relives Andrew Johns’ Greatest Hits every time he’s onstage, but I don’t think I ever want The Gooch Palms to ‘mature’. I want them to keep that rawness, that screeching element that forces anyone to drop what they’re doing in fear and excitement. But I also want them to build as a band, to never put out the same records twice. And in Introverted Extroverts, the Gooch Palms have done that. They’re not the same band that I first saw – they’re better.  The Gooch Palms have evolved in the way that you want  a band to involve: without abandoning their roots but building upon them. And in that, they’ve swayed from the Westerberg Effect and landed squarely in the Husker Du Hypothesis: keep the fuckers pleasantly surprised with more the same unexpectedness. Mission accomplished.

Introverted Extroverts is out now through Gooch Palm’s own label Summer Camp Records, and available here. They’ll be swinging back through Australia in a few months time, playing Oxford Art Factory on August 20th, tix here.

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New: The Gooch Palms – Tiny Insights

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Poor Newcastle – the Knights came in dead last in the comp, and they haven’t won a premiership in over a decade! Things are looking dire, the people need a hero, but all three Johns (Andrew, Matty, Daniel) are all looking like pretty dodgy candidates these days.

Enter the unlikeliest of heroes – The Gooch Palms. In just under 12 months, Newy’s finest have relocated to the USA, played with everyone from No Age to Cumstain, travelled the country enough to make Lewis and Clark crosseyed, and still had enough time to get their debut album re-released on Burger Records. If anyone was going to stand out as role models for these Newy kids, the nude, costume-centric, guitar thrashing duo of The Gooch Palms couldn’t be more perfect.

Wait, fuck, I’m not even done yet…They’ve ALSO recorded a new album, which will be released on their own label at some point next year.Check out “Tiny Insights”, a return to the stomping, simple format that made everyone fall in love with this band in the first place. Leroy yelps and squeals, churning out a guttural riff that could’ve been plied from the cold, dead hands of a Ramone, whilst Kat smashes the shit out of the drums like she’s stapled the faces of her enemies into the skins. It’s brittle, boney garage done right, smashed out and sounding as ramshackle and fun as ever.

PS – THE GOOCH PALMS WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR!!!! They’ll be tearing a new one at The Vic on the Park Hotel on the 1st of January, as well as playing a headline show at OAF on the 25th of Feb, with Los Tones and Wildhoney.

New Aus Punk: Destiny 3000 + Cereal Killer + Woollen Kits + Nailhouse

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Destiny 3000 – Destiny 3000 7″

This record has been on the burner since the second best Fast and Furious movie was released (Furious 6, for those keeping score at home). Destiny 3000 haven’t played all that many shows either in recent history, which is a shame, because they will make your ears bleed and your heart swoon. But putting all of that aside, they have finally released a record, and it is worth all the droning Vin Diesel monologues about family in the world.

This 7″ is just so fantastic in every aspect. Coated in grime, guitars battling for supremacy, and an overall disaffected garage pop aesthetic that puts Destiny 3000 next to Australia’s premiere shredders like Angie, Miss Destiny, and The Friendsters. Although only four songs long, and attached with a mild uncertainty as to if Destiny 3000 will stick around to record anything more (knock on wood), this 7″ will, at the very least, form some sort of legacy for a deserving band.

Cereal Killer – Track 1

Barely nudging past one minute, Cereal Killer put a whole lot of other punk bands to shame in a deft swoop of snotty, thumb-biting vocals and flailing guitars. It’s dine and dash punk, a flurry of distraction action that gets you all exhilarated…”What’s happening?”, “This is great!”, “I hope this song goes on forever!”…before finishing in the same amount of time as a the life cycle of a mayfly with a heroin problem.

Woollen Kits – Girl With Heart 7″

Not really a punk band, but you’re too far through the “article” (and I do mean that in the loosest definition possible) to stop now. C’mon, I believe in you. Besides, you’ll like Woollen Kits, I guarantee it. They’re easily the most underrated band in their genre of strummed guitar pop…how the fuck can a band release two perfect albums and still not be gracing the cover of the New Musical Express with fancy haircuts and a hyperbolic headline*? How are Woollen Kits not best mates with Johnny Depp?

The time will come when Woollen Kits are rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s sharpest dressed, and botox treatments are referred to as “Lazy Tuesdays with Alan Rickman”. Until then, feel free to crash into some more-of-the-blessed-same pop via the brief but welcome Girl With Heart 7″.

*The irony of me calling out someone on irony is registered.

Nailhouse – Nailhouse

Straight outta Newcastle is some punk of the demonic variety. Nailhouse share a lot in common with FANG and Flipper, preferring to indulge in feedback-laden drones of nihilism than any sort of accessibility scheme. Built from steely glares and throat-crunching cries, Nailhouse climb on top of their own precarious lodgings of noise, only to fling themselves off. It’s music that could only come from a forgotten town like Newcastle, where the cultural cringe is worn on the sleeve. Frayed and loaded with loathing, Nailhouse’s “March” stands out strongly as a despairing track on a despairing tape from a despairing band in a pretty alright city.

New: White Gums – Float EP

 

I’m mostly familiar with Newcastle’s punk and hardcore scene – most of the stuff that dribbles out of there is well worth your short attention span, folks like Bare Grillz, Rat King and Crab Smasher to name a few.

But for those who are looking for something a bit more lush, look no further than old mate White Gums. With electronica that flicks between distant thumping and wind chime glitches, this guy is destined to fucking kill it. Sonically, he’s entering the same realm as Four Tet, Burial and Caribou – and this bloke is only on his first EP! Imagine what he’s going to be doing on an album!

Only three tracks long, ‘Float’ is only a taste, but it’s the kind of taste that hooks you with the strength of the Mitchell 300 Pro. Opener “desreveR” has been getting a lot of attention, but follow ups “Float” and “Rattle” will also be good choices if you want to sink into some silky ambience.

Dicks and Golden Drumsticks: An Ode to the Gooch Palms

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The first time I ever saw the Gooch Palms was revolutionary. It was early October 2013, two days before my HSC Exams were to begin. It was a chilly Friday night, and myself and a good mate decided to head to the Cross and watch the Goochies launch their debut album ‘Novo’s’, aptly named after their hometown, Newcastle.

I had all the Gooch Palms’ material, from their early “Cucarachas” and ‘R U 4 Sirius’ 7″s, to their recently released record. I loved listening to this band, their catchy-as-hell chorus’ mixed with sweeter-than-rainbow punk rock. It was authentic, and vibrant, electric and eclectic. From their early, lo-fi recordings that were akin to balls-out (literally) Ramones rip-offs, and their synthier, DEVO side (“Participant No. 91”), to the power ballads of “You” and “Don’t Cry”, to the straight up garage ragers that should have festival crowds panting with joy in a few years time…The Gooch Palms have it all. And I had it all. I was so proud.

Back to the show…being just a mere few days before the most IMPORTANT EXAMS OF MY LIFE, I got insanely drunk. I didn’t know anyone at the show, and I felt out of place, and awkward. I wasn’t a punk, or a cool music dude. I was a nerd from a private school who just happened to hijack into the awesomeness of Anti-Fade Records’ discography. How the fuck was I allowed to enjoy something this special? A rowdy pub in the Cross, filled to the brim with deadset legends and talent bouncing from wall-to-wall was no place for a fucking blogger.

But you know what? The Gooch Palms changed that. They changed everything. For an 18 year old kid who’s previous most punk experience was watching Fucked Up perform with The Foo Fighters, The Gooch Palms showcased something insanely formative to my growth as a lover of punk rock and Australia’s wealth of talent. THEY DIDN’T CARE! They performed to a heaving crowd with the sort of enthusiasm that can only be described as biblical. Leroy spat on his tattooed chest with glee, and Kat smiled from behind her pink ‘do with beaming joy. They threw themselves into their music, and it made you want to throw yourself into it just as much as they did.

During “We Get By”, a salivatingly, pants-shittingly good track, as I thrashed at the front with reckless abandon, Leroy pulled me onto the stage. I accidently stepped on his pedals, and panic and grief struck my heart. Leroy didn’t give a shit. “Dance! Dance, man!”. I took off with something that can only be described as somewhere between Elvis Presley suffering a stroke and a guy at a Slayer concert. It was a fucked up heap of limbs, but no one cared, and my grin was bigger than anyone else.

And of course, there was Leroy’s nudity, an aspect that has now become one of the most recognised and anticipated aspects of The Gooch Palms’ live show. Some folks might see it as an excuse, or antic, trying to cover up bad music, but in fact, it is the opposite. It’s an accentuation of the madness and brilliance of this band. A garage band that doesn’t give a fuck, and in doing so, gives so many fucks.

For those who don’t know, The Gooch Palms are moving to America. Take a moment, it’s ok, I’ll wait. Shit, just typing this makes a single tear roll down my cheek like I’m in a goddamn Keep America Beautiful commercial. But really, it’s for the best. We don’t deserve a band like this, a band that can be so consistently good every time one sees them live. Two folks who care about each other, punk rockers nicer than most grandmothers. Two legends who know how to meld rock ‘n’ roll and pop together in a way that hasn’t been seen since Cheap Trick were at the top of their game.

The Gooch Palms have grown since that first fateful night. They’ve gone from playing support slots at midnight in Frankie’s, to being one of Australia’s most revered and beloved rock ‘n’ roll acts. They got matching uniforms, toured America, and Leroy got a green tinge to his mullet. I’ve grown as well. I’ve learnt to try to not be such a fuckwit, to go to as many shows as possible, and to try and be a more excellent human being. But no matter how much I try, I probably won’t live up to legend-itude of The Gooch Palms.

The Gooch Palms play their final shows this weekend, playing in Newcastle this Friday, and Sydney on Saturday. Proven legends Straight Arrows are main support for both shows, whilst deadset heroes The Sufferjets and newbies Raave Tapes support in Newy, and shred magicians Los Tones play in Sydney.

If you see Kat or Leroy around, go up, hug them, and wish them well (and shove $50 in their hand, USA is xpensive). It’s gonna be a tough year without knowing there’s a Goochies show around the corner for all hell to break loose. But we wish them well, and hope that the Yanks get to experience The Gooch Palms for the first time in exactly the same way I did, as a cerebral and unforgettable force of garage punk. Adios to one of my favourite bands. Adios to one of your favourite bands. See y’all at the shows!

New: The Gooch Palms – Trackside Daze

After creating some of the most brutally loveable performances of the year, with shows at The Lansdowne, Oxford Art Factory and Fishbowl shattering expectations and OH&S standards, The Gooch Palms have announced that they’re fucking off. Being one of Australia’s most lively bands, and compromised of one’n’only characters, Kat and Leroy will be sorely missed.

But they’re not pissing away without leaving a few skidmarks first. They’ve announced a new 7″, with the first track “Trackside Daze” promising itself as a stadium belter that Cheap Trick forgot to record in the 80’s. Although Gooch Palms have their trademark speedball guitar and thumping tom ‘n’ snare combo, you can definetely see Robin Zander throwing his hair every which way to “Trackside Daze”‘s affirming chorus.

If The Gooch Palms are truly leaving us behind, at least it’s with the knowledge that America will be getting its assumptions of the Aussie garage band shattered beyond repair. If The Gooch Palms can continue in the vein of “Trackside Daze”, then America is sorted for pants-shittingly good music.

Make sure you catch El Goocherama at their final shows in Australia ever. 20th of December at Brighton Up Bar (with Bowl Cut), MATES at The Lansdowne (with Palms, Straight Arrows, Bad//Dreems,  DJ Sunburnt Ginger) and the 21st of February at Newtown Social Club.

New: Nailhouse – Stained

How about that real punk rock, aye? How about that shit that screams and slithers and pronounces itself with all sorts of fucked up intentions? That’s what Nailhouse go for, spindly, terrifying guitars looming over gargantuan bellows delivered at a galeforce. “You’re fucking with my head” the Newcastle fellows sneer, asserting Nailhouse into a sludgy, B-grade slasher version of The Monks or something. Just goes to show that when you haven’t heard any decent punk in a while, Newcastle still knows what’s up.

Video: The Gooch Palms – Hungry

Those crazy Gooch kids! They’ve engaged the wrath of the Fast Food Gang! Hyped up with a bubblegum punk anthem, old mates Goochies get caught up in a bloodbath that features chips, donuts, hotdogs and burgers. There’s a gunfight, a stabbing and a mauling. There’s cream filling and fake blood abound. The whole thing is a food fetishist/garage rock enthusiast’s wet dream. Fuck me, this clip is despicably enjoyable!

Gig Review: Straight Arrows + The Gooch Palms + TV Colours

Saturday 28 June @ The Fishbowl, Newcastle

You’re fucking kidding me, right? Three of Australia’s greatest bands in one house party? You’re fucking joking, right? That shit doesn’t exist in reality, does it? And yet, after a week of coughing up my lungs, and too much Codral, I found myself in Newy for the first time in my life, with a crudely drawn cock on one hand, and a sixie of South Korea’s finest brew in the other.

TV Colours are already blasting through a set off their debut album, with killer cuts like ‘Beverly’ ringing out onto the otherwise quiet Newcastle streets. These songs are Husker Du shredded down to Canberra size, and let loose in the Australian landscape. There’s probably nothing more beautiful than watching Robin and co. deliver with such confidence. Having seen TV Colours a half dozen times, its insane to see how the band has developed from being kind of sloppy and withdrawn, to being a hurricane of guitar shredding and explosiveness. In Newcastle, with only a hundred people in witness, TV Colours executed one of their best sets. As ‘Dark Days Against the Fade’ and ‘Bad Dreams’ rounded out the set, it’d be fair to say that everyone was fairly fucking stoked to see TV Colours play one of their finest shows.

After ‘Purple Skies, Toxic River’ had finished, Newy’s finest hit the stages. Kat and Leroy, aka The Gooch Palms are well-documented as one of Australia’s greatest current bands to see live. There will be sweat, there will be nudity, and there will be a cover of Twisted Sister’s ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.

The Goochies fuckin’ rule, and they were in top form. Sure, there were a couple technical issues, but that’s to be expected when you’re in a thronging crowd at a house party, in a city where there isn’t a million amazing gigs every week. When a show comes along this good, Newcastle folk don’t hold back, and they show no mercy. Neither did Leroy-a couple songs in, and his signature nudity was proudly on display, and his sweaty arse covered the faces of the front row. ‘Hunter Street Mall’, ‘You’ and ‘We Get By’ were taken and happily ravaged by the hometown crowd, and with this advantage,  the usual Gooch Palms shenanigans went into hyperspeed.

Finally, the house party hits its finale-Straight Arrows. Sydney’s finest wasted no time in laying waste to the crowd’s depleted energy. Straight Arrows don’t give a shit if you’re running low on fumes, you are going to party, and you are going to party hard. Although the toilet paper was limited this time around, the good times were still in full swing, as Straight Arrows tore through songs harder than Ivan Milat tore into naive backpackers. With cuts off both their debut and sophomore getting the sweaty, adoring treatment, Straight Arrows pulverised eyes and ears in the Fishbowl, ensuring that more people went home deaf and happy than not. The set, which included favourites like ‘Magic Sceptre’, ‘Something Happens’ and recent gut-churner, foot-stomper ‘Petrified’, managed to pulverise all five senses, and occasionally the sixth one.

I left the Fishbowl, drenched in a stench on par with a skunk dipped in rancid feces, and with a Dinosar Jr. t-shirt wetter than a nun at a porn shoot, to sleep in a Mini Cooper in the streets of Newcastle. Sure, my back was more cramped than an 80 year old arthritis patient, and sure, I froze my nipples off. But the fact that I had just witnessed three of Australia’s best bands at a house party in bloody Newcastle. Fuckin’ ripper of a Saturday night, if I don’t say so myself.

Video: Life Coach-Tigersharx

I wish I had a life coach. To tell me stuff like, ‘No, Ryan, she has herpes’ and, ‘Now, don’t go sticking your dick in the microwave’. It would’ve saved me A LOT of trouble. However, I’ve had to make do with this killer new band called Life Coach from Newcastle, and am currently sitting here typing with a sizzling groin.

Well, make-do isn’t the right word. If it weren’t for my STD-riddled body, I’d be jumping around to this fuzz-beast, just like the lucky kids in the skate park. ‘Tigersharx’ is an earnest pop-punk jam, similar to shredders like Palms, Wax Witches and Step-Panther. And if my sincere love for the track isn’t enough, then how about the fact that Al Grigg (Palms) and Owen Penglis (Straight Arrows) have contributed to the track? Yeah, that’s right if Sydney’s loosest are in love with a fucking amazing track like this one, why wouldn’t you be?