Formed in 2002 by singer-composer-guitarist-keyboardist Shon Sullivan (Elliott Smith, Eels, the Rentals, Spain) and drummer Bryan Bos in suburban Diamond Bar, CA, Goldenboy’s 2003 debut Blue Swan Orchestra was a KCRW favorite that featured guest vocals by Elliott Smith on “Summertime”; Blue Swan has just been re-issued on the Eenie Meenie label, which also released the band’s Underneath the Radio in 2006 and Sleepwalker in 2011.
The New Familiar is Goldenboy’s latest album, and plays like a fond voyage through the ‘60s-‘90s classics canon. Yet in (non)traditional Goldenboy style it’s loaded with sonic surprises –– little twists of the unexpected chord here, an odd time signature there, and always the goosebumping wisp of instrumental texture. Tracks like “The Walking Song” with breathy voices astride keyboard/synth drafts that build with intensity, while the meditative “One of My Moods” and lighthearted “Today Is the Day” and “Steal Your Face” flicker across Sullivan & Co.’s own ever-shifting emotional terrains.
Recorded and produced at Sullivan’s Silverlake studio, The New Familiar saw the forever-touring band sharpening up songs they’d developed over the past two years. They’ve created a piquant sound of quiet urgency and jovial buoyancy that owes both to the group’s affectionate, and ESP-like bond with each other.
“We just keep going, and living in the moment,” says Sullivan. “When you do that, you become really happy.”