Performing at JD Hamel Park on May 11th, 10:15 pm
The day after GGOOLLDD front-woman Margaret Butler graduated from art school in Baton Rouge she packed a Uhaul and headed west. “I was like, yeah, I’m not going to live here anymore,” she recalls, laughing. Her first stop was Portland, Oregon, where she subsisted mostly on “ramen noodles and pumpkins people stole for me from Home Depot,” she remembers. “You sauté them down and add lots of black pepper and curry powder and soy sauce. It’s actually pretty good!”
Butler was riding high on that particular sense of freedom that comes when you’ve decided your life plan is to just say yes to pretty much everything. So you don’t really care that you’re broke and subsisting on stolen jack-o-lanterns, because you’re not in your suburban high school anymore, hiding your disdain for the cheerleaders. You’re in a weird and cool new town, hanging out with musicians and designers and artists. You’re free to mess around. Explore. And just when you’re starting to get a little over living “four people deep,” as Butler puts it, in your tiny apartment, another friend says, hey, come out to Wisconsin for a while. So you do. (Because: say yes!) And a while later, when, boozy in a bar one night, you hear some beats you think you’d like to write lyrics to, even though you’ve never so much as held a microphone in your life, you go for it. (Say. Yes.) And the next thing you know, you’re fronting a dynamic, dirty, synth-pop carnival of a band, hearing your single on the radio, and touring the country.
That’s Margaret Butler’s story. And that’s the story of her band, a group as inspired by the shimmery decadence of Queen as they are by the primal yowl of Black Sabbath as they are by the madcap joy of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. GGOOLLDD is one of the most resolutely celebratory rock acts to emerge in years.
GGOOLLDD isn’t like other bands. They formed on whim, decided to play their first show mostly as an excuse to host a killer party, and they eschew the traditional gotta-get-a-record-deal game in favor of playing a lot of shows and releasing their own material. That sense of whimsy blended with resolute autonomy is all part of the signature GGOOLLDD aesthetic. And it feeds into their sound, especially lately. “Secrets,” their new single, is a soaring banger that conjures wind-in-your-hair glittery romanticism. Co-produced and mixed by Ben H. Allen (MIA, Animal Collective) it reflects that core tension in GGOOLLDD between winging it and great artistry. “I’m not going to lie, I’m great at writing a hook,” Butler says, and is quick to point out that her bandmates are “amazing,” musicians. “But if you ask me what I do, I’m going to tell you that I’m a performer before I tell you that I’m a musician.” She pauses and cracks up. “Unless you don’t know me at all,” she continues. “Then I’m going to say I’m a musician, because if I say I’m a performer, you’re going to automatically think that I’m a stripper, which is totally ok too but not my current profession.”