The GO | Howl On the Haunted Beat You Ride

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Howl On the Haunted Beat You Ride

by The GO

Howl: to utter a loud, prolonged, mournful cry, as that of a dog or wolf. Haunted: preoccupied, as with an emotion, memory, or idea; obsessed. Beat: one's assigned or regular path or habitual round. Ride: to appear to float in space, as a heavenly body.
Genre: Rock: 60's Rock
Release Date: 

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1. You Go Bangin' On
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2:32 $0.99
2. Invisible Friends
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3:38 $0.99
3. Caroline
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4:12 $0.99
4. So Long Johnny
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3:20 $0.99
5. Yer Stoned Italian Cowboy
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4:03 $0.99
6. Refrain
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7. Down a Spiral
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8. Help You Out
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9. Mercurial Girl
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10. She's Prettiest When She Cries
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11. Mary Ann
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12. Smile
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
When I got the editorial gig at Creem in 1979, I had access to more than I should (in every dimension - it got pretty ugly after awhile), including Lester Bangs' home phone number. I called him, asked for some advice On Becoming a Rock Critic. He said, "If you love a band, tell everyone, spread the joy, and say why. You'll do everyone a favor if you do that."

Well, I'll take his advice here for the first time - I love The GO.

The GO have made the album they were destined to make. It's music like this that inspired them to pick up their instruments in the first place. They proudly wear their pop-hearts on their sleeves with this bubble-gum classic, and we're all the better for it. A few weeks ago Bobby Harlow sent me the new tracks, and when I put them on, I actually got goose bumps. This album is chock-full of gloriously lost influences meticulously crafted into a long-playing record, which is another lost form of influence. Download the entire thing into your iPod, play it, and I'm sure you'll agree.

The poet Ezra Pound said, Make It New.

Every so often, an artist, a band, manages to do just that. Like about once every 10 years.

The GO have elegantly turned this trick with the album you hold in your hands.

The GO crashed face-first into the Detroit garage scene a few albums ago with Whatcha Doin', which immediately catapulted them into the heart of the maw. Whatcha Doin' (Sub Pop) caught the public's attention as only a young band can -- a raucous collection of shoutalong garage jams, loose, daring, and charmingly arrogant -- a spirited, rowdy adventure.

They gigged all over the place, wrote one hundred and one songs which eventually took shape on a number of amazing albums: the psychedelic masterpiece Free Electricity (lost to obscurity thanks to their former record label), a collection of rough nuggets style sketches called Supercuts (limited edition vinyl release), and the eponymously titled fourth album THE GO (Lizard King).

I love the self-titled album because it was (to me and many others) simply the best straight-up rock'n'roll record in decades, not a dog on it. The rough edges were left hanging out, but it had all the hallmarks of great songwriting doused in the grooves to convince me that they have what it takes to go the distance.

The GO are in the process of inventing themselves.

I should mention that there are at least 50 GO songs, recorded top to bottom, deemed by the band, "too weird for general consumption." Just like the Beatles giving the Rolling Stones 'I Wanna Be Your Man', any one of The GO's throw-away tunes could be hits for somebody else. Easy. I've got copies to prove it. The GO are the underground darlings that most rock and roll fans may never even hear. While their buddy Jack White slams the gavel with every record he cranks out, The GO are deep down in the lab, alone, opening new pathways to creative music.

I wish I could have seen The GO with John Krautner and Jack White dueling it out on guitar -- it must have been wild. Wow, no kidding, you people who saw that configuration of The GO were really lucky. While that must have been great, as a fan, I'm thankful that The GO and Jack White parted ways, because instead of one great band, we are now blessed with two great bands, two sets of incredible songwriters whose styles are so dissimilar you have to wonder how they ever held it together for even a little while. Thanks for breaking up, guys, you've made me very happy.

What makes this album so different from the others?

Bobby Harlow produced and recorded Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride. Take 4 bug-eyed misanthropes (Bobby Harlow, John Krautner, Marc Fellis and James McConnell) with an endless well of creativity, lock them up in a cellar together with 5 tape machines, and turn the controls over to the 1 guy that works 17 hours a day without lunch. Result: Every guitar tone, drum sound, vocal harmony, tambourine, piano, organ has been uniquely processed in a way that could even raise Brian Eno's eyebrow. Good luck finding another record like this one. It doesn't exist. The GO have created their own world: GO world.

It's a lot like Disneyland only you have to be 18 to get in.

The big kick in the ass comes every time The GO release a new album, because they are constantly changing, evolving, honing and re-inventing themselves in a way that isn't much different from Lou Reed, The Kinks or David Bowie. "Learn from the best, to hell with the rest" just might be The GO's motto.

I'm sitting in a hotel lobby in San Jose, Costa Rica, writing this on a house computer. I have a copy of Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride playing over the computer's speakers. An English tourist in shorts, sandals and socks walks up and asks what I'm listening to. I tell him it's the new one from The GO. I give him the title and he says he's gonna buy it. A woman from Brazil asks the same thing. I tell her, and she says she really likes it and wants to know when the album drops. Seven more people have asked what I'm listening to. One aging American hipster said, "That song sounds like Harry Nilsson!" He's talking about "Caroline." Another German woman in her 20s, said, hearing "So Long Johnny," she thinks that the song's retro-cool vibe smacks of Dion and the Belmonts, or something by John Lennon. These manner of comments are what I heard from a variety of people. Everyone who stopped by said, "Wow! That's a great song!" And songwriting is what The GO excel at. Tunes par excellence. Nobody, but nobody today does it better. It's INFECTIOUS!

Everyone who listens to The GO agrees that there's magic in their timeless music.

Something important is happening here.

All you need to do is open the door and let them all in.

Ivan Suvanjieff
San Jose, Costa Rica
February 21, 2007


Reviews


to write a review

Detroit Metro Times

Going, Going....Gone!
My predecessor here reviewed this album when it was first released locally. But now that it's available internationally, with the band recently embarking on a U.S. tour, it might be time for me to weigh in and say, unequivocally, that this is one fine collection of songs. With Howl..., the Go help Detroit to bury that whole "garage" rock association (which, let's face it, became a bit of an unfortunate stigma) once and for all.

The overall sound here is somewhat reminiscent of L.A.'s neopsychedelic Paisley Underground scene ... if the Paisley Underground had produced better songs. And the Go has two terrific songwriters in Bobby Harlow and John Krautner. The two wear their influences on their sleeves, be it the Kinks (Harlow sounds positively Ray Davies-ish on both "Yer Stoned Italian Cowboy" and the wonderful "She's Prettiest When She Cries"), the Small Faces, Jefferson Airplane (a comparison that might even surprise them), the Beach Boys, the Beatles ... hell, it again may not be intentional, but the glorious "Mary Ann" appears to cop a brief reference from the Four Seasons in its charming opening moments (which would make sense in the grand scheme of things). And yet, it's all distinctive enough to totally sound like no one but the Go, making the group part of a now-fading but still occasionally surprising chain.

The riff-driven "Mercurial Girl" is hard-driving, hard-rocking psychedelic pop; the aforementioned "She's Prettiest ..." a pure pop-meets-bubblegum instant classic, simply overflowing with melody and irresistible melancholy. It takes a lot of chutzpah to name songs "Caroline" and "Mary Ann" (which Harlow and Krautner, respectively and individually, have done here), two of the archetypal girl names in past great rock songs. And yet they've come up with new compositions that actually compete or at least can still stand tall in great company. The Go aren't reinventing the wheel here so much as demonstrating that the wheel still has plenty of tread left. And Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride, despite its somewhat pretentious title, is as good as any rock album I'm sure I'm going to hear this year. - Bill Holdship

Mojo

> Triumphant fourth album by Motor City mainstays
The Go have weathered their share of drama: founded in 1998 by three childhood friends, they axed early member Jack White, then their career stalled when Sub Pop shelvede their second album. the aptly-titled "Free Electricity". After a 2003 release on Lizard King they seemed largely forgotten, left in the dust of the great Detroit Garage Rock swindle, of which the White Stripes emerged as the only true commercial victors. In reality, The Go were busy side-stepping the industry meat-grinder with good old-fashioned inspiration, channeling Beach Boys harmonies and Flamin Groovies stomp into sparkling pop like "Caroline" and "Down a Spiral". When John McConnell's cauterwauling guitar lines collide with the intricate vocal harmonies of Bobby Harlow and John Krautner, Howl transcends its myriad of influences." - Michael Hurtt
>

Samantha, Calgary AB

A wild and exciting ride!
In a long dry period of over-processed talent this cd stands out for its bold attitude, fascinating lyrics and honest presentation. The Go are conspicuously talented, and it is comforting to know that magic is still out there.

spin.com

"Caroline" is a song exemplifying the most endearing and elementary of pop class
It's an age-old pop culture plot: the bully with a hidden heart of gold. Everyone knows even the boldest bad boys can get the blues -- and on The GO's fourth LP Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride, the brash quartet's signature raucous energy takes a backseat to lo-fi, off-kilter harmonies riding shotgun. "Caroline" is a song exemplifying the most endearing and elementary of pop classics as if the Zombies and the Kinks made up with Dr. Dog following a schoolyard fist fight. With sweeping riffage, dissonant piano plunks, and hidden saxophone bits, The GO gets a little soft rock. But frontman Bobby Harlow, the menacing Detroit rocker who brought us the sneering garage rock staple "Whatcha Doin'" in 1999, appears pretty comfortable with that. He may be "a boy with rosebud eyes," however it's his heart that's colored with Motor City malaise, thus making "Caroline" the band's finest heartbreaker since 2003's "Summer's Gonna Be My Girl." The GO proves it's certainly not a crime for any guy bearing the big guns to shed a little sensitivity whilst showcasing the heart on his sleeve. Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride howls July 24th via Detroit's own Cass imprint

Real Detroit Weekly

Howl is that rare, beautiful kind of mysterious album that can reveal new aural
“I wasn’t born in the ‘60s, I’m not trying to relive my youth, I’m in my youth,” The Go’s lead singer Bobby Harlow says as he lights another cigarette after being asked how he feels about journalists writing things like “The Go are stuck in the ‘60s.”

“I have no idea why I don’t like modern music, I don’t know why Mark (Fellis, drums), Jimmy (McConnell, guitar) or John (Krautner, bass) don’t either. We were not made for these times, I don’t know why.”

Two years ago, The Go, (a Detroit rock institution and prominent member of the glory days aristocracy from the 1999-ish era) was flirting dangerously close with its own possible break-up, born from frustrations over the songs they were playing and some gloomy showcase shows populated by those cold, blank-stared label suits. This was the band that got signed to SubPop based on living room recordings and their wild live show ... the first great hope from those days to have a door opened to them ...

But things went south with the label when The Go were paired to tour with ragamuffin cock rockers.”We thought they’d gotten it,” says Bobby of the band’s initial reaction to SubPop, “but then we realized they didn’t get it.” And, worse, SubPop had no intentions of signing the Detroit Cobras, Demolition Doll Rods or any of The Go’s other comrades from Detroit. (Not to mention the massive tiff The Go had with the label over releasing their second album.)

Thus, after a quasi-break/damn-near conclusion, The Go have returned — as was evidenced by the “boys are back in town” vibe hovering over their most recent performances. “Everybody else needed a break,” Bobby says, “but this is all I do. If I don’t make music then I may as well go live in a cave, or work at McDonald's for the rest of my life and get a lobotomy … so I thought about doing a record on my own and started to record some.”

The quartet reunited in the basement of Mr. Bowen, an elderly, hard-of-hearing gent, and John’s unofficial grandpa, to record, in grassroots style, Howl On The Haunted Beat You Ride — The Go’s most diverse, angular, exploratory batch of jangly poppers, strung-out, blood-shot acoustic reflections and freakbeat anthems — the sound of street-smart swagger mixed with a humanism that most other mundane rock acts could only dream of having.

“Everything’s going great,” John says on the phone the next day. “We’ve been in the lab for the last couple years and now we’re back in action.”
“It seems like the existence of The Go has always been a bit shakey,” I suggest, recalling SubPop’s mishandling of their first tour, Dave Buick’s early exit from The Go and the “all-out war” that was waged between the band and SubPop over their second album, Free Electricity. “But now things feel more settled?”

John agrees, but “I think there’s eeriness about comfort,” he laughs. “’Wait a minute, everything’s going really well,’” he mocks in a paranoid tone. “It has to do with us taking the initiative ourselves,” as the band took an organic approach and recorded at home on their own time while venturing down boundless experimentation. “I think Bobby taking the controls as producer and engineer has helped everybody.” Many of the songs have gone through numerous transformations — the single “You Go Bangin’ On” having five different versions — the meticulousness and attention to detail is marvelous.
Vision and precision is also something The Go’s preferred visual artist, Michael Wartella, who “worked practically every detail on this album by hand,” implements in his art. Wartella also may have a hand in animating a video for the single. “He did the entire album free of charge because he likes the music,” says Bobby, though some free LPs were awarded.

Howl is that rare, beautiful kind of mysterious album that can reveal new aural idiosyncrasies with each listen — warm, distinctive melodies over melodic, convivial guitars unabashedly conjuring psychedelic Brit-pop narratives, a subdued feedback sandwiching a subtle keyboard melody … all the while you’re lulled by catchy percussion rhythms serenely attuned with the wayward but declarative, Harrison-esque guitar heroics.

Because of all the tenacious concern poured into the hours of recording, the sound, the album, literally has a heart; it greets you with a hug, a wink, sometimes inviting you to dance, other times solemnly bringing you back to reality. The production is astounding.

Lounging in his living room, seated beside his cat (who I think doesn’t like me), Bobby regales me with the harried tale of misaligned lavishness and foggy jubilance surrounding the recording of 2003’s self-titled in a swank “all-inclusive” UK studio that provides bands “anything you want ...” which led to a stressful rerecording helmed by Bobby weeks later, during which he “cut his teeth” as a producer.

“You know what you want now, as a producer?” I ask, as he lays the needle on a Traffic record he particularly likes. “I think I always have, I just listen to the same records all the time ... I’m not a record collector, I just have the classic records that I’ve never stopped listening to. I take mental notes; I don’t have anything in my record collection that isn’t useful to me. I never wanted to be in that position (producer) because I knew it would be awkward, with my equal partners in the band … to be able to make certain calls … The experience of this record,” he pauses and he puts it cryptically, but his point is made well, “was sitting in a chair, staring into a speaker for two years.” Bobby holds his hands out and his eyes glaze over. It’s obvious how much he’s put into this record.

The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Traffic, The Rolling Stones, T-Rex, The Who ... and The Beatles — the sounds that travel through the ears of The Go are blueprints for their chronicled musical narratives.

The Go recently played PeaceJam in Colorado, “filled, not exaggerating, with a whole audience of 15-year-old kids,” Bobby says. “They freaked out! They said we were ‘like The Rolling Stones,’ but they can’t go see The Stones in their prime, so a band that maybe has a little of that spirit ... I mean, we can hero-worship The Who all we want, but unless people aim to make music that’s in that vein, creatively, then that’s lost forever and the closest thing we’ll ever get to it is a DVD.”

“So, do you feel rejuvenation?” I ask. “A bit,” Bobby says, “a bit of a weight lifted. I’m more confident now, in where we are as friends, than I’ve ever been in the past — I think it’s the strongest band we’ve ever had. Jimmy’s a big part of that. He really committed; he was really serious when he joined The Go.”

John says the songwriting process has changed since he acquired his own four-track, beforehand having not been too deep on the technical aspect of recording, but now he’s writing his own material much more than before. “The songs you’re writing, what are the influences?” I ask. “Inspiration comes from the weirdest places, as you know,” John says, “but, uhh … cartoons?” he laughs warmly. “Girl-type situations, too. When things are going good in that department, you have to hearken back to time when they weren’t so good and tap that well.”

This is a band that started during a time (‘98) when technology (i.e. the Internet) had not strangled the musical community with its overwhelming, communicable influence … and it now exists after … with Bobby running the band blog and John constantly scanning the blogosphere (having been smitten by the wonderful world of Portugese psyche-pop!).
The Internet’s sea change is welcomed by John: “I feel like it just had to happen,” he says. “The obese-cartoon-looking-guy-smoking-a-cigar-behind-a-desk was making way too much money as far as I’m concerned.”

Regarding Free Electricity, “We didn’t wanna make the record to get kicked off the label,” says John, though that’s what happened with SubPop. “We said, 'OK, we made this weird record that none of us knew what we were doing called Whatcha Doin', now let's go in and make a record that we really concentrate on and make it sound like all our favorite psyche records.'”
Needless to say, SubPop was not pleased — but conspiracy theories posit simple bitterness over The Go’s lack of permission from the label to record may have been the cause for the quarrel.

“We’re chiming in, we’re still doing it,” Bobby says. “We’re not going away.”
“We had to think — maybe we could pick up a hammer and try something else," jokes John, "but it didn’t take long for us to realize none of us know how to pick up a hammer, so we have to do this whether we like it or not.” | RDW

mdmphd

Smooth as Stoli
This is rock that steals what it needs from the classic groups and boldly steps forward with its own sound. It's in my cd changer and I always sit up when it comes around. I'll be looking for their previous material and sweating just a little when their new cd comes out.

Candy

Retro Coolness!
Sounds good next to The Animals, The Doors, and others of that generation & ilk.

Pamela at CD Baby


Do you love The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Harry Nilsson, but lament the fact that you only appreciate their recordings from the 60s and you’ve listened to those until you wore the record flat? The GO is here to offer you a damn fantastic and brand new record that blends up all of the afore mentioned sounds and provides song after song of hook-piled guitar pop that’s more psychedelically suited for a transistor radio in Golden Gate Park circa 1967 (plus a little bit of Detroit blues) than it is for modern rock radio. A really remarkable thing here is the production; it’s one thing to write songs that sound like they could be from the 60s, it’s quite another to have a recording that sounds like it was recorded in the 60s. Word around the campfire is that these guys approach every album from an angle they haven’t tried before, so this is likely to be the only one we get that’s so perfectly planted in psychedelic rock. It suuuuure makes me curious about what their next project will sound like.