Posts Tagged ‘Up To Anything’

The Goon Sax

Still in high school when they made their first album Up To Anything in 2016, their brand of awkwardly transcendent teenage guitar pop took them into end of year lists for BBC6, Billboard and Rough Trade, and earned them raves from the Guardian, Pitchfork, Spin, Uncut, Rolling Stone and elsewhere. According to Metacritic, Up To Anything was the 8th best-reviewed debut album anywhere in the world in 2016.

Up To Anything, their 2016 debut from Brisbane, Australia group The Goon Sax, was a brilliant reminder of indie pop’s effectiveness when it’s distilled to its simplest form: loose, jangling guitars and wry, understated vocals. But when it came time for the trio to record what became their second album, We’re Not Talking, each member of the band found themselves pondering the definition of “pop,” and how it related to the ways they wanted to develop their sound.


“Pop’s a really odd thing,” says bassist/guitarist/vocalist Louis Forster (who is the son of Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens). “I think some people just see [pop] as something sounding polished and ultimately very accessible. But I think pop’s something that exists in a lot of forms, in all kinds of music. On jazz records, there are parts that are really poppy. I guess our idea of pop is a very westernized thing, and it comes out in funny forms; to me, [pop] satisfies something human and subconscious—or it should.”

Accordingly, We’re Not Talkingbalances the band’s usual laser-focused emotional acuity and economical instrumentation with a more expansive take on pop formalism. The keening opening song, “Make Time 4 Love,” boasts insistent cowbell, delicate strings, and jaunty horns; “Sleep EZ” joins delicate, harmony-rich choruses indebted to ‘80s U.K. dreampop to a contorted bridge that boasts a spurt of disco-punk beats, wherein Forster stutter-sings like a skipping LP; and the fierce, emotionally wrecked highlight “She Knows” charges forward on turbulent strings and livewire bass grooves. Even the more straightforward, strummy acoustic-pop songs boast more (and different) hues; the lovely “We Can’t Win,” for example, adds mournful piano and glassy twinkles of percussion into the mix.

“We wanted to make this record more collaboratively,” says Forster. “We had more ideas and more things that we wanted to try out.”


We’re Not Talking shows how much can change between the ages of 17 and 19. It’s a record that takes the enthusiasms of youth and twists them into darker, more sophisticated shapes, full of lines like “When the bus went past your house and past your stop my eyes filled with tears” and “I’ve got a few things above my bed but it feels so empty, I’ve got spaces to fill and we’re not talking.” Relationships are now laced with hesitation, remorse, misunderstanding and ultimately compassion.

Strings, horns, even castanets sneak their way onto the album, but We’re Not Talking isn’t glossy throwaway pop. Sounds stick out at surprising angles, cow-bells become lead instruments and brief home-recorded fragments appear unexpectedly. This is a record made by restless artists, defying expectations as if hardly noticing, and its complexity makes We’re Not Talking even more of a marvel.

Forster and his bandmates bassist/guitarist James Harrison and drummer/vocalist Riley Jones were determined to push themselves on We’re Not Talking. Forster cites Scott Walker’s Scott 4 and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds as inspirations, as well as the work of ESG, Liquid Liquid, and Jenny Hval. “I really like how [Jenny Hval’s] record had those bits where everything sort of drops back, and it’s just spoken word,” he explains. “We were very obsessed with making something very honest, and she does that really, really well in her lyrics. They’re incredible.”

Jones spent much of the recording sessions trying to funnel her love for Tall Dwarfs’ Chris Knox into the final product. “I’d always be like, ‘Chris Knox reference, Chris Knox reference,’” she laughs, “and it just didn’t really come across. I don’t know if anyone else was behind [the idea], but I was just very inspired by him as a pop songwriter.”

The slippery definition of “pop music” was another topic of intra-band debate during the recording process. On Talking, the group worked with outside producers—Architecture In Helsinki vocalist Cameron Bird and the band’s former drummer/keyboardist/guitarist James Cecil.

“We wanted it to be more polished and poppier than the last [album],” Jones says. “We tried to explain to them what we wanted, but I think they really had different ideas about it, so it was a bit tough sometimes. We were all pushing for things, and we couldn’t communicate or couldn’t find a middle ground.”

Those clashing ideas didn’t undermine the final product, but they did give the band more insight into the ways they approach their career—and the possibilities available to them as a result. “When I said we wanted it to be more poppy,’ they were like, ‘OK, poppy,’ and then they had this completely different idea of pop,” Jones recalls. “I just had no idea that things could be that clean and so produced.”

Adds Forster: “Sometimes you forget that there are words that other people have a very different version of, you know? To us, ‘pop’ probably meant something worlds away from what other people would think. We think quite similarly sometimes, the three of us—we often think that because all three of us are on the same wavelength about something, it must be very obvious to anybody else, when it’s not.”

This deep, personal connection dates back to before the Goon Sax’s 2013 inception, when Forster and Harrison forged a fast friendship thanks to their shared musical interests (the Raincoats, the Clean, the Fall, Marine Girls) and—to borrow Jones’ phrasing similarly “silly” personalities; five years in, those personal bonds continue to provide a much-needed buffer against the trials of being in a band. “After the last tour, I was like, ‘Oh my God, can’t wait to get away from these guys,’” Jones recalls, adding with a laugh: “[I was] really ready for break, and then on day two, I was like, ‘Hey guys, are you doing anything today? Do you want to hang out, maybe?’ I just missed them.”

As the Goon Sax gear up for yet another tour—they’ll be spending the fall playing throughout England and North America—they remain cognizant of (and confident about) where they want their band to go in the future. To that end, We’re Not Talking is not so much a bridge to the next career milestone: it’s more like a roadmap.

“I definitely learned that I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do anymore,” Jones says. “We really thought, like, ‘Oh, we’re young, we probably need some grown-ups giving us some good advice.’ But I just want to be free to create stuff naturally, and to push it really far.”

Brisbane’s celebrated strum’n’drum teens The Goon Sax  With upcoming dates in the UK, France, Germany and other exotic locales, Goon Sax are heading off into a stripy-shirted future of castles, pumperknickel, gondolas and warm beer, and who knows when they’ll be back!
Their 2016’s debut album “Up To Anything” brought the band crashing into hearts the world over, earning them end of year best of list nods from Bloggers,Billboard Magazine, BBC 6 and Rough Trade, and spots on bills all over europe including Brighton’s renowned Great Escape..the band might play a raft of new tracks destined for album number two.


One Of our favourite bands of the year was Brisbane teen-trio, The Goon Sax. The band continued in a fine lineage of Australian indie-pop heroes, from The Lucksmiths to Architecture In Helsinki, and not least The Go-Betweens, who’s member Robert Forster is the father of The Goon Sax’s Louis.

The music on Up To Anything, the band’s debut release is a sublime study on teenage living outside of the cool crowd; it revels in the mundane yet soul-crushing details of growing up, from getting dodgy haircuts off your mum, coming to terms with your sexual preferences and triumphantly tucking into ice cream on your own. Musically, their sound is lo-fi and delightfully unfussy; Boyfriend with its huge chorus and meandering guitars interludes cut through with pulsing rushes of bass and drums, the chugging electric guitars and melodic bass of Sweaty Hands, and the mass sing-along finale of the triumphantly un-triumphant Ice Cream, that is enough to bring a smile to even the most cynical of folk. Best of all is their first single, Sometimes Accidentally, blending a tumbling guitar line with low rumbling bass and perfectly primal drums, it seems to teeter on the edge of falling apart but cling on for its life, lyrically too it seems to be about everything and nothing all at once, even its grand statement seems delightfully unsure of itself, “I don’t care about much, but one of the things I care about is you.” The Goon Sax tap into all the insecurities and doubts of youth and they do so with such exquisite attention to detail, that as a listener you feel you are living those formative days all over again with them.

It’s been an excellent year so far for teenage Australian trio The Goon Sax; they’ve released a critically acclaimed debut album, Up To Anything, and are about to embark on their first UK tour, as well as performing on national radio for Marc Riley. To celebrate their first trip to Europe,

The Goon Sax are pretty special. The Australian trio hail from Brisbane, and their thin, wiry, poetic sound ranks alongside Galaxie 500, The Velvet Underground’s twilight third record, or The Go Betweens.
Too young to know any better, the teen sensations have stumbled onto fresh ground, with their lo-fi take enforcing a real sense of originality. In many ways Sweaty Hands is classic The Goon Sax, effortlessly inviting the listener into the world of teenage romance with all its awkwardness, boredom and self-doubt. Sweaty Hands is one of the albums finest moments, from the primal drum beat to the rolling bass lines its melodic simplicity shines, as Louis’ lyrics take us on a tour of his neighbourhood, his mind constantly drifting back to an un-introduced, “you”. His ability to make the most everyday situation sound like some grand romantic quandary is un-flashily stunning, “I think about you in the elevator alone, and all the things I won’t say when I get home”.
New album ‘Up To Anything’ is a pastoral, hazy, thrill of a record, with The Goon Sax set to follow this with a substantial UK tour.
Check out the video for ‘Sweaty Hands’ its the fourth and most likely final video from The Goon Sax’s debut album Up To Anything, released in March 2016 by Chapter Music on vinyl, CD and digital. Catch the Goon Sax on UK/Spain tour in September,

The Goon Sax

The Goon Sax, the Brisbane three-piece we first mentioned somewhile ago now, are heading to the UK for their first UK tour.
Following the release of their debut album ‘Up To Anything’ in April, the teens – Louis Forster, James Harrison and Riley Jones, all 17-18 years old – they make their first appearance in the UK on September 27th at London’s Shacklewell Arms. See all other dates below.

Tour dates:
22 Teatro del Arte, Madrid – Spain
23 Lata de Bombillas, Zaragoza – Spain
27 Shacklewell Arms, London
28 Headrow House, Leeds
29 Eagle Inn, Manchester
30 Mono, Glasgow

They also shared the new retro video for recent single and album title track, ‘Up To Anything’.

Singer Louis Forster had this to say about the track:

“‘Up To Anything’ is the second last song I wrote for the album of the same name. I remember sitting down on the couch in my living room, it was 2 in the afternoon, the middle of summer and I hadn’t changed out of my pyjamas yet. I was waiting for James to come over, and suddenly I was playing the riff, the rest of the song came very quickly after that. The lyrics were just a snapshot of my life, which at that time felt tiresome and slow. A few weeks later I showed it to the band, and it became the standard opener for our set.”

This Saturday, terrific teen trio The Goon Sax kick off their Up To Anything album launch tour in sunny Sydney. The album has been getting hot press all over the world, including rave reviews in Mojo,Pitchfork, Uncut and Rolling Stone!, Chapter Music is excited to announce a new tour in the form of Brisbane teenagers Louis Forster, Riley Jones and James Harrison, aka The Goon Sax.

We fell in love with the trio The Goon Sax since the release of their early singles ‘Sometimes Accidentally’ and standout ‘Boyfriend’ which we called “a hooky three minutes that ride a down tempo wave of both laconic wit and painful longing.”

Signed last year to Chapter Music on the strength of an unsolicited demo, (the first time that has ever happened in the label’s history), the young collective have gone on to slay critics’ hearts internationally and play with the likes of US Girls, Twerps, Blank Realm and Crayon Fields,

The Goon Sax make pop music. They love the Pastels, Talking Heads, Galaxie 500, the Apartments, Woody Guthrie and Prince. The band formed at high school in 2013 when James and Louis began workshopping song ideas in James’ bedroom. Riley joined in March 2014, after a month of drum lessons, and the band played their first show a few months later. They’ve since played with the likes of Twerps, Blank Realm, Darren Hanlon and others.

CH132 Goon Sax RGB

Ludicrously talented teenage trio The Goon Sax had already grabbed our attention with barnstorming singles Boyfriend and Sometimes Accidentally, and featured in our ones to watch in 2016. This week to much excitement around these parts, they have confirmed details of their upcoming debut album, Up To Anything which will be released on Chapter Music next month.

They’ve also this week shared the albums title track, yet more evidence for the theory that they’re probably the most exciting Indie-Pop band on the planet. Here The Goon Sax are blending the glorious lo-fi melancholy of Galaxie 500 with the poppier moments of The Vaselines or Teenage Fanclub. As ever the lyrics tumble out as a stream of consciousness, painting vivid pictures of the mundane and sometimes lugubrious process of growing up, and wanting to be someone, singer Louis Foster noting, “I only do these things, so I can tell you about doing them”. Thrilling stuff, The Goon Sax take us back to memories of our teenage years, even though they’re still living through theirs, roll on the album.


The album Up To Anything is released on vinyl, digital and CD by Chapter Music on Friday March 11, 2016 Out Apr 8 in UK). Pre-orders available now (including instant downloads of this track plus previous singles Sometimes Accidentally and Boyfriend):


Fresh faced Brisbane trio The Goon Sax are a band who’s influences seem almost too old for their years. They may still be in their teenage years but they cite the likes of The Pastels, Galaxie 500 and Talking Heads as influences, and make the sort of music last heard being pedalled by Postcard Records at least a decade before any of these three were even born.

Whilst we’ll have to wait for their debut album, they’ve already shared two tantalising snapshots of what to expect in the shape of singles Boyfriend and Sometimes Accidentally. Boyfriend is a plea for, “a boyfriend or just anything real”, set to a fizzing-stab of drums and guitar; whilst Sometimes Accidentally is a glorious slice of downbeat jangle-pop. Music for your heartbroken inner teenager hasn’t sounded this fresh or exciting in a very long time.
first single from The Goon Sax debut album Up To Anything, to be released by Chapter Music in 2016.