SARAH AVRIN: firstname.lastname@example.org
On November 4, Very Fresh, aka Brooklyn-based Cindy Lou Gooden, is set to release her new EP, Hey, It's Me!, via New Professor Music and Inflated Records. While penning the rocking, clever, and confessional tracks featured on Hey, It’s Me!, Gooden kept busy around her home base – recording on Ava Luna’s last album, touring with Kino Kimino and Leapling on bass, and performing an unforgettable set of Alanis Morrissette covers at Silent Barn last year. Prior to this, she formed the all-female Pavement cover band, Babement, with Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis.
The aptly titled Hey, It's Me! is a coming out party for the unique songwriting work of this young singer/bassist. Building upon the success of last year’s “Clean Touch” single and subsequent touring, the one-time lo-fi recording outlet has blossomed into a fully-realized project and band at her own pace, and on her own terms. Much like Very Fresh’s debut single, the EP pays homage to alternative rock of the 90s with its muscular drumming and driving guitars, while incorporating elements of current favorites like Courtney Barnett, Pile, and Speedy Ortiz. Though one could argue some of the true highlights on this record are found in Gooden’s inimitably wry lyrics, loosely outlining her own foibles as she stumbles through her 20s.
“I just kind of reached a point where I care less about how I present myself to the world and more about being honest,” Gooden says. “The best things in my life always seem to have appeared when I’m being vulnerable, or at the very least being something close to myself.” Though there’s clearly a confessional streak on Hey, It’s Me, there’s a playfulness to these songs, and Gooden's songwriting in general, that sets Very Fresh apart from the seemingly endless avalanche of maudlin rock bands overflowing the Bandcamp bins. “How few times can I touch you?” she mumbles under her breath on “California Low,” evoking a bad date in one of the EP’s many tongue-in-cheek anthems.
The new record also represents a transition to higher fidelity for Gooden and her band, which included Julian Fader (Ava Luna) on drums, Andy Moholt (Laser Background) and Ben Scherer (ex-Palehound) on guitars, and engineer Jeff Berner (Psychic TV) behind the mixing board at Greenpoint’s Studio G. “It was great to be in an environment where I had unlimited gear at my fingertips and could really stretch creatively when it came to overdubs and sonics,” says the singer-songwriter. The result is Very Fresh at her most dynamic – the louds louder, the softs gentler, the feedback wilder, and the vocals more nuanced than anything she’s released before.
“Hey, It’s Me! Is about I perceive to be some of the uglier facets of my personality and background,” Gooden says. “But they’re relatable flaws.” The ability to tackle those issues with self-deprecating charm is Very Fresh’s specialty.