Good Looks discuss the inspirations behind their debut album
Austin band Good Looks just released their debut album, Bummer Year, today (4/8) via Keeled Scales. Informed by hometown heroes like Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, and Spoon, not to mention frontman Tyler Jordan's upbringing in a very religious household (his father ran a church) and the recent tummolt we've all been through, Bummer Year is loaded with dusty, heartfelt indie rock Americana. (Loma's Dan Duszynski produced, keeping focus on Tyler's songwriting and warmly weary vocals). You can listen to the whole album below.
We asked Tyler to tell us about the inspirations behind Bummer Year, which range from music (Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch, Parquet Courts and more), to nature, books, and more. Read that list below.
Good Looks are on tour this month, including two NYC shows: April 17 at Mercury Lounge with Brook Pridemore and Grass Future Society and April 18 at Purgatory with Wilder Maker and Adeline Hotel. All dates are listed below.
GOOD LUCKS - 10 INSPIRATIONS BEHIND BUMMER YEAR
Willie Nelson - Phases and Stages
If you love songwriters like Townes, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, or Dylan this is a great entry point into country music. This is one of the most incredible breakup albums of all time. Willie Nelson writes with an honesty and earnestness not often found in country music, especially of this era. This was released in the middle of his classic period in the 70s where he put out 8 or 9 masterpieces in a row. There’s a reason why the entire city of Austin loves and reveres him. Dig in. Also, I highly recommend watching his performance on the very first episode of Austin City Limits. His band was rowdy, and included his older sister Bobbie that recently passed away. It’s a great band at the height of their powers.
I can’t decide whether to say, this album is brought to you by or in spite of depression, but both are probably true. Man, I was really down in it when I was writing this record, and I can hear it weighing heavily on every song. I’m happy to report that I’m in a much better place these days. I’ve been doing therapy weekly and I started taking an antidepressant. If you’re down in it right now, it can be a long process, but you’re going to get to the other side of it eventually. I’m sending love and I wish you the best on your journey with it.
Balmorhea State Park
An oasis just off of I-10 in the middle of nowhere west Texas. 6 hours past Austin headed west and 3 more before you get to El Paso. Several of the songs on this record are set during a trip I took to Balmorhea State Park. This place is the best kept secret swimming hole west of the Mississippi. The water is a constant 72 degrees year round. The band makes it a point to stop here on every west coast tour and if it’s winter we just pray for a day over 65.
The Kerrville Folk Festival
The Kerrville Folk Festival is an 18 day non-profit folk festival that has existed since 1972. It happens every year in May and into June just outside of the town of Kerrville, TX on the beautiful Quiet Valley Ranch. Jake (lead guitarist) and I met out there. I’ve been to all 18 days of every festival since the year 2009. I show up anytime they open the gate. There isn’t one single other thing that’s had more of an influence on my songwriting. "First Crossing" is a snapshot of my time spent out at the festival one year.
Gillian Welch - Time (The Revelator)
While I was writing this record, I was going through the break up of a multi-year relationship. I also wrecked my bike, which was my only form of transportation at the time. So, I just started walking home an hour and a half every day from my shitty serving job at a brunch restaurant. I’d bring headphones and listen to this album all the way home and I could get through nearly 2 full spins of it. This record kept my head above water during a terrible time, and I know it seeped into the songs. It’s hard to imagine me writing songs like Walker Lake, Balmorhea, or Almost Automatic without the extended cry/walk/listening sessions to this record. Also, Everything is Free is one of the greatest songs ever written about the changing music industry. Do yourself a favor and find fifty minutes to let this record really win you over.
Dan Bern - New American Language
This record fucking rules. Tony from Keeled Scales got me into it. For Dylan heads and Elvis Costello fans alike. Here’s the thing, this is an Americana record from 2001 and it should be judged as such. Is the production cheesy as hell? Sure. Does it have a little too much wah pedal on a couple of songs? Yeah totally. And absolutely, the guitar player never met a Stevie Ray Vaughan lick he didn’t like. But here’s the thing, you need to just move past it, because the songs on this record are so, so stellar. This guy wrote an entire song about going back in time to save Kurt Cobain, killing Hitler, and taking Jesus down off the cross, and spoiler alert God says no. Black Tornado is the ultimate folk hero jam.
Buck Meek - Self-titled album
I’m proud to count Buck Meek as a friend. He’s also a labelmate on Keeled Scales. We met out at the aforementioned Kerrville Folk Festival. I’ve known this guy a long time now. He’s an outrageously good songwriter. The first folk song he ever wrote is better than most folkies' best work. This album is full of small town vignettes, the kind that can only be lived-in and then sung about. It’s got a lot of range too. This record gets loud and it gets quiet. It gets folky and it gets jazzy. These songs will worm their way into your head and stay for a lifetime. This one was spinning constantly in the background while we were putting the finishing touches on Bummer Year. Also, if you get the chance to see this guy live, jump on it, because his band is one of the best to ever do it.
Parquet Courts - Human Performance
This record was totally world changing for Jake and I. I’ve listened to this way, way too many times. Every song sounds like a single. I’m especially fond of the meditation that takes place in the middle of the opening track. The first time I listened to this record was on headphones, and when that part hit, it just kinda blew me away. I was just beginning to get into meditation. It really resonated with me and brought me completely into the present moment with the song. I’ve started opening our song 21 with a short breath meditation at live shows. I can feel the vibe of the crowd change and everybody kinda locks in. I love Parquet Courts and you should too.
Patti Smith - M Train and Just Kids
I read both of these books over the course of writing and recording Bummer Year. I bought a polaroid camera and started taking horrible photos. ha. Through Patti Smith I made peace with my addiction to coffee. She made me want to love someone like she loved Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. She has a romantic mind and I love the way she sees the world. It makes you wanna see it like her. Also, her instagram account is one of the best follows around. Her posts are so calm, positive, and honest in a sea of social media snarkiness and white washed human experience. I hope you will find as much joy in her writing as I do.
Conor Oberst - Ruminations
Stripped down to just guitar, piano, harmonica, and vocals, this album is a great reminder of how Conor Oberst remains one of the best songwriters on the planet. The first time I ever heard about Bright Eyes was in the parking lot where I attended community college. The cool kid that drove the 70s hearse around town told me about Digital Ash and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning coming out that day. I went home and illegally downloaded every song one by one and I’ve been an avid fan ever since. I don’t always love the production on his non-Bright Eyes output, but this one functions like Springsteen’s Nebraska. It’s get all the bullshit out of the way so you can sit with the songs and appreciate his genius. I’m glad this guy is still around and making great music.
Good Looks - 2022 Tour Dates
Apr 08 - Hotel Vegas - Austin, TX
Apr 09 - Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe - Galveston, TX
Apr 10 - Saturn Bar - New Orleans, LA
Apr 12 - The World Famous - Athens, GA
Apr 13 - The Grove Restaurant & Tavern - Decatur, GA
Apr 14 - The Milestone Club - Charlotte, NC
Apr 16 - Quarry House Tavern - Silver Spring, MD
Apr 17 - Mercury Lounge - New York (NYC), NY
Apr 18 - Purgatory - Brooklyn, NY
Apr 23 - Andy's Bar - Denton, TX