Photo | facebook/pg/goodwinrainer
Band: Goodwin Rainer Album Release Party
Date: Friday, August 27th with doors at 8 p.m.
Venue: Alabama Music Box, 12 S. Conception St., www.alabamamusicbox.com
Tickets: $10 at the door
Even though punk rock has evolved through the years, many have a stereotypical concept of this genre being filled with vehement screams and blasting beats. While some punk bands might fit that description, Azalea City punk outfit Goodwin Rainer could easily dispel this assumption with the group’s debut album “Damn Good Friends.”
The band will be celebrating the release of this full-length with a live performance of “Damn Good Friends” alongside sets from Future Hate, Flying Racoon Suit and Joystick. If Goodwin Rainer’s live performance matches the studio tracks, the audience can expect an energetic delivery of thoughtful, complex rock that many will consider a welcome addition to the underground scene. For frontman Adam Waddle, the release of “Damn Good Friends” brings a satisfying finality to a musical journey that began several years ago.
“Some of these songs are pushing 5 years old,” Waddle said. “It’s great to finally have a good quality representation of what we do, because we’ve had some demos in the past that were pretty lo-fi. It’s nice to finally have something that actually encapsulates what we sound like.”
“Damn Good Friends” could hold some of the most unique punk sounds to ever emerge from the local underground scene. This is punk rock that even those intimidated by the abrasiveness of this musical style might find appealing on certain levels.
The group establishes the album’s inventive nature by expertly pulling elements from a variety of punk subgenres (and beyond) and piling them on a folk punk foundation. The appropriately titled opener “Blink!” begins as a raucous, lo-fi folk punk anthem before transcending into a world of horn-infused pop punk. “Paper Airplanes” conjures the ghost of Daniel Johnston and sweetens the track with ska-inspired horns in the key of PAIN. The album’s sixth track known simply as “⁓” mingles classic Pink Floyd style psychedelia with edgy punk. “Damn Good Friends” ends with the jazzy horns and layered harmonies of “Boomtown,” which Waddle says was one of the most challenging to record.
“Some of those vocal harmonies are hard to hit,” Waddle said. “We recorded the whole album in track order. So, with it being at the very end, I think that we put the most takes into vocals for that song.”
Waddle will admit that the album’s tracks started in a different musical reality than when they finished. He says that the “Damn Good Friends” that comprise the album’s line-up had a hand in nurturing these songs. The first friend was bassist Dan Palmer. Waddle found that the melodies of his songs benefitted from Palmer’s rhythmic basslines. Waddle and Palmer then decided to develop the songs further by adding drummer/pianist Trey Nobles. Finally, the trio decided to boost the folk punk aspect of the album with the addition of Perry Moran (mandolin/electric guitar) and Josh Vaughn (banjo). With each new member, Waddle says that a “building block” was added. He says that the song that underwent the greatest development is “Wildflower.”
“When stuff started, I was the only person singing,” Waddle explained. “Now, there’s a couple of vocal harmonies along with the horns that harmonize with the vocals in that song. It went from being one vocal part to a four-part harmony. I never thought that any of those songs would be musically in-depth like that, because they started out so bare bones.”
With such an ambitious collection of tracks, Goodwin Rainer could not help but search for a studio with the reputation, staff and gear to bring these songs to life. A former co-worker helped Waddle in this decision. Gabe Willis of Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet had lauded his experience at the iconic Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, La. In addition to Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet, Studio in the Country has hosted a variety of artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to Willie Nelson.
Waddle says that the band’s first excursion into a major studio was a different experience for the band. While the band experienced a natural apprehension, Goodwin Rainer’s preparation made for an easy transition from the group’s past DIY tracking in a bedroom. In time, the group established a great appreciation for hearing the tracks in their final mix with the various layers of instruments and vocals.
“In the studio, we live tracked everything besides the horns and the piano,” Waddle said. “After we laid those down, none of us had heard it completely put together besides at a couple of rehearsals. Hearing it back for the first time sounds way different than when we were playing these songs as a three-piece.”
Tracking was not the only experience that helped bring this album together. When the band was not in the studio, Goodwin Rainer justified the album’s name with nightly camaraderie. Waddle says that the band chose to stay at a house located on the Studio in the Country property. After the tracking for the day was complete, Waddle says that the band spent hours drinking and jamming around a fire. These post-tracking sessions have since become some of the most unforgettable memories of their time at Studio in the Country.
“We all agreed that weekend that we spent recording was the highlight of our lives both on a professional level and a personal level,” said Waddle.
This creative/social bond should work to Goodwin Rainer’s advantage at the album release party. Judging from the cuts on “Damn Good Friends,” the band’s ambitious undertaking will now shift from the studio to the stage. Considering the multilevel complexity of the arrangements on the album, the live performance of these tracks could be challenging. If the band can replicate onstage what they did in the studio, Goodwin Rainer’s album release party should earn both respect and fans for this truly promising band.
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