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.