Mister Goblin

When Sam Goblin’s post-hardcore operation, Two Inch Astronaut, disbanded it was an opportunity for reinvention. An opportunity to experiment. An opportunity to explore the idea of letting a lack of a unified sonic direction be the direction.

Pulling from a kaleidoscopic array of influences spanning from the early 2000’s tongue-in-cheek storytelling traditions of bands of Pedro the Lion to the breezier and more fuzzed-out conventions of 90’s alternative bands like The Lemonheads, and even further into the post-hardcore leanings of bands like No Knife and Shiner, Mister Goblin is unexpected, thoughtful, and idiosyncratic in all of the best ways.

“After my old band Two Inch Astronaut broke up I wanted a new vehicle for the songs I was working on. I'm always writing and was interested in trying something new outside of the more rigid framework of that band,” says Sam Goblin. And breaking this established structure on the upcoming Mister Goblin LP, Frog Poems, is precisely what gives the record such restored feel. The criticism I've always heard about Mister Goblin records is that they're ‘too dynamic’ or trying to accomplish too much without a unified sonic purpose or something. Instead of changing that (because I'm stubborn) I think I just tried to do it better. I wanted to make a record featuring all the kinds of songs I like to write, but just have them be better versions of each variety. In that way, hopefully it could feel unified as a project and also like it doesn't all need to neatly fit into one microgenre.”

In the same ways that Frog Poems wanders sonically it does thematically, exploring a range of content from heavy ruminations on growth and development mirroring children’s narratives to introspective and occasionally humorous self-examinations.

“A lot of the songs have to do with traditional ideas about how a human life should unfold and how that's impacted by the context we currently live in,” says Goblin. “There are a lot of nods to children's literature and other stuff in that zone on Frog Poems – like, ‘Goodnight Sun’ being an inversion of Goodnight Moon, and ‘Run Hide Fight’ is about doing active shooter drills when I worked in a Kindergarten classroom.” Deeper into the tracklisting, songs like “The Notary” and “Grown Man” take on a more critical and personal point-of-view, untangling responsibility, the passing of time, and the
constantly changing landscape that surrounds us.

Recorded in two separate studios and mixed and produced by Seth Engel, half of the songs on Frog Poems were recorded with a full band lineup (including Engel on drums), and the other half are more solo-oriented recordings – leaning more acoustic with elements of electronic production. While the challenge of blending the two production choices together was not an easy one, the deep exploration of such different sonic worlds is what gives the record its luster and distinction.

“We basically tried to run down any idea that anyone had about what might be cool,” says Goblin, “so there are some pretty bold production choices.”

Mister Goblin’s resolution to fight the instinctual pull of cohesion and steer into less-familiar waters is what transforms Frog Poems from a casual listen to an active and dynamic journey. This boldness and willingness to pioneer is evident in the recording from note one, and the spirit of this approach is what will keep Frog Poems spinning on turntables long after its release date.

"a radio-rocky blast of hooks and energy." - Stereogum