Black Gold
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Black Gold

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Black Gold, 'Rush' (Red Bull) Restless sidemen turn brief rendezvous into heady hookup."

Multi-instrumentalists Eric Ronick and Than Luu met while playing with different bands (they toiled individually for Panic at the Disco, Ambulance LTD, M. Ward, Boredoms, etc.) and recorded this debut on breaks from their paying gigs. Breathlessly experimental, the Brooklyn duo will try any genre once -- MOR ("The Comedown"), MGMT falsetto funk ("Breakdown"), and sweeping orchestral rock ("Plans & Reveries") -- as long as it's grafted to a dance beat and a big hook. It's indecision disguised as diversity, and there are glitches, but nearly every song is a potential single begging for an extended disco edit. - Spin Magazine

"Album Review: Black Gold - Rush"

Some may say that Brooklyn, New York has taken over as the center of the independent music world within the past decade. While it’s debatable on both ends of the musical spectrum, there’s no denying the multitude of bands that have spawned from its streets. The duo of keyboardist/singer Eric Ronick and drummer/mult-instrumentalist Than Luu, also known as Black Gold, certainly shine through on the wingtips of their full length debut, Rush.

After catching first glimpse of this group back in November of last year, something was definitely going on in the air. The duo backed with a few musicians came to Chicago and displayed a heartening good show, but the kicker here existed only in a limited EP from the band. No demos, no debut album, nothing…until now. Why the time warp? Well, for starters, this young group certainly left a lasting impression right away that’s difficult to achieve. Because of the previous viewing, the songs that form Rush were performed the night of that show and needless to say, that’s a very satisfying result. To put it frankly, these guys know how to get people’s attention.

From the get-go, Rush starts the album off with a subtle bang with “Detroit”. Slow, whisper-like crescendos from Ronick’s keyboards slink in and out behind Luu’s restricted but integral beats. Ronick’s vocals shine through as the frontman displays a rarity in vocals nowadays: they’re poppy and instantly catchy while providing rock & roll integrity. Think a very young Elton John attempting to write “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” in the 21st Century.

While “Detroit” switches between disco infused keyboard rock and soulful balladesque vocal parts, “Plans & Reveries” brings this excellent hybrid of musical influences to another level. In the vein of legendary UK pop rockers Squeeze, Ronick’s vocals and piano harmonies certainly would bring smiles to the faces of Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, Squeeze’s primary songwriters. Ronick proves not only to be a gifted singer, but his piano playing is exquisite and well performed. The chord structures that weave in and out throughout combined with Ronick’s vocals set the band apart from their contemporaries, especially during the extremely catchy chorus: “All your plans and all your reveries/Stagger on/While your tin gods are left behind.” Ronick’s pop tinged edges and Luu’s impeccable musicianship together work well and provide a solid foundation for this young Brooklyn outfit.

What follows next sees the band divulge into harder influences that pay off big time. While “Breakdown” is another nice slice of slower paced pop rock, the band hits a major home run with one of the album’s best songs, the scandalous tale of infidelity, “What You Did”. As the band switches gears to a much faster uptempo, both the keyboards and guitars progress the song with thick, flavorful grooves. Throughout this album, Ronick’s vocals are top class, but here it takes the cake. The bitter tale of a relationship reaching its infidelity period and catching the significant other in the act by far has been a subject of many a song, but Black Gold puts an entirely new spin on it and chalks up on my board one of 2009’s best songs by far.

Coming back down to Earth just a bit, the band follows up with the lonely lovers’ tinged ballad “Silver”, the midtempo rocker “Shine”, and the indie-on-the-go “Idols.” Black Gold on their freshman debut takes what the streets of Brooklyn offer, add an enormous dosage of the UK pop scene to the mix and somehow chew through the fat to create a remarkably original sound. This is emphasized on the six and a half minute piano journey “Canyon”.

Piano rock in nature is a hard concept to improve on, but as aforementioned, these guys do it with a specific degree. They combine Elton John’s left hand, Billy Joel’s right hand and the overall human adventure of everyday life into one elegant stream-of-consciousness atmosphere. People will be people and Ronick nails the emotional aspects of loving, losing and the only way to venture onward. Things are just getting started for this young duo, and it’s too early to tell, but they just might be this generation’s Elton John & Bernie Taupin. Don’t spin that roulette wheel just yet, but spin Rush if you want a different approach to something everyone’s talking about. Something from nothing and everyone is everyone, that’s the entire feeling Rush presents here and yeah, it’s a refreshing breath of fresh air. - Consequence of Sound

"Black Gold: Rush"

Ride the L to the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York, and from the moment your un-Sperry’d heel touches the Bedford Station platform, chances are you’ll feel out of place. The neighborhood is a magnet for eclectically well-dressed, globally informed youth and young professional artists that wear skinny jeans and flannel. It’s also a breeding ground for used book stores, coffee shops, and bars where you just know the next masterpiece is being dreamt up over a pint or double latte. This is exactly where I picture Black Gold’s Rush being played.

This might seem like less of a revelation after hearing that the band’s members — keyboardist/singer Eric Ronick and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Than Luu — hail from Brooklyn, New York, but the point is that the borough has dominated lately in New York’s musical innovation, and this album is no exception. Make your way to your favorite lose-yourself-in-the-barstool spot, order up a glass of your go-to brand, and await their piano rock’s cathartic release.

From the first track, “Detroit,” Ronick’s clean tenor vocals seem to give their sound the standard indie, half-hearted coo that occasionally slips into falsetto. However, “Plans & Reveries” slaps you awake when he clenches his stomach and pours out vocals with such a gritty bass undertone that it’s no longer just another sappy ode to heartbreak but a declaration of blissfully diving in headfirst — even when you know the burn is coming. Ronick’s throaty belts, which appear again on the bitter confrontation “What You Did,” give Black Gold its leg-up among the interchangeable lackluster tones of many Brooklyn vocalists.

The track “Breakdown” brings the album’s mood to a more playful place, despite the subject content, with ambling drum patterns, electronic tings, and an R&B-tinged bridge. The strolling beats are typical of many of the album’s tracks, giving a sense of physical journey even as you sit still, staring down into your beer’s foam.

Most of the lyrics are written and sung in short stanzas which, coupled with the subtle piano melodies that support the tracks but are never emphasized and hokey, make for crisp, clean song structures. A beautifully poetic exception to the album’s short, stuttered thoughts is when Ronick sings in “After The Flood”: “You’re slipping into patterns again/another night of cigarettes and short breath/It’s hard to keep it holy, I try to keep it clean, but honesty is wearing thin/don’t make me give in.” As this last track fades into a minute of silence, giving time for the rest of your thoughts to collect, a soft sigh is heard, muffled by a louder clang -– the empty glass set down to rest on the bar as you pick yourself back up and walk away. - Buzzine

"RUSH Review"

In an era full of undercover pop acts vying for radio airplay, the indie scene seems to be drowning in a mass of pseudo-obscurity. But don't fret, as Brooklyn-based duo Black Gold is flourishing with creativity on its full-length debut album Rush. They showcase a fusion of melodic and drum-laden tunes, while flawlessly blending dance, psychedelic, experimental and even a dash of emo into the mix.

Though Rush breathes in a heap of fresh air for indie-rock, vocalist Erick Ronick and multi-instrumentalist Than Luu are far from newcomers to the scene. Familiarity with Ronick's past work can be attributed to his gig as touring keyboardist for Panic At The Disco!, while Luu has worked alongside popular acts like Rachael Yamagata and M. Ward. It is without a doubt that their rich background as backup musicians allows for a smooth, versatile transition into an appealing creation of their own.

The opening track "Detroit" is the perfect introduction to the duo's overall sound, as the synthy, tom-tom instrumental somehow blends smoothly with Ronick's retro-style vocals. "Plans and Reveries" keeps the heavy drums going, accompanied by Ronick's passionate plea for a lost love, followed by background vox from Brendon Urie of Panic At The Disco! At first glance, Urie's appearance may take away from the track's organic sound, but don’t be fooled, as the track instantly reveals the adaptability of both artists. The album later exposes a softer side with the Motown-esque "Shine" and piano ballad "After the Flood." Rush fittingly closes with a subtly fitting cover of Queen's "All Dead, All Dead."

As individuals, their impressive track record may be one element to look forward to, but it is Black Gold's collective and dynamic edginess that outshines their solo careers. And thanks to a superb debut doused with unmatched chemistry, there may be hope for indie after all.

—Gabrielle Chua
02.16.09 - Artist Direct


Legacy & Tragedy EP (2008)
Rush (2009)
Rush: The Remixes (2009)



From the infectious analog synth strut of “Detroit” to the soaring, alluring charge of “Run,” New York City’s Black Gold have crafted what may be the warmest and most charming indie pop offerings in recent memory with Rush, their debut album due out February 2009. At the helm of this duo are Eric Ronick and Than Luu, the two Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalists who first met on the set of the Craig Kilborn Show while working with different bands. From there, they quickly forged the allegiance that reaped the sonic riches that are now in your clutches.

The keenly constructed and superbly delivered “Plans & Reveries” and the glistening “Shine” both assert that Ronick and Luu’s collective strength comes from an eagerness to draw on an array of styles and eras. If Rush is an affirmation of that notion, its unique sonic outlook was alive early on. “It was like a secret jam,” Luu says of Black Gold’s first interaction. “Very secret,” Ronick agrees. “I had a Wurlitzer set up, and Than was on the kit, and it was great.”

If that sounds like a bold and unusual starting point, it should be noted that Eric and Than are veteran performers who have tested their respective wares by logging significant stage time with acts like Panic! At The Disco, Ambulance LTD, M. Ward, Rachael Yamagata and Adam Franklin of Swervedriver. During intermittent breaks from their other musical commitments, the pair wrote and recorded the bulk of Rush in Ronick’s Brooklyn studio. The rest was recorded in the Venice, CA studio of the album’s co-producer and mixer Vincenzo LoRusso who has also done studio work for such varied artists as Tricky, Cypress Hill, System of a Down and Joan Osborne.

“The recording process was totally organic,” Luu says. “Whenever we had some time off, whether it was a few days or a couple of weeks, we would just write, and we just built the record that way, song by song, track by track.”

Despite busy road and session schedules, Black Gold’s principals were quick to recognize and prioritize their special chemistry. “The very first time that we went into Eric’s studio together, we ended up writing and recording ‘Run’ in just a few hours,” Luu recalls. “We listened back to what we’d done at the end of the night and realized, ‘This really works!’” Ronick adds, “Writing that song with Than was a defining moment.’”

That experience was the impetus for what Ronick describes as, “the essential principle behind how we write our songs.” Working with just their voices, a piano and an acoustic guitar, Eric says they’ve determined that “each song must be the best song, at its core, before we’ll bring in the production and the orchestration and the instrumentation.”

That outlook helped the duo arrive at keepers like the stripped-down vintage-Kinks-meets-Spoon vibe of “Silver,” the melodic punch of “Idols,” and the evocative, soulful feel of “The Comedown.” Acknowledging that Rush is a unique listening experience by design, Luu says, “It starts off more produced and dance-y, but it devolves into a more organic sound, just a band playing drums, guitar, piano and singing. The last song, ‘After the Flood,’ is just Eric on the piano, nothing else.”

Citing inspiration from rock’s early days, the psychedelic era of the 1960’s and 70’s, not to mention contemporaries like Hot Chip, Ronick says, “No style or genre is off limits. We get a real kick out of taking from different artists, different periods, and putting our spin on it. Somehow we ended up with something cohesive and that sounds, undeniably, like us.” A prime example of this is the duo’s first track “Detroit” which launched as an iTunes ‘Single of the Week’ in October. describes the song, “…with its bouncy rhythm section and effervescent vocals, displays their talent for reaching great emotional depths as well as their devotion to creating tuneful, catchy indie pop.”

Black Gold’s lyrics aren’t overly specific – the band’s goal with Rush is to have the listener invent his or her own narrative. Or as Luu explains, “Each song has a story to it. ‘After the Flood’ speaks to relationships in general, while ‘Shine’ is more about faith and love.” Meanwhile, Eric says “Plans And Reveries” is, “…about the moment when you come to and realize what you’ve lost, what you had, and what you don’t have any more.”