Golden Bloom has always been known for their sharp melodies, vivid guitar work, and intelligent, energetic songwriting; pop music that wasn’t afraid to ask listeners to think, as well as dance. Shawn Fogel launched Golden Bloom as a solo project, playing all of the instruments himself on 2009’s debut full length Fan the Flames, and 2011’s March to the Drums EP.
A cast of multi-instrumentalists joined Golden Bloom on tour, and in the process, they started becoming a band. “At first, I tried to have everyone recreate the sound of the records,” Fogel says. He soon saw that letting everyone bring their own sensibility to the songs made things more interesting. The live arrangements reshaped the songs, moving them away from the album versions. “I realized we’d be a better band if we applied the live band vibe to the writing, arranging, and recording.”
In June of 2012, Golden Bloom live band members Jeff Patlingrao and Josh Cohen travelled to Shawn’s longtime vacation destination of Southwest Harbor, ME where they holed up in a cabin in the woods to work on a new batch of songs. Joined by newly added drummer Justin Hofmann, the quartet retreated to Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, CT, a facility run by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Frightened Rabbit). They produced the sessions themselves with the help of engineer Greg Giorgio. “Many of the songs were arranged collaboratively in the studio,” Fogel says. “The spontaneous energy we generated carried over to the music.”
Golden Bloom’s sparkling pop is still evident, but the EP also adds darker instrumental textures and lyrics that explore thorny emotions with keen insight and understanding. Chiming guitars and subtle percussion accents give “Flying Mountain” the jittery feeling of an anxious mind, but the sunshine breaks through with Fogel’s bright vocal and an uplifting chorus. Stately piano and shimmering guitars fill a vast sonic space to contrast Fogel’s quiet, down to earth vocal on “Deliver it for Me.” “Shadow of a Man” drops a first person fictional narrative into a tight little garage rock tune that’s a little bit twangy and a little bit trashy. “White Whale” shifts between dark but dreamy choruses and pounding power-chord verses. The EP comes to an epic close with “Lone Reporter”, which begins with a single acoustic guitar and slowly builds to a beautiful chaos of blistering guitars and bashing percussion.
Over the lifetime of the band, tastemakers like SPIN, Magnet, Under the Radar, and Daytrotter have praised Golden Bloom’s musical and songwriting prowess. Golden Bloom will be touring to support No Day Like Today for most of 2013.
All vocals and instruments by Shawn Fogel on recordings.
Shawn is joined by a constantly changing group of musicians for Golden Bloom live shows.
-No Day Like Today EP (The Sleepy West) - to be released January 29th, 2013
-Swap Meet (split covers EP with The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library) - released May 1st, 2012
-March to the Drums EP (The Sleepy West) - released August 16th, 2011
-Golden Bloom Vs. The Motion Sick 7" split single (The Sleepy West) - released Feb. 19th, 2010
-Fan the Flames full length LP (The Sleepy West) - released Aug. 18th, 2009
-Doomsday Devices 7" single (The Sleepy West) - released Nov. 12th, 2008
You Go On (& On)
We Have Grown
Doomsday Devices (Ruby Isle Remix)
The Fight at the End of the Tunnel
If You Believe
The Season I Love Best
#20 on Jack Rabid's Top 40 albums
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I knew nothing about Massachusetts' gent Shawn Fogel (who plays everything here, though he has a liv...I knew nothing about Massachusetts' gent Shawn Fogel (who plays everything here, though he has a live band). But slipping on his debut album expecting little, he refused to leave my player. Hooked! Boning up subsequent reviews, I discovered a stack of early Wilco comparisons I can't concur with. Fan sounds more like an idiosyncratic mix of brassy power-pop and classic mod-pop (ala Secret Affair), with twinges of '70s singer-songwriter succulence and 60's baroque/soft-psych. Along, the scraggly-haired, bearded, mustached Fogel sounds like the tightest band in Chowder-land (figure that!), rendering ridiculously refreshing, breezy, hospitably-hooky tunes such as the Todd Rundgren-esque piano-pop prize "Dead Petals" and the late-period Jam-jaunty "Doomsday Devices". Among a well of lyrical dissatisfaction, there's also this chorus refrain from the '66 Zombies/Beatles-like "If You Believe", as utterly hopeful as Nada Surf's best: "You never know where you're going to find love / Strange places where you never thought you'd find it before." Sounds like my own reaction to encountering this unexpected, unbridled joy.
-Jack Rabid (appears in The Big Takeover issue 65)
Hot New Band: Golden Bloom
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Back in January, we featured Golden Bloom as part of our popular Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen s...Back in January, we featured Golden Bloom as part of our popular Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen series, and loved their Summerteeth-era Wilco vibe. Now, we've got an exclusive taste of the band's forthcoming debut album -- download the song "If You Believe" below!
Though the band features other members in live shows, Golden Bloom is primarily the brainchild Shawn Fogel, who plays every instrument on Fan the Flames, due August 18. "Every instrument" doesn't just mean guitar/bass/drums either -- Fogel unleashes some top-notch synthesizer and tenor sax as well.
Both are featured on "If You Believe," a sunny slice of Americana-tinged rock'n'roll -- kissed with flourishes of horns and xylophone. And it's not just an upbeat sounding song: "You never know where you're going to find love," Fogel sings. "Strange places where you never thought you'd find it before."
"I like to describe the overall tone of Fan the Flames as frustrated optimism or optimistic frustration," Fogel says. "I think 'If You Believe' plays a very important role in elevating the level of hope amidst some of the darker lyrical content."
Fogel also is hopeful that an unusual online promotion strategy will help get his music to a wider audience: Each of the album's tracks is premiering on a different website as a free download! (Catch up on the songs you missed here.)
But could this track-at-a-time approach mean people only end up hearing one or two songs? Fogel isn't worried. "I know that if I hear a song I really like by an artist who is new to me, I'm very inclined to want to hear their whole album," he tells us. "I'm hoping that people who are just now discovering Golden Bloom will have the same reaction."
World Premiere: “Doomsday Devices (Ruby Isle Remix)” MP3
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Magnet Magazine kicked off what they aptly christened "Summer of Golden Bloom" with The Lemonheads-l...Magnet Magazine kicked off what they aptly christened "Summer of Golden Bloom" with The Lemonheads-like outlier, "E.H.M." from debut album, Fan the Flames. That's the ghostly album artwork down below. If you're not familiar, nine music magazines and websites (including yours truly) are premiering Golden Bloom tracks every week until the album drops on August 18th. Today, we've got an exclusive download remix of runaway single "Doomsday Devices." The original track had sort of a Wilco-lite aesthetic going on (like much of the summery debut). This retooling, by the Athens, Georgia electro-rock threesome Ruby Isle is an auto-Tuned freak show. The remix could easily slot in well with the rest of Kindercore's stable of dance-pop bands. Side note: Ruby Isle bandmate Dan Geller is the co-founder of Kindercore. The Ruby crew mutate the apocalyptic Casiotone sing-a-long into a schizophrenic banger. I guess if you're facing the end of the world the best distraction is sweating it out on the dance floor. Golden Bloom is spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Shawn Fogel (pictured) and features drummer Michael Azerrad, a music journalist who wrote Our Band Could Be Your Life. Other band mainstays include Deleon frontman Dan Saks, Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine member Ryan Ball, Brooklyn guitarist Jeff Patlingrao, and Guster sideman Josh Cohen. The power-pop group is touring the Eastern seaboard this summer. Fan the Flames was recorded with Ryan Ball at The Gearbox and produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Mates of State). Fogel also retinkered with Roger Greenawalt (Ben Kweller) and Dylan Magierek (Mark Kozelek)
Here's the official schedule of "The Summer of Golden Bloom."
Golden Bloom Album Promotion - 'Fan The Flames' Song By Song
19th June "E.H.M" @ magnetmagazine.com26th June "Doomsday Devices (Ruby Isle Remix)" @ undertheradarmag.com
3rd July "Fan the Flames" @ tuneraker.com10th July "She Leaves Me Poetry" @ bagofsongs.com
17th July "The Fight at the End of the Tunnel" @ consequenceofsound.com
24th July "Dead Petals" @ ryanssmashinglife.blogspot.com
31st July "If You Believe" @ spin.com
7th August "The Mountainside Says" @ popwreckoning.com
14th August "Theme For an Adventure at Sea" @ fensepost.com
World Premiere MP3: Golden Bloom
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Nine different music mags/websites are each premiering a Golden Bloom track in the weeks leading up ...Nine different music mags/websites are each premiering a Golden Bloom track in the weeks leading up to the August 18 release of debut album Fan The Flames. That’s kind of like going to nine different theaters to watch different parts of Short Cuts. (There’s no way that movie was in theatrical release for that long.) MAGNET is proud to kick off the Summer of Golden Bloom, mainly because this album is redolent of mid-period Wilco; lead track “E.H.M.” sounds like an imaginary b-side to “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” featuring Scott McCaughey and appearing circa Summerteeth instead of Being There. Man, that was a lot of contortions for a Wilco comparison. Golden Bloom is led by Shawn Fogel (pictured) and features drummer Michael Azerrad, a music journalist whose Our Band Could Be Your Life recently became required reading for MAGNET interns unaware of the existence of Hüsker Dü and Big Black. That’s no way to go through life.
Golden Bloom - Fan the Flames (The Sleepy West)
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First things first: "She Leaves Me Poetry" is my favorite song so far of 2009. Simply constructed bu...First things first: "She Leaves Me Poetry" is my favorite song so far of 2009. Simply constructed but lushly orchestrated, this gem teems with introspection and infectious hooks and lyrical couplets. It's the rare songwriter who can offer such a deep look inside himself (writer Shawn Fogel presents a character that's insecure, yet observant and more realistic than one might think, given that he's preparing to leave a relationship that at times thrilled, perhaps even defined him) without coming off as narcissistic. "Poetry" is a songwriting clinic, a piece for the ages. Fogel's love for basic pop, and his craft in presenting, define the rest of Fan the Flames. "Doomsday Devices" delivers snappy organ hooks and peppy guitars before, near the end, veering into a Casiotone-drum-driven break. It's way more subtle than it sounds. Indeed, the whole song, while brilliant, could have even been bigger, more dramatic (gotta wonder whether Fogel takes this band on the road much: I'd love to hear this song live, as it's likely a barn-burner) but works fine just as it is. There's also "The Mountainside Says," a more deliberate and, like "She Leaves Me Poetry," moderate number with a "da-da-da" break that's kind of like a sideways version of the "na-na-na-nah" chorus in Hey Jude. I really like the playing on this song: I'd just listened to the Band's Music from Big Pink right before giving it a final, "let's-review-it-now" spin, and there are odd similarities in the tone of each. Not to say that there's much rootsy stuff happening with Golden Bloom: It's pop all the way. It's just that within that convention, one expects an epic or ponderous song to break out at any second. And, lo and behold, Fan the Flames ends in proper (save for an odd ditty about Rod Blagojevich) with Theme for An Adventure At Sea, which, as any good last song will do, ties together many of the elements — great playing, exceptional writing and singing, terrific energy and stellar lyrics — expressed earlier in this sensational record. Definitely one of 2009's best releases.
-by ANDY GIEGERICH
Golden Bloom - Fan the Flames (Album Review)
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It must be great to be a one-man band. A single guy in the studio doesn’t have to deal with drum sol...It must be great to be a one-man band. A single guy in the studio doesn’t have to deal with drum solo divas, backseat writers, or tone deaf backup vocalists. No, the one-man band channels the entire vision from head to headphones with nary an interpersonal roadblock or conflict management seminar to gum things up. No drama. Just music.
So it is with Golden Bloom, the brainchild of one Shawn Fogel. Fogel has done a bit of solo work in the past, to very nice results, but decided to lose his Christian name for the new LP, Fan the Flames. It’s a testament to Fogel’s ability that it sounds like a band was involved here. Though it’s actually the result of careful production and painstaking invention, the album plays like the fruit of a well-practiced band playing much-loved songs. Fan the Flames bears the ring of truth. And a lovely ring it is.
With all the melancholy indie strummers out there, along with the new wave of dance synth, Golden Bloom stands out as surprisingly musical. It’s sensitive power-pop but it effortlessly skirts the negative connotations of that genre. Though he’s getting a lot of Wilco comparisons, Fogel has not their fuzzy twang. No, Golden Bloom is more reminiscent of Ben Lee’s bubblegum folk crossed with the spangly guitar pop of the Slip. He’s interested in melodies, and despite the vast array of instruments he’s mastered to such ends, Fan the Flames has a charming humility about it. The songs stay straightforward, refraining from any self-indulgent solo wizardry. In other words, the musicianship is so good that you forget about the musicianship.
With song titles like “Doomsday Devices,” “The Fight at the End of the Tunnel,” and “Dead Petals,” you’d expect the whole thing to be pretty gloomy. And, lyrically, it is, but the cheerful melodies keep things balanced. Fogel’s mind is plagued by uncertainties, both personal and political, but his bouncy pop makes these bitter brews go down like honey. The opening number, “E.H.M,” virtually rolls your car windows down of its own accord even as its lyrics reveal the failing heart of a disillusioned optimist. It’s a testimony to Fogel’s ability that none of this sounds schizophrenic, melodramatic, or preachy. No, the right descriptors are honest, fresh, and very, very good.
In his sixty-second album closer “Your Minute of Fame,” a hate letter to former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich, Fogel commands him to, “Move on. We’ve got far too many optimistic songs to sing.” If that’s true, then we can expect big things from Golden Bloom.
Golden Bloom: Fan the Flames [Album Review]
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When Shawn Fogel ditched his parent-given name as band title, and instead grasped the moniker Golden...When Shawn Fogel ditched his parent-given name as band title, and instead grasped the moniker Golden Bloom (MySpace), one may have speculated how, if at all, this change would alter Fogel’s sound. With a few band-leaked singles, it was obvious that Fogel and company had progressed, but now, a few eves before the release of Fan The Flames, we are now able to hear that our suspicions are correct.
Fogel’s music maintains much of the verbosity of his early days, merely with bounds of progression in the realm of creating bouncy, upbeat pop songs. In fact, “Dead Petals” hails from an earlier Fogel release One Day In The Desert. However, it isn’t the same version; this one was remixed by Roger Greenawalt.
It’s no surprise that “Fight At The End Of The Tunnel” and “Doomsday Devices” remain among the most noteworthy on the album; both maintain the high level of greatness of Fogel’s earlier work. But Fan The Flames has so much more to offer.
Opener “E.H.M.” for example begins the album with some fun pop that leads beautifully into “Doomsday”. And “Theme For An Adventure At Sea” blends a softer, more relaxed side of Golden Bloom rampant throughout Fan The Flames with the highly infectious pop of the highpoints for an epic climactic conclusion (both to the song and the album).
Songs like “Fan The Flames” and “If You Believe” fit the softer and relaxed sound, providing a pleasant duality of pop songs that balances out the album. The summation of these various styles leads to a greatness that far surpassed Fogel’s prior moniker and makes Fan The Flames an absolute must-hear pop album of 2009.
Fan The Flames will be released this August.
Venue Crawl: Golden Bloom
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Golden Bloom's brand of power-pop rock is catchy and infectious just as the genre is known for but t...Golden Bloom's brand of power-pop rock is catchy and infectious just as the genre is known for but the lyrics for their new album branch into the shifting, turbulent times ahead and provide a smart and thoughtful take on music that you get your feet tapping and your hands drumming.
Frontman Shawn Fogel was nice enough to take some time to answer a few questions for Dell Lounge:
Who would you consider your peers in music today? Who has been the most fun to share a stage with?
There are so many great bands out there who I know and respect that I wouldn't even know where to begin. I almost feel guilty listing them because of the dozens I'd be forgetting about. There are three great bands out of Northampton, MA who I've played with and just can't get enough of; The Claudia Malibu, Fancy Trash, and The True Jacqueline. The best part about the years I've spent living in Northampton was that some of my favorite bands were also the local bands who played down the street, around the corner, and were always around!
I love sharing the stage with my friends. In my mind the best bill money can buy is one where the bands know each other and like each others' music. It makes for an atmosphere that you just can't fake. I've felt this way playing with some fellow Green Light Go acts like The Motion Sick, Static of the Gods, Canadian Invasion and Alan Cohen Experience. Which is why I'm so excited about playing with The Motion Sick and Static at our SXSW party, and meeting newer GLG acts like The Handsome Family.
Any other bands that you'll be going out of your way to check out while you're in Austin?
I'm hoping to see an Australian band called The Grates. I met them last year when they were recording their latest album in CT with Peter Katis (who mixed some of the Golden Bloom album). They are HUGE back in Australia so I think it's a real treat to be able to see them fill a small venue with their arena-sized energy and personality. I'm also hoping to check out the Bigshot Touring Artists showcase which is jammed with great acts like Langhorne Slim.
How does the buzz surrounding SXSW compare to other festivals or shows?
It's like nothing I've ever seen! My guitarist Jeff Patlingrao and I played the Halifax Pop Explosion in Nova Scotia two years back, but haven't really played any festivals in the states yet. It seems like everyone I know in the industry from fellow musicians to bloggers to talent buyers will all be there, and as long as you're down there making great music, someone's bound to notice.
How have sites like Myspace and Facebook helped you connect with your fans?
I feel like I'm always catching up with the times. I didn't buy my first CD until 1998, and I still have most of my cassette tapes. It is amazing how you can make a splash in a giant sea of music while sitting in front of a computer though. I spent years playing solo shows in bars and plastering handwritten photocopied fliers all over town, all the while feeling like no one's ever heard of me. Social networking sites have definitely changed the whole ballgame for musicians, heck, my manager even talked me into Twittering!
What was the path that led you to become an "instrumental chameleon"?
It started when I was young. As early as Jr High I was playing piano, clarinet and saxophone. By the time I graduated High School I was singing and playing guitar, bass and drums. While studying audio engineering and studio recording in college I began to write and record songs and play all of the instruments. Although, it took a few years until it really felt natural like it does now. Most people who hear the current Golden Bloom recordings would never know that I played all of the instruments on it unless I told them.
Playing different instruments in different bands has really strengthened my ability to multi-track in the studio. From playing bass in The LeeVees, guitar in The Zambonis, drums in JP05 and keyboard in The Philistines Jr. I feel like I've been pushed to grow as a musician on each of the core band instruments, allowing me to record songs that really sound like a band.
What do you like better, creating music or performing it?
I love them both and I don't think I could do one without the other. In the studio I feel like the possibilities are limitless. As long as I can hear a part in my head I can sit there and play it until it sounds right, no matter how long it takes. The real fun comes once the song is all there. That's when I get to deconstruct it a little, make it take a left turn that even I didn't see coming. On stage it's totally different. There's only one chance to do it right and play your best, to bring as much energy and emotion as you can to six strings and a microphone and really let loose.
What's next for you after Austin?
We're gonna take some of that Austin energy back east for a few shows in Brooklyn, Philly, and Northampton, MA. After that it's back into the studio to mix another song with Roger Greenawalt. After mixing with Peter Katis, Dylan Magierek, and now Roger, the album's almost finished and I couldn't be more excited about it, like a proud parent ready to show off their new baby. The plan is to put out the album at the end of the summer and do some solid touring in support of the release. From there, my ultimate goal would be to have a tour van with a Mr. Fusion that runs on banana peels and beer cans, like the DeLorean from Back to the Future II.
You can follow the latest on Golden Bloom on their Myspace page.
Venue Crawl follows The Dell Lounge crew as they flag down the coolest artists on the streets of SXSW ’09. Get in on the live tweets, pics and interviews as we take you to the frontlines of the hottest showcases featuring this year’s freshest talent.
Top Five Albums to Anticipate in 2009
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by James DuBray Issue date: 2/10/09 Golden Bloom:TBA (Summer, Unsigned) What's Known: Notable f...by James DuBray
Issue date: 2/10/09
Golden Bloom:TBA (Summer, Unsigned)
What's Known: Notable friend of Guster, Shawn Fogel, will team up with a new group of buds and have a record out by this summer. After rifling through hundreds of mailed-in singles and albums, a "Spin Magazine" intern really liked an indie pop song called "Doomsday Devices." A well-compensated "Spin Magazine" staff writer took the assist and featured Golden Bloom in a piece highlighting little known bands.
Why Care?: First and foremost, unsigned bands barely exist anymore outside of college bars and high school garages. Second, and more importantly, "Doomsday Devices" is quite good.
SPIN Picks: 8 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen
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Recently, SPIN and music community website Sonicbids teamed up to bring worthy new bands the attenti...Recently, SPIN and music community website Sonicbids teamed up to bring worthy new bands the attention they deserve. Tonight at midnight EST, Boston radio station WFNX will broadcast the latest installment of the SPIN/Sonicbids Emerging Artists' Showcase, featuring eight cool new bands from around the world, hand-picked by SPIN.com staffers from more than 500 submissions. (Tune in to 92.1 FM in the Boston area or listen live online via wfnx.com). Scroll down to meet these up-and-comers, snag a song from each, and click their website links to find out more!
Hometown: New York, NY
Recommended if you like… Wilco, Matthew Sweet
Why we picked them: We're admittedly big Wilco fans, and "Doomsday Devices" feels like a great b-side from the Summerteeth era.
|Jun 6, 2013 Thursday||10:00 PM||The Lompoc Cafe||Bar Harbor, ME, US|
|Jun 12, 2013 Wednesday||11:00 PM||The Painted Lady||Toronto, ON, CA|