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The best kept secret in music


"a band to see live"

nothing's frustrating about goh, a dynamic duo that relocated from boston to the bay area last year. motorized, the sophomore album from chris harris and jay hagenbuch will release at sf's hotel utah this wednesday, is a platter that gets better as it goes along. the early tracks aren't the strongest, with the exception of "sugar", a silly little power pop song with little bits of folk and funk guitar and mixed similes: "my girlfriend is like an ice cream truck/ a happy song with goodies for me." but the later songs are worth their weight in new york super fudge chunk: an ode to the "thumb" that ends with the worry, "what if the aliens have bigger thumbs?"; a lament for "gi joe"; and a poppy, keyboard-ridden song against humanity called "cute". after a goofy burst of hubris in the singsong trifle "autograph" comes "coffee cup," a lovely breakup song with guests bowing cello and bass and harris lamenting, "i guess we failed to let each other in/ she reads me like a comic book/ i read her like a dirty magazine." - east bay express

"live at the middle east"

goh was up next and wowed the crowd with their quirky lyrics and upbeat music. goh is a master of the stripped down, minimalist set, possibly due to the fact that goh is only a duo. Their performance was highlighted by such originals as "Chopping Block," and "Lucky." A revamped version of Prince’s "Little Red Corvette" had the better part of the crowd singing along; reminiscing about their lost teenage years. Another cool effect to the whole show was that someone brought some bubble mix and was blowing bubbles in front of the stage. The tiny soapy spheres got caught in the drafts of the air-conditioning vents and created a surreal dreamlike effect as they swirled around the performers. - The Noise

"On the acoustic side, a wealth of sounds"

Goh may have only two members, but guitarist Jay Hagenbuch and drummer/trumpeter/harmonica player Chris Harris don't need anyone else to create a universe of strange sounds, sardonic lyrics, and loopy fun.

Two former Northeastern students who started playing open mikes around town in 1997, Hagenbuch and Harris have developed their act to headliner status at acoustic music clubs such as Kendall Cafe by taking an inclusive approach to live performing.

A typical show starts with Hagenbuch laying down a vamp on guitar while Harris runs around passing out maracas, bubble-blowing paraphernalia, and other toys to the crowd.

"That way we can break through that barrier between us and the crowd from the very beginning of the show," says Hagenbuch, who writes most of the lyrics and melodies.

"Sometimes, if people see a band they haven't heard before playing original music, it can be hard to get into. But if you give them a shaker to play, or a Pez dispenser, they are part of it."

That feeling of inclusiveness seems to be a theme throughout Goh's first self-released CD, "Matt," with songs such as the Camper Van Beethoven-esque "Satellite" that observes: "There's a deadly gun aimed at everyone waiting to remove our every trace. That's why everyone's saying we hope we have some fun while in this place."

"The CD does have the theme of getting over your fears and going out and doing something useful and cool with your life," says Harris. "As adults, we have all these layers around us. We're all worried about our appearance or what people think about us. We want to strip the layers away."

The lyrics to "G.I. Joe" poke fun at the loss of childhood innocence: "G.I. Joe, don't the kids in the neighborhood play with you? Now that special hand has found its way around a beer can and you're just like all the other toys, like Fisher Price people and Weebles."

The CD attempts to capture the flavor of the live show. Harris stops playing drums when he toots out a melody on the trumpet as he has to do live.

In one song, in place of a solo is a recorded conversation, inspired by instances where the two bring audience members on stage to talk in the middle of a show.

Always, the songs feature bright harmonies, a sound that invites comparisons to the well-known duo, They Might Be Giants, whom Hagenbuch cites as among their strongest influences.

Goh is in residence every Sunday at 9:30 p.m. throughout January at Mama Kin, 36 Lansdowne St., Boston. Call 536-2100. - The Boston Globe


wimp farm - 2005
motorized - 2001
matt - 1999


Feeling a bit camera shy


goh is one of the leading power duos in the entire universe. Since 1997, goh has consistently delighted audiences with their wacky onstage antics, whip-smart lyrics, and ambitious musical prowess. The two members of goh - Chris Harris and Jay Hagenbuch - manage to play nine instruments single-handedly during their dynamic stage performances.

Capitalizing on audience participation, each goh show has a unique flavor. Handmade shakers, Mad Libs, trivia giveaways, KISS costumes, and random audience-member performances create a "Gong Show" vibe that reflects their lo-fi, home-cooked style of songwriting and performing.