Goon dive into their hazy and hauntingly beautiful album ‘Hour of Green Evening,’ an immersive, immediate indie/art rock record dwelling in the vastness of life and the depths of experience.
Stream: “Ochre” – Goon
An intimate and expansive tapestry of sound envelops the ears as GOON’s sophomore album gets underway. Churning indie rock guitars and driving drums cut through a captivating blur of colorful, ethereal soundscapes; heartfelt vocals explore everything from memory to anxiety, picking apart little moments of the past and wondering what the future might be bring. Hazy and hauntingly beautiful, Hour of Green Evening is a series of snapshots: Goon dwell in the vastness of life and the depths of experience, inviting all to join them in a warm and wistful radiant reverie.
i wandered out of bed
cuz there’s a firing line in my head
and it worked for a minute
open my evil eye
up ahead, arrow
only then, i know
up ahead and out the window
whatever worries say
and even if they’re right
you’ll rise anyway
then i picked out a yellow
under the amber light
Independently out July 15, 2022, Hour of Green Evening is subtle and serene, stunning and stirring, expansive and insular – and anything but one-note. The full-length follow-up to 2019’s Heaven is Humming and this past February’s Paint by Numbers, Vol. 1 EP sees Goon embracing a vast expanse of alternative and art rock sound, colors, and textures. Consisting of frontman Kenny Becker, Andy Polito on drums, Dillon Peralta on guitar, and Tamara Simons on bass, the band have long been a unique force in Los Angeles’ seemingly endless music scene; through this album, they establish themselves as one of the West Coast’s need-to-know acts.
For Goon, Hour of Green Evening is both a fresh start and a long time coming.
“Leading up to making this record, two members had left the band, we parted ways with our label, then we found new bandmates,” Kenny Becker tells Atwood Magazine. “I also got married to my wife, Emily Elkin. After all those things happened, the conditions felt perfect to make the record I had always wanted to make, as cliché as that might sound. I wanted the record to thoughtfully hone in on a bunch of themes that have captivated me my whole life. Themes such as nature, childhood, nostalgia, anxiety, depression, self-harm, plants, colors, landscape painting, Legend of Zelda, numerology, unseen cosmic forces, and growing up in the suburbs. Those concepts might all seem a bit disparate and unrelated, but to me they all fit together in a way, and I wanted to capture that on this album.”
“We recorded it at an amazing studio in Glendale, CA called Tropico Beauty. Our friend Phil Hartunian engineered and produced the sessions with us, and it was the first time we’ve ever recorded anything live, all together as a full band. Phil introduced us to Alex Fischel from Spoon, who ended up playing keys on many tracks, and was crucial to the recording process. My wife Emily Elkin plays cello all over the record, along with our friends Heather Lockie on viola, and Eric Clark on violin. Phil also introduced us to the wonderful Brian Rosemeyer, who mixed it.”
“Going into it, I wanted the record to be both immersive and immediate, if that makes sense,” he adds. “Also, in both the lyrics and music, the priority was for it to feel comforting and inviting. Sonically speaking, I was hoping we could achieve all this with some lush yet vibe-y studio production, and I think working with Phil at Tropico Beauty ended up being exactly that. Unlike our previous records, the vision for this album didn’t change throughout the process of making it. From start to finish, the intention was for it to operate as a singular, whole piece of music. That being said, I did spend a considerable amount of time after the Tropico Beauty sessions adding my own field recordings, cassette tape loops, and synth textures. The synth sounds at the beginning and all throughout “Angelnumber 1210” are a good example of this.”
I think it definitely captures where we currently are as a band. We’re all really proud of how it came out. Our hope was to make something that defines this new chapter we’re in, and I think we did just that.
To Becker, the album’s title feels both specific and ambiguous. It’s perfect combination for a record that unearths so much, both within artist and listener alike.
“In my mind, it’s referring to that time at the end of the day when the sun is just about going down, and like, the green of the trees in your neighborhood seem to be glowing from the deep yellow light that happens around then,” he says. “I think that specific time of day is so captivating and kinda heartbreaking because it’s so fleeting and obviously transitional. It’s like you can’t help but become somewhat aware of the impermanence of everything. I tend to go on walks around that time, and on one walk in particular, the combination of words “Hour of Green Evening” just sorta appeared in my head.”
The album’s two pre-release singles “Angelnumber 1210” and “Ochre” have thus far hinted at its sonic and lyrical depths, but there’s far more excitement to come; Becker refers to the track “Emily Says” as the “quiet, beating heart of the record.” A poignant and moving ode to his wife, it’s the most “Goon”-sounding alternative love song one can imagine. “I’m hoping that heaven will hear me out,” Becker cries, his voice aching with palpable passion and heart-on-sleeve emotion as an instrumental turmoil slowly, softly brews around him.
“It’s about how falling in love can save your life,” he explains, “but it doesn’t fix any of your problems. The chaos of life will persist, but it’s a little bit better, because we’re not facing it on our own anymore. We’re together.”
Yet truly, this is a record full of highlights great and small. “‘Buffalo’ is definitely a favorite for us,” Becker notes. “It was a really fun challenge to record that one. I also love “Ochre” for how quiet it is, and because it’s the only Goon song (so far) that swings. Also I love “Last Light On” for how different the production is from previous Goon tunes. Plus it’s fun for the last song on the album to have the word “last” in the title.”
On the subject of favorite lyrics, he adds, “There’s a line in ‘Wavy Maze’ that directly references Zelda: Ocarina of Time, ‘When I was small Saria’s ageless song played along a pattern and a path to follow.’ And in the middle of ‘Emily Says’, there’s a stanza I’m quite fond of that summarizes the conflict between being so in love with Emily that it basically saved my life, yet still having to wrestle with my own depression and anxiety which persist despite having this great joy in my life.”
it hinges here in the air
a garden in wait, blanket of sunshine
and I’m like, “I wanna be there”
and Emily says, “hope still appears”
and though I know in my heart it’s right,
I’m feeling like hurting myself tonight
nobody’s candle is burning bright
Whether they’re spilling their souls or embracing a moment of stillness, Goon ensure that Hour Of Green Evening is a journey we’ll keep coming back to time and again. Lush, lilting, poetic, and immersive, it’s as perfect a soundtrack to movement as it is to meditation; a set of songs ready to join us for mid-morning strolls and dead-of-night ruminations.
“I’d be honored for anyone to interpret the record in any way they might want to,” Becker shares. “I can only hope that people get as much comfort and catharsis out of it as I got while making it. It feels amazing that it’s finally out in the world. I think it’s time to start making a new one.”
Experience the full record upon its release on July 15, and peek inside Goon’s Hour of Green Evening with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their sophomore album!
:: Inside Hour of Green Evening ::
Pink and Orange
I’ve always loved the idea of an instrumental intro, some of our favorite records start with them (Music Has the Right to Children, Campfire Headphase, Tomorrow’s Harvest… all our favorite records are by Boards of Canada lol). This track was mostly created on my Tascam 414 mkii. The main percussion that you hear is actually a pair of scissors that I attempted to snip as rhythmically as I could.
The lyrics refer to a “past life” which I think of as my childhood. I was trying to focus on that feeling of sleeping in long after everyone else has woken up. You’ve got no alarm clock set, so maybe it was some weird, gentle cosmic force or entity, like “beams of sound” in the trees that woke you up.
And I wanted to evoke a safe, comforting feeling about it. Like, you still met the morning dew. It hung around and you didn’t miss it.
My wife has always had a fondness for the number 1210, we always notice it when it pops up, and she even has it tattooed. I love being open to patterns and numbers like that. I don’t really believe that numbers have inherent prophetic meanings, but I do think they’re interesting and powerful in a way that kinda suggests some order behind the chaos of everything.
I liked the idea of juxtaposing simple, candid moments with weird, ritualistic, vaguely religious imagery. I think the reason for that is because it sort of illuminates the mundane moments as being equally sacred. This concept ends up occurring a lot in this record.
This was a really fun one to record because it was such a departure from our normal way of structuring songs. I wanted it to take some unexpected turns and sorta pull the rug out from the listener, but like in a nice way. As a band, I think we are all collectively the most proud of this one. Andy, Dillon and Tam all came up with really awesome parts. The strings on this song are a brilliant trio composed of Heather Lockie on viola, Eric Clark on violin, and my wife Emily Elkin on cello. This same trio is heard on Another Window, Bend Back, Ochre, Lyra, and Last Light On.
This song is probably the most childhood-focused of the bunch. It’s mostly made up of direct references to images from my adolescence. The opening verse refers to a memory of that strange, longing feeling in the backseat of the car as we’re being driven home, my little brother Isaac is asleep next to me, and the “orange shapes” that “arrange and change again” are the shadows and light that fill the inside of the car from the passing street lamps. You could always tell we were getting close to home when we would pass by a certain cluster of eucalyptus trees. And you wouldn’t have to be looking out the window to know we had reached them, the orange light that filled the car would dramatically change from smooth geometric shapes to big clusters of leaves.
“Saria’s ageless song” is a reference from Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That game had a profound impact on both my and Dillon’s childhood. There’s a scene early in the game between Saria and Link as he’s leaving Kokiri Forest, she gives him an ocarina and says goodbye. The way it plays out is just so heartbreaking. There’s no dramatic music behind it, just mournful cries from distant birds. It’s such a beautifully sad moment and has always stuck with me.
This song is essentially about how when my wife Emily and I first met in 2018, we kind of saved each other’s lives. Yet, while we have become a very safe place for each other in our own depression and anxieties, neither of us are cured of those things. I wanted to convey that sort of beautiful yet heart-wringing conflict.
I’ll admit it’s pretty dark, but to be completely candid, the line “I’m hoping that heaven will hear me out” is referring to a particularly bleak thought I once had that if I killed myself, I would hope that when I’m at the gates of heaven, making my case for why I did it, that they would at least understand.
The title is a play on the song “Stephanie Says” by Velvet Underground.
We struggled in the studio on this one. It seemed like we could never get the feeling quite right until our friend Alex Fischel (Spoon) serendipitously sat in on Wurlitzer. He’d play through an analog delay pedal, and he would be playing the knobs on the pedal just as much as he’d play the keys. He’s brilliant. Having him there brought such a fun, spontaneous and loose vibe to the sessions. So much so that on Bend Back, our first take with him ended up being the one we kept. He also played on Angelnumber 1210, Buffalo, Ochre, and Lyra.
The guitar riff that this song is built around is a love letter to Pinback, which is sorta hinted at in the title. They’re a really important band to all four of us.
Similar to “Another Window” and “Buffalo”, I really enjoyed writing somewhat spiritual, vaguely religious images into these lyrics. For example, Baal is a god worshiped by the Caananites in the Old Testament, and basically becomes shorthand for Beelzebub/Satan. So I wasn’t sure what specifically “balm of Baal” was when I wrote it, but I did imagine it as a pseudonym for some mind altering substance.
I also wrote this song shortly after my best friend Jake moved to New York, so that’s who the second verse is about.
Similar to “Pink and Orange”, this one was created almost entirely on my Tascam four track. I recorded myself playing the piano at my parents house, then I pitched it down and added some weird little sounds. Conceptually, it felt fitting to record a song on the piano that I grew up learning how to play on.
Similar to Emily Says, this track also centers around anxieties and depression. Like that feeling when you’re laying in bed wide awake at 3 am and your mind is racing so much that you just have to get up and walk around.
To me, the “arrow” refers to the inevitable passage of time. Knowing that every moment will eventually pass, and therefore just trying to focus on the present.
This was an especially fun one to record because it’s the only Goon song so far that swings. Also our brilliant buddy Alex Fischel plays piano on this track, and he totally improvised that piano bit at the very end.
The lyrics of this song recount a memory of lighting fireworks at a river on a camping trip with some friends.
The title refers to the constellation Lyra. I’ve always liked that one because it depicts a lyre, and while I’m certainly no astronomer, it’s the only constellation I know of that represents a musical instrument.
Also worth noting that this was yet another track that Alex Fischel lent his Wurlitzer playing to, and totally helped us break out of a recording rut.
Last Light On
This record has a pretty strong emphasis on different times of day. I mean I guess it’s even in the title. But I especially pictured this song happening right before sunrise, when everything looks completely blue. That’s what “hydrangea lawn, azure till the dawn” is referring to.
I definitely love to stay up late. I think I do my most creative stuff after 1am, and I tend to be the last one awake. But while writing this song, I kept coming back to a scenario from my childhood which is basically the opposite of me being the last one awake:
After sleeping for what felt like a long time, I would wake up in the middle of the night at my Grandma’s house to go to the bathroom. But then I’d see down the dark hallway that the kitchen light was still on. Upon investigating, I’d find my Grandma and Dad just hanging out and talking. There was something so comforting about knowing that they had been awake that whole time. It’s one of those things I had no clue I would miss so much until long after it stopped happening.
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📸 © Josh Beavers
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