THE GOOCH PALMS
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Once upon a time in a land far away a Frankenstein's monster of a baby was created. Equal parts GG Allin, Iggy Pop, Roy Orbison and David Johansen; this baby was an unusual child that would be raised all the way across the oceans in the suburbs of Newcastle, Australia by two very normal parents. Their normality however, could not stifle the ever-growing demon inside the boy that at age 14 would be unleashed on an unsuspecting Novocastrian audience. This boy is Leroy Macqueen; singer, guitarist and one half of notorious garage-punk duo The Gooch Palms.
His partner in this story is Kat Friend, a fellow Novo that as a young girl, always dreamed of meeting her demented prince charming and starting a band with him. And sometimes, dreams really do come true. Not so long ago she picked up a couple of drum sticks, got herself two drums and hasn't looked back ever since. In the very short while it has taken Kat to become a bona fide shit-pop goddess, she has also become an absolute pro at providing the much needed yin to Leroy's schizophrenic yang, keeping it cool as a cucumber while oozing her very own brand of badass-femme-sass.
Together these two are an unstoppable force that have been turning heads and boners everywhere they go. They play catchy-as-hell pop music for the underdogs of this world, singing songs about bogan life in a small industrial town on an isolated continent in a far away hemisphere. Not to mention a lot of songs about outter-space. The Gooch Palms debut album Novo's delves into the reality of what life in Newcastle is like for these two misfits and the good, the bad and the boredom that comes with it. Released through Anti Fade Records Novo's quickly sold out of the first pressing and a second pressing is currently in the works.
While these guys may not be a household name outside of their native Australia just yet they have shared line-ups across Australia with some amazing international acts such as The Sonics, Redd Kross, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Thee Oh Sees, 5,6,7,8's, Nobunny, Hunx & His Punx, Shannon & The Clams, Personal & The Pizzas, The King Khan & BBQ Show, Tyvek, Usless Eaters, Real Numbers plus many more and have been blowing audiences away with their high energy, take no prisoners, balls out, drool-inducing live shows. They make a lot of noise for a two piece with such a minimal set-up and what they lack in instrumentation they make up for in stage presence and songs that you'll be humming, whether you want to or not, for days, months or maybe even years after the show is over.
Da Goochies as they are affectionally know in Aus will be finally spreading their wings this August and September, jetsetting across the globe to the big old United States of America for a National tour ending at Gonerfest in Memphis. Best keep your eyes, ears and foreskins peeled for any upcoming shows as you wont want to miss out on a second of the what The Gooch Palms will be serving up!
LIVE REVIEW FROM GOOCH PALMS ALBUM LAUNCH IN BRISBANE - NEWS UNLIMITED
The Gooch Palms band consists of Kat Friend on drums and Leroy Macqueen takes on guitar and lead vocals, together this twosome are one of the most electrifying, exciting and truly unique live acts in the country.
Their music is pure punk rock, often rough but always bombastic, the set is comprised mainly from tracks from their debut album NOVO’S. With few tracks barely clocking in a four minutes, it’s fast and furious as Friend and Macqueen tear into each song with a rarely seen veracity. Macqueen is a one of kind front man, he pulls manic, monstrous faces, spits on the audience and himself like a man possessed and is candid and charming during his on stage banter, sharing with the crowd stories of losing his virginity and working at Newcastle waterparks, where he may or may not have defecated on the water slide. Oh and he gets nude, Macqueen takes the stage in a skin tight bike shorts and crop top combo that wouldn’t be out of place in the Let’s Get Physical film clip. By the end of the set he has stripped down a leather g-string, ballsack unashamedly on show. Friend plays the slightly more reserved foil to Macqueen’s antics but she too, is outspoken and engaging. Together they are force to be reckoned with.
The Gooch Palms are a band that has mixed feelings about their hometown but it’s obviously a rich source of inspiration. We Get By is a bitter sweet mid-tempo number that dissects the familiar feeling of small town frustration, its sweet singalong chorus is catchy and it a nice breather from the breakneck speed. Tracks like Hunter Street Mall and The Slide stand out for capturing that relatable mixture boredom and pride you feel toward your hometown. Other highlights of the set when the band stray away from their NOVO’S material, earlier tracks Houston We Have a Problem andCucaracha both are nice examples of Gooch Palms mastery of rough, bombastic punk gems. Macqueen spits out his vocals and screeches as Friend provides a more melodic backing vocal. That’s not to say Gooch Palms can’t play ballads, softer moments of the set come courtesy of tracksYou and Don’t Cry, both give Macqueen a chance to stretch his talents vocally, dipping into his lower register before climbing easily into a falsetto. Don’t Cry in particular is such a captivating, emotional performance; you forget that the man is almost entirely naked.
The Gooch Palms are an important band; from the first note played they grab your attention and don’t let it go until the very last song. Entirely individual, their music and stage presence is a true point of difference from the majority of Australian bands performing currently; they give of a manic, almost violent energy alongside an enthusiasm and eagerness for their music. A live act that is brash, raw, simple and genuinely exciting is rare, but The Gooch Palms are it and I doubt Greenslopes Bowls Club may never be the same.
ALBUM REVIEW FOR NOVO'S - TERMINAL BORDOM (US)
Debut long player after two EPs from this Newcastle duo. Frontman/guitarist Leroy Macqueen is the kooky one, apparently the type of guy who likes to get naked and wild during shows, while stand-up drummer Kat Friend plays the straight man and also contributes vocals along with the beats. Macqueen's vox contain the zaniness of Fred Schneider, a bit of Lux Interior's punkabilly yelp and he can do the white-boy soul croon too. Kat's vocals are solid female punkola, not screechy or wild but having more of a Joan Jett directness. Songwise, they do a lot of styles - early Sixities-sounding ballads ("You"), indie-garage ("We Get By", what could be the hit off this one), garage-punk stomp ("False Identity"), Crampsy muck gone pop ("A Sun, A Moon"), Ramones radio-punk ("Hungry") and more all driven by primitive drumming and with Macqueen's vocals really being the attention grabber. Reminds me of a King Khan & BBQ set-up, with traces of doo wop and Fifties sockhop moves as well, making sure the live show is a party. Your liking of this will hinge largely on your appreciation of this guy's singing. Should appeal to Burger Records fans, Nobunny devotees and other pop-minded sorts who like it a little bit weird, but in a friendly way.
ALBUM REVIEW FOR NOVO'S - FASTER LOUDER (AU)
In just nine hours, Gooch Palms managed to create something truly special with the one guitar, two voices, one floor tom and one snare drum. That’s it. The band exercises clever use of scarce instrumentation, but the record also features a definite update in fidelity since their first two EP releases – the tape hiss that made R U 4 Sirius feel so claustrophobic is almost entirely absent. Most importantly, NOVO’s steps up their sound without falling into the trap of adding unnecessary noise – a bass into the mix, an expanded palette of guitar sounds, or the dreaded string section. Instrumentally, it’s the exact same deal as before, and it’s a good thing.
Leroy Macqueen and Kat Friend have created an album that fully encapsulates the band’s sense of fun and spontaneity in 30 short minutes, without compromising on anything that made their previous work so much fun. The album also features some more developed song writing in the form of centrepiece ‘You’, a tender number that spans emotional territory unseen by the band in previous efforts. It’s strange to think that Leroy will probably play this one in the nude.
While there’s certainly no shortage of local garage punk on the market at the moment, Gooch Palms possess a charm and honesty that their peers often can’t emulate. The band may lament punters’ general attitudes toward playing in their home town on opener ‘We Get By’ (“Oh no, we don’t see the point”) but NOVO’S should see them scoring them well-deserved acclaim wherever they go.
Other Album reviews can be viewed here:
Soundly Sounds: http://ryansaar.com/2013/10/05/album-review-the-gooch-palms-novos/
The Brag: http://www.thebrag.com/music/gooch-palms-novos
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