Van Goat
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Van Goat

Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Oakland, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Art Rock




"DIG THAT SWING: Van Goat – “Follow Me Under” + Alex Mallonee directed video"

I was as happy as a clam when the 90’s witnessed a resurrection in big band era swing. Led by the always ahead of the retro rebirths The Brian Setzer Orchestra and quickly followed in variations by the likes of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Royal Crown Revue. Although the popularity of these renewed sounds was short lived on the Billboard charts, the Swing Scene never really went away.

Enter Oakland, CA’s Van Goat. A band utilizing all the tools punk, surf and swing have to offer to create some serious party tunes. Their new one, “Follow Me Under”, from their forthcoming album of the same name, is a true hip twister.

Lyrically, it’s a song about the ways she moves. Stylistically, Louis Prima is somewhere smiling down on this outfit.

I lose my shit when you get down mama
She stops so smooth and starts up up again
Some cellar doors just sound all right
It’s quite ok baby if we’re not just friends no more
won’t you come down here and close the door
I got something you should see
oh baby won’t you follow me won’t you
follow me under

Break out the Keds and get down with the West Coast Swing Van Goat are laying down… - Global Texan Chronicles

"Discovery: Van Goat"

Van Goat are an arty punk band with a folk element to their music, making latest track I Live In A Bubble incredibly different, and unlike anything we’ve heard recently.

By Jane Howkins

If we had to compare them to another band then it would be Gogol Bordello, however Van Goat are still very individual, with jazz, folk, punk, and classical elements to be found within I Live In A Bubble. There’s something very burlesque about it all, and we imagine they would be very entertaining to see perform live. We would love to hear more from Van Goat and we highly recommend checking them out, whatever style of music you’re most into.

Check out one of the most interesting bands of this year below: - York Calling


Today Glide is excited is excited to offer an exclusive early listen to the band’s new album, which is out on September 21. Starting with the title track, the album kicks off with the fervor of a New Orleans jazz club, immediately signaling to the listener that this is going to be one hell of a party.

Through much of the album the band veers into the swing revival stylings of bands acts like Squirrel Nut Zippers while also incorporating rockabilly, soul, punk, ska, funk and doo wop.

There is a carnival spirit to the band’s approach that even comes across in this studio recording and their dynamics are on full display as they mix up vocalists, throw in random instruments, slow things down, speed them up, and just invite listeners to be party of their freewheeling revelry.

Over the course of 15 songs the band proves to be one of the most exciting and unique acts around today, and Follow Me Under beckons you to listen and then to everything in your power to catch the band performing live. - Glide Magazine

"VIDEO PREMIERE: Van Goat’s surf punk hits the goat farm with “So”"

We’re excited to premiere the newest video from Oakland band Van Goat (formerly Bear Lincoln) for their song “So” – a piece of veritable performance art that will have you rubbing your eyes. It’s a unique idea that is beautifully executed as each performer appears to sit on top of (think Photoshop layers) and move between four changing locations: a studio / warehouse, a church, an alley, and a goat farm, complete with interfering goats trying to eat gear and a goat-cheese coincidentally bearing the same name as the band.

Beyond the video lies a truly good song with a strong melody and infectious hook. The band’s surf punk sound finds apt expression in this track, into which we are welcomed by an eerie organ solo from keyboardist Ben Einstein. While they say it’s not a huge divergence from their existing catalogue, the band credits the surf and garage rock sounds emanating from their peers in the East Bay as well as working with other songwriters to craft the song into its best version with the “heavier and more concise” tone of this release and its companions.

“(O)n the last batch of songs, we brought in a lot of guest musicians and did all the recordings ourselves,” the band told us. “This time, we did the opposite. We played all the music ourselves, and brought in other people for the recording process. Our friend Brad Lincoln really pulled through on the engineering end, and AJ McKinley (of Battlehooch) sat down with us before we recorded and helped us deconstruct and rebuild them into better, sharper songs.”

Practicing 3-4 nights a week certainly helps the band, who plan to stick it out in the Bay Area through the current housing crisis. With family and friends still in the area, exciting bands inspiring them, and an easy jumping off point for West Coast touring, Van Goat isn’t leaving town anytime soon. You can catch them at their next show October 1st at El Rio in the Mission. It’s sure to be a high energy helluva good time. In the meantime, we caught up with the band for a little Q&A:

SFCritic: Okay, why the name change? And what was the inspiration behind the new name?

Van Goat: Well, we had a bad experience with a bear, and we found out some things about Lincoln that we’d rather not talk about. Goats, on the other hand, are the most widespread livestock and they arguably help more people than any other animals in the world. Also, we hope to own a van someday.

SFC: There are always bands that influence musicians that have no apparent bearing on the songs they make – what are those bands for you? (For instance, maybe you love Haydn’s concertos and they’ve influenced how you mimic melody on the keys)

VG: We got the idea for layering vocals from Queen, who built giant vocal harmonies by each of the three singers performing each others parts. They had like 18 vocal tracks at once on their records! Although I don’t think our music sounds much like Queen, we all think they’re awesome and we definitely used this tactic.

Also, one band we all love is Philadelphia-based Man Man. While I don’t think all our songs sound a lot like them, the way they construct a song with constant changes and unpredictable elements is something we are always working toward. They walk the line between experimental and pop music better than anyone else and I think this is our ultimate goal in our songwriting and live performance.

Other bands we love include The Pixies, Devo, Talking Heads, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers. We love all these bands for being both conventional and unconventional at the same time.

SFC: Whose vision is this video? The blocked-sections idea is really brilliant and unique. It’s got that innovative OK-Go flair to it while still feeling totally rock n roll to its core.

VG: The video was done by our good friend Alex Mallonee, who did all the videos for our previous band, Bear Lincoln. He came up with the whole idea, directed it, got the goat farm, and the crew. He came up with it and made it all happen. We like him a lot! Check out his stuff here: We asked Alex to explain the concept because he came up with it. This is what he says:

The concept is actually a really old idea that we had originally discussed for one of the very first Bear Lincoln songs, “Black Market Friday”, back in 2013. We even did some camera tests, but the logistics of the production were too difficult for us to pull off back then. When the band approached me about creating the first video as Van Goat, we discussed a lot of different ideas for videos before eventually settling on this concept.

Now for a technical breakdown of how we shot it. We broke the song into two halves – the first half ending after (bassist) Derek (Burle) goes for his walk and steps off the very left of frame. The second half began with Derek stepping back in on the right of frame and continues to the end of the song. We shot at four wildly different locations, at daytime interior, daytime exterior, nighttime interior, and nighttime exterior so each space felt unique from the others. Each band member had a 5ft “square” in which to perform and we set the camera up 15ft back from our center line. It’s not exactly perfect, but we honestly didn’t want it to be. Van Goat is anything from straight laced and I think this video perfectly embodies their manic energy and sense of humor. Couldn’t be prouder of the way it came out.

SFC: Where on earth is that amazing goat farm? And did the goats (sheep?) get an equity cut for their roles?

VG: The goat farm is called Harley Farms and its in Pescadero, near Half Moon Bay (Here’s there website: They do tours and sell goat cheese and it’s definitely worth checking out. They have an insane number of goats and two llamas. The people there were so nice and basically let us have the run of the land just ‘cause they love music. The goats were paid in nibbles of Taylor (Moxon)’s drums. Here’s what Alex had to add:

At first we were all actually pretty nervous about how the goats would react around us and the film/music equipment. Luckily (lead vocalist & guitarist) Aidan (Ward) has experience working on farms in Petaluma and was an excellent goat wrangler because he definitely piqued their curiosity. I believe the name of his technique was the “Hug and Hold” and it proved to be quite effective. They try to eat everything shiny.

SFC: How many instruments (if any) were harmed in the making of this video?

VG: Well, Derek smashed that bass but it was already unusable and not worth fixing. The goats definitely chewed up Taylor’s cymbals a bit, but it’s given them a wonderful sound ever since. Oh, and the cymbal we lit on fire was already junk and lighting it on fire and dropping it didn’t really do anything to it, anyway. - SF Critic

"Van Goat Premiere Show at Starline Social Club"

Last Friday was a packed night at the backroom at Starline Social Club in Oakland,CA. Van Goat really knows how to throw a party and who to invite. The backroom behind the bar had a great house show vibe with no designated performance area with the exception of a carpet. This really worked well with the punk vibe of the night. If you are looking for animal puns and a rocking good time, then the guys in Van Goat have you covered. Thankfully not much has changed since their moniker change from Bear Lincoln. The lineup is still the same; the members are just playing tighter, faster, and stronger than ever as they have reincarnated themselves as Van Goat.

Van Goat Live

It was Ben Einstein (Keyboards/Pineapple/Vocals) who introduced me to the first incarnation of the band last year. I was instantly hooked with their catchy lyrics, fun puns, and quirky sense of humor. The band was masterfully mixing Swing, Surf, Punk, and Pineapples into a magical concoction.

Along with Ben Einstein, Van Goat includes Aidan Ward (Lead Vocals/Guitar/ Clarinet) a truly great front man with some creative uses for a clarinet. They pair well with Derek Burle (Bass/ Vocals) who plays his funky bass like he is making love to it. Last, but definitely not least, Taylor Moxon (Drums/ Percussion) holds it all together via the drum kits. Each member brings their own personality to the mix, creating an ensemble truly greater than the individual talented musicians involved.

The show was presented by OIM (Oaktown Indie Mayhem) and run by Sarah Sexton. If you haven’t heard of her or OIM, you should definitely check them out. She is one of the greats who helps to keep music thriving in the East Bay. It is great to see them supporting the smaller independent acts as well as helping the music scene grow in the Bay Area.

Failure Machine

Kicking off the night was the 4-piece Failure Machine in from Reno, NV. They were the smallest band to hit the stage during the evening but they easily held their own. They opened with one of the best renditions of “Knock on Wood” I have personally heard. The set continued with popular covers which incorporated their own unique brand of southern garage rock and soul sound.

Johnny Soultrain

Oakland’s own Johnny Soultrain brought the funk and soul with a big band that barely fit in the room. They easily blew away the packed room with their big band sound. If you are looking for some throwback funky soul and blues, Johnny Soultrain will not let you down. They have a full 7-piece band that boomed throughout the small room. The song “Whiskey Bottle” off their EP of the same name is a great blues rendition that really got everyone in the audience swaying.

Van Goat Finally

The grand finale of the night, Van Goat’s reveal to the world, was everything anyone could want from their “first show.” It was raucous, wild, and amazing. The room was packed from the carpet to the back wall with fans dancing and getting down to their unique brand of music. Van Goat played some of their new songs including their brand new single “So.” It was great to finally hear them live for the first time and the crowd was really feeling the reincarnated vibe. They also played some fan favorites from their days as Bear Lincoln. The crowd went wild over their “Willie the Weeper & Minnie the Moocher.” They truly know how to breathe new life into an old jazz standard. They ended the night by bringing all of the horn players back up on stage before they waded into the crowd for a massive dance party.

Links to check out all the bands, venue, and Organization mentioned in this post:

Van Goat – - I Heart SF Bands


January 2017 - So Far No Good
September 2018 - Follow Me Under



Punk. Swing. Ragtime. Southern jazz. Surf. Van Goat is a band to which you could apply many labels, but none would quite prepare you for what you’re about to hear as you pop on your headphones and queue up their album.

Harnessing the diverse DIY aesthetic of their native Oakland, Van Goat (featuring Aidan Ward, Ben Einstein, Derek Burle, Lindsay Alexis, and Taylor Moxon) is in the business of writing not only songs that you can dance to, but entire albums that you can enjoy front to back without pausing or skipping: a musical experience wherein each successive song’s mottled riffs and bewildering charisma is pleasantly startling.

Follow Me Under, the five-piece’s debut full-length LP, pits thick bass lines against rhythmic trombone; pointed lyrics against verdant harmonies: bursts of liveliness in the first half against bursts of contemplation in the second. Side A, so to speak, is the dancing side, and Side B is the meditative side, but the entire LP creates a shindig all its own, plucking together influences both local and global and mashing them together in a cohesive and sophisticated exertion.

“You know when you’re in the shower and you want to turn the water as hot as you possibly can, and when it starts to burn you, you lower it a little bit? That’s what I want people to feel with this record,” says bassist Derek Burle.

Band Members