Go Fever are a surf pop-rock outfit from Austin, Texas on the rise. With a 2017 debut full-length under their belts and a new EP on the way in 2019, they’ve notably performed at SXSW and supported the likes of White Denim and Mini Mansions. Here’s five tracks as chosen by their lead singer Acey Monaro.
Like every other young woman of a certain age, I discovered Carole as a young girl through a mother figure (step mum, in my case). I’ve listened to Tapestry so many times that I can sing every isolated instrument part and I when I was 17 I almost won a car in a big karaoke competition in Brisbane singing “It’s Too Late”. I’m a comparative newcomer to Rhymes & Reasons but now it’s a go-to Saturday morning record. Every song on that album is great, but there’s a great understated joy in this track – despite the longing of the lyrics, from the moment the bass slides into the first vocal line. Thematically, this song really speaks to me as someone who has lived in a full handful of different cities. I have less and less time to stay in touch with friends – particularly girlfriends – from back home in Australia, although I’m always keeping them in my heart. I love the line “you know I’d like to see more of you, but it’s all I can do to be a mother, my baby’s in one hand, I’ve a pen in the other”. It’s beautifully evocative but also just a very literal, unadorned description of her day-to-day life.
Betty Davis – He Was A Big Freak
I dare you to listen to this and not curl your lip and start bobbing your head like a dashboard toy in slow motion. It’s four minutes of a relentless, busy funk beat and a woman walking us through what got her sub ex off. Betty was so ahead of her time. This was 1974 – the number one Billboard single of the year was Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” and just about no one was ready to hear a woman sing about how she whipped the shit out of her lover with a turquoise chain, let alone a proud black woman who graced her album cover looking like an intergalactic warrior in baby blue high heel ankle boots. Betty maintained complete control of her art, producing her own records and eschewing management. Her voice on this track in particular alternates between an impassioned screech that’ll make your throat vicariously ache and a deep, smooth drawl that’ll make your clothes fall off.
Caroline Rose – Getting To Me
LONER was one of my favourite records of 2018 and Caroline Rose is one of my new favourite songwriters. She spends a fair bit of time here in Austin and whenever I see her at a show I position myself behind her and stare at the back of her head like a serial killer, trying to cosmically purloin some of her knack for framing everyday experiences in affecting, droll phrases. Her years writing in more of an Americana/singer-songwriter style serve her, and us, well because she has the craft of songwriting down! Combined with big choruses and pop production, you’ve got yourself a primo hit making machine. This song, far as I can tell, is nearly nihilistic; an expression of the melancholy in the mundane. It’s a baroque pop bop and an indie rock jam and a lush choral piece. It also made me google ‘ostracon’.
Downtown Boys – Dancing In The Dark
I was a latecomer to Springsteen at age 25, but once I was in, I was super in – dancing at bus stops all over Sydney with him emoting hardcore in my headphones. If you haven’t heard of Downtown Boys then I am sad for you because they are one of my favourite contemporary punk bands… I love the very idea of them covering Bruce – he’s the Woody Guthrie of the dad rock idiom, with lyrics full of romanticised working class characters trying to make ends meet and find love and joy in rough times. The founding members of Downtown Boys met whilst working in a hotel from which one dramatically resigned, with his marching band in tow, and footage of him handing his resignation letter to his boss with live musical accompaniment went viral on YouTube. Victoria Ruiz, the band’s lead singer, has talked about her love for the music and message of Springsteen and why she felt it was important for her, a woman of colour, to cover this particular song by someone so often misinterpreted by middle-aged white people. Also, sax player Joe DeGeorge’s take on Clarence’s parts are so damn energetic and exuberant, you’ll be dancing in all lighting.
Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell
Bat Out of Hell is one of the greatest albums of all time, don’t come at me. I have been listening to that record at least once a week since I was eight. Such is my deep, genuine love for these songs, I once forfeited playing another beloved track on a guest DJ spot on the local NPR station so I could fit in “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” at its full 8:23 minutes. It is the perfect rock opera, and I’ll never understand how musicians and critics who suck the proverbial wangs of Springsteen and Queen don’t revere it. It’s so over the top yet falls just shy of ridiculous. Todd Rundgren’s production is obviously heaps influenced by Spector – the second track is a homage to 60s girl groups with its big harmonies and unabating, rattling percussion. Steinman’s songwriting references everything from The Who’s Tommy to Born To Run. The opening title track is such a perfect introduction to the campy world you’re entering when you chuck this record on, and it’s the greatest night time driving companion.
Photo credit: David Brendan Hall