New York-based indie/pop rock music project Goodman – the brainchild of Michael Goodman, joined in-studio by Oliver Ignatius, Zac Coe, Peter Stampfel, Henry Kandel, Dan McLane, Peter Kilpin, Roberto Bettega, and Chadbourne Oliver – is revving up to release full-length project The Vicissitudes early next month. The LP Release Show will actually take place on February 8th at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, with The Shacks, Color Tongue, and The Misters as support. While we anxiously await that incredible lineup, we’ve got the exclusive premiere of the new track “Hourglass” to share with you.
Slightly reminiscent to The Cavaliers’ “Oh Where Can My Baby Be“, “Hourglass” introduces a twangy, beautiful instrumental vibe and robust, reverb-ridden vocals to accompany it. The song is perfect for this time of year, as the very first lyrics are the line “Well, it’s the new year.”
While Goodman waits “for [his] hourglass to turn,” we got to ask him some questions leading up to the big reveal of his new album. Check them out below!
Why music? What’s in it for you?
I’ve been writing songs since I was 5 years old, so I haven’t really thought about it in terms of “what’s in it for me” as it’s all I’ve really known.
How do you keep yourself inspired to continually create?
At this point, staying inspired isn’t the hurdle. I write a ton of songs, and if I had my druthers, I’d probably be releasing multiple albums a year. Alas, studio time comes at a premium, so that’s beyond my means. It’s probably a blessing in disguise though, because it means that when I do step into the studio, I’ve really focused on a cohesive batch of material. That being said, I also have another full-length after ‘The Vicissitudes’ that’s 100% finished.
Where do you feel most comfortable as an artist? On stage, in the studio, at home, on the road…somewhere else?
I love both playing live and recording, and they’re entirely different animals. Goodman started as a recording project while I was still in college, when my longtime buddy Oliver Ignatius first built his studio, Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen (and where I still record today). We recorded every instrument ourselves, and that boundless sense of “finding the thing” that makes the song come together is still one of my favorite processes in the world. I’m also a big perfectionist, so I love that the studio allows me to micromanage every little sound and take. When we play live, however, that’s when I can “let it all hang out” and play fast and loose with the songs. I think the live sound is louder and rawer than that of the recordings, and I enjoy that dichotomy.
The Vicissitudes comes out in February, and is very difficult to spell. What can we expect from the album?
I think this album is the “albumiest” of the Goodman albums so far. It definitely has its own sonic world going on, and a noticeable textural through line. Oliver and I initially decided to record it in mono, with no metronome or studio legerdemain. While we ended up panning it in stereo, it still has a production that I think is distinctive and not necessarily beholden to any time period.
We gave “Modern Girl” a review on IMPOSE, and it scored a 4/5. What was the particular motivation behind writing it?
I wrote the song back in 2009-2010. I’d had a conversation with someone whom I’d met in passing and he was venting to me about his relationship struggles, and later that night the phrase “misdirected rage and sexual anxiety” popped into my head along with the choral melody, and I built a song around it. I often start with the hook when I write songs.
If it isn’t too personal- what worked well with your time in the Spires, and what didn’t?
My time in Spires taught me a lot. It was the first time I’d been in a band where I wasn’t the frontman—I played lead/rhythm guitar and synth—so it gave me an opportunity to focus on arrangement. Also, it taught me to have a sense of humor about things outside of your control, like when your keyboard stand collapses on you during a taped showcase at SXSW, or when the 1998 Ford Super Duty hospital shuttle bus that you’ve been using as a makeshift tour bus breaks down in Macon, GA. You know, things like that.
Do you have any fun or interesting stories to share from The Vicissitudes?
Oliver and I have a customary practice of recording a fake genre song under a fake artist name for every album/EP we do together. This time around, I created a fake Stiff Records pub rocker named Wiz Tenkins. You can hear that single here. We plan on making a full-length Wiz Tenkins LP and are in the process of writing a screenplay about his trials and tribulations.
Also, one of my idols, Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders & The Fugs contributes fiddle and vocals on a couple of tracks, so that’s something I’m excited about. Oh yeah, and my 6th grade science teacher, Henry Kandel, plays saxophone on a couple of tracks as well. He’s an awesome songwriter in his own right. Look his stuff up!
Have any dream collaborations? With particular artists, producers, or anyone?
Jeff Lynne, Brian Eno, John Cale, Tony Visconti, Nathan Lane.
If you could introduce yourself to an audience in any way . . . no limitations- how would you do it?
INT. MASTERCHEF KITCHEN – EVENING
(GORDON RAMSAY, GRAHAM ELLIOT & CHRISTINA TOSI stand at the front of the kitchen. The CONTESTANTS stand around; quivering with anticipation.)
GORDON: Alright chefs, this next challenge will be your hardest yet, because not only will you be cooking for us, but there’s a very special guest who’ll be judging your dishes.
(Ooohs and aaahs from the contestants.)
CHRISTINA: Are you ready to meet our guest judge?
GRAHAM: From New York City, here’s emerging rock musician, Goodman!
(BEFUDDLED, TEPID APPLAUSE from the contestants.)
CUT TO: CONFESSIONAL ROOM
CONTESTANT 1: To be honest, was really thinking it was gonna be Wolfgang Puck.
CUT TO: CONFESSIONAL ROOM 2
CONTESTANT 2: Who the fuck is this kid, and where’s Jacques Pepin?
Anything else you would like to let our readers know?
Goodman has an extensive back catalogue of 2 other albums, 2 EP’s and other singles/covers/juvenilia. Check it out, there’s some good stuff in there!