Goon LP Release Party

While Goon was making their debut LP, Heaven is Humming, frontman Kenny Becker

underwent an operation. The purpose was to treat a sinus condition that chronically debilitates

his sense of smell and taste, ultimately draining his senses at large, including his hearing. And

though that operation was a success, the nature of his condition means the results are only

temporary; he has to consider going back under the knife in recurring intervals in order to

repeatedly clear things up again.

“That’s the thing, it’ll always grow back,” Becker says. “They’re just polyps—it’s not cancer,

but it’s sort of similar in that they just grow back and nobody knows why.”

It’s as frustrating and debilitating as it sounds, but Becker prefers not to wallow in some kind of

tortured-artist trope; it’s not the anguish of the condition that drives him to make music. Rather,

he’s driven by the times when he’s freed from it.

“I always find a lot of encouragement in the fact that, like someone like Van Gogh, I’m able to

be productive in the times that I’m not sick,” he explains. “People like to romanticize the periods

in which Van Gogh was having a bad time, but it was actually because he was sick that he would

go outside and see a cherry-blossom tree and just be struck by its beauty. It would make him

realize, ‘This might be the last time I see this, because I don’t know when I’m gonna have this

snatched away from me again.’”

Written in these periods of health and optimism, Heaven is Humming has been a long time

coming. Three years coming, to be exact: singer/guitarist/songwriter Becker, singer/guitarist

Drew Eccleston, bassist Caleb Wicker, and drummer Christian Koons started work on the album

in the summer of 2016, right around the time Goon’s debut EP Dusk of Punk came ripping in

from the Los Angeles sky, spilling from the brim with monster riffs and deep hooks. After

spending some initial time in the studio with Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen of Gardens &

Villa in their space in the Frogtown neighborhood of LA, the first Goon LP could have easily

been rushed out. But instead the band chose to get it just right.

“I knew I wanted it to be around ten songs long, but I wanted there to be more than ten songs to

choose from, you know?” Becker explains. “What that led to was this phase of recording lots of

softer songs that were creations from my apartment. Two of them are on the

record—‘Snoqualmie’ and ‘CCLL,’ which are respectively the songs that end each side of the

record—and that period of exploration actually brought together all of the songs that ended up

becoming our second EP.”

That second EP—Happy Omen—was released at the end of 2017, on its own a substantial work,

crafted out of prospective full-length material that felt like it belonged as its own thing. It also

marked Goon’s arrival to Partisan Records, with the EP’s creation serving the added benefit of

allowing all the different pieces of Heaven is Humming, a post-grunge behemoth of an album, to

mesh together in the way the band had been waiting for.

“The initial seed of an idea was to make a full-band record—not a solo bedroom thing, which is

really all Goon had been up until that point—and I think that idea persisted throughout,” Becker

says. “I thought to myself, ‘This will be the rock album,’ for lack of a better way of describing it.

‘This will be either our Pablo Honey or our The Bends.’” But through meticulous revisions, that

big studio sound morphed into something of a homegrown hybrid beast: “I enjoy the fact that the

really heavy ‘F Jam’ and the really quiet ‘Snoqualmie’ exist on the same record. The whole thing

is loud and hits really hard, but it feels like it actually takes you places. To me it actually doesn’t

feel super cohesive, which I kind of like about it. It’s not just ten or eleven hard-hitting rock

songs. It’s...weird.”

Heaven is Humming is indeed weird in its fearless abandon, but it’s also comforting and familiar

at the same time, taking the sounds of foundational groups like Pixies and Boards of Canada and

contextualizing them through a modern lens, placing Goon alongside contemporaries like Forth

Wanderers, METZ, Young Jesus, and Partisan label-mates Dilly Dally. Becker croons like

Michael Stipe one minute and snarls like Frank Black the next, but you never lose the sense of

who these four guys are making a beautiful racket right in the here and now.

“When I listen to the record, I can’t help but hear the last three years,” Becker considers of a

transformative time period in which he himself got engaged and drummer Koons had his first

child. “The fact that they call it an ‘album,’ as in a ‘photo album’—it’s a documentation. Usually

what people mean by that in the musical sense is that you went into the studio for a week and a

half and you documented exactly where you were in that pinpointed moment. So this was like

that, but for a chapter—a huge chapter. The album has been a crazy journey of recording in

many different places, re-recording a lot of it at my own apartment, and really just not knowing

when to stop. But I’m grateful for what it led to.”

Are you still looking for a female vocalist? I am a guitarist as well as keyboard, ukulele, saxophone.
Re: looking for a female vocalist/guitaris (Shoegazy Project) (Los Angeles)
September 11, 2013 at 12:21am
Yes definitely! All those instruments would be a really nice addition. Have you played in a band before??



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