LISTEN: Goon – Paint by Numbers, Vol. 1, a lush EP filled with beauty and wonder

LA based band Goon have been releasing DIY music for a few years now, but find themselves moving in a totally different direction with Paint by Numbers, Volume 1. The band, led by vocalist Kenny Becker, released the full EP today (February 25th) after teasing excellent singles that we featured in our Best of the Month roundups.

After being dropped by their label near the start of the pandemic, Becker pressed on, recruiting new band members and employing a new sound. “Well fuck it, fuck a label,” he mused, and got to work stitching together a two-part, self-released EP in his apartment.

But although the EP was recorded in an apartment, nothing about it feels small or cramped. Synths and strings fill out the songs and the melodies soar. There’s a warmth to each track, like stepping out of the undergrowth and being hit with the sun.

Nature, of course, plays a big part in this EP. From the “Fruiting Body” music video‘s lush imagery to the sounds of the sea pulsing beneath “Garden of Our Neighbor,” the songs transport you to a faraway place where greenery thrives and your inner child can frolic freely.

Take your string/thread the pasta on

Tie the braid/read with me/little flower bud

Nostalgia, too, bleeds from each song. With lyrics about pasta necklaces, picnics, and little worms, there’s an innocence surrounding this release. Yet at the same time, there’s a warning hiding in the songs – not to let rose-colored glasses turn “blood red” and get too lost in the past, as comforting as it can be. In tracks like “Hi From Beyond,” Goon’s grungier roots show through, while still retaining a unique gentleness.

These five songs are incredibly full and dense, with clean production that honestly sounds more polished than a lot of major studio releases. This self-release signifies a fresh new start from them, and the future is certainly looking bright for Goon.

We got a chance to talk with Goon a bit about the EP, plants, and the pandemic.

Paint by Numbers 1 is self-released, right? What was it like to shift from a studio to recording in an apartment? Was that more constricting or more freeing?

Kenny Becker: Yes, we’re self-releasing this EP! Doing it DIY is really great. Of course there are huge perks to recording in a studio, but doing everything yourself in the comfort of your own home gives you a lot more opportunity to explore and get lost down long rabbit trails. You just gotta remember to eventually reign it in and actually finish something. 

Do you have a set release date for Paint by Numbers 2, or is it still a work in progress?

KB: We don’t have a release date for PBN2 yet, but I’d love for it to come out in the Fall 2022. It’s definitely still a work in progress! 

For the newer members of the group, what was it like to regroup with Becker for this dual EP? It sounds like everyone’s sound fits together really well, so I’m curious about what that process was like.

Tamara Simons (bass): It’s been so great, so smooth, so natural, everyone is so comfortable with each other and we get along so well. It’s a great balance of creating, experimenting, writing, then mixed in with having a blast and being best buds and goofing around. It’s just great.

Dillon Peralta (guitar): It’s been really fun and natural. Everything just fell into place and it makes the process so smooth.

Andy Polito (drums): Kenny has song ideas and calls me over to play some drums or just even bounce ideas around, it’s just super smooth. The big difference is that I’ve been in the band for almost 4 years now, so there’s more chemistry and we’re constantly growing into our comfort zone and experimenting more.

What’s it been like creating music during the pandemic? Have you been able to do shows at all?

KB: Making music during the pandemic has been one of the main things that consistently brings me joy. I’m so thankful to be able to do it at home. Shows have been hard to come by, which obviously sucks, but we’re happy to wait it out as long as necessary for things to get back to normal!

That being said, we have a show with Reggie Watts on Feb 25th at the Lodge Room in LA, couldn’t possibly be more stoked about that one! Also, we were given the incredible opportunity to open for Spoon’s secret record release show last night (Wed 2/9) at the Echo, that one was so wild! Those guys are truly a top-tier band. Also, it was amazing to have the bill say SPOON & GOON.

Your bandcamp profile for the EP is tagged as “plant music” – just how much did nature influence the sound of this EP?

KB: Plants, trees, and nature all definitely had a big impact on this EP. Within the past year, I spent a lot of time getting back into painting landscapes outside on-location. During the writing process, I often found myself relating back to that time spent outdoors.

Of course, in LA there are some great parks and hiking trails, but it’s hard to truly escape the city without driving an hour. So when I say “nature,” it’s kinda more like “nature as found in LA,” haha, or something like that. 

Lastly, what else do you have in store for the future?

KB: Well, Paint by Numbers, Vol. 2 is definitely going to happen at some point! And we haven’t “officially” announced it yet, but we have an LP coming out later this year that we’re very very excited to share. 🙂

You can purchase the EP here on Bandcamp, and check out their page here to see where you can stream their music and keep tabs on any of their upcoming concerts.

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