Cindy Lou Gooden. It sounds like the name of a china doll, or a well-heeled lady gearing up for cotillion. My favorite Cindy Lou before today was the tiny little Who girl from The Grinch who helped convince that lonely villain to not steal Christmas. But if Gooden’s name evokes any primness, her music quickly dispatches that notion. You get the sense she likes the contrast too, kicking off her latest track “Clean Touch” with a lyric like “This eager timbre / Does it make me sound cute?” Thankfully, there’s nothing at all cute about her solo project Very Fresh, as the crawling, deadpan “Clean Touch” quickly reveals.
Gooden is no stranger to the stage, nor to the particular breed of whipsmart grunge rock she’s making as Very Fresh. Before she pursued her own solo songwriting she plays bass Railings and collaborated with Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz in the Pavement cover band Babement. (Dupuis also used to play in Very Fresh, as did Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader of Ava Luna.) Joined in Very Fresh by Leapling drummer Alejandro Salazar Dyer and former Palehound guitarist Ben Scherer, Gooden wails without ever raising her voice and thrashes without losing control. Everything about “Clean Touch” is calculated and measured, her delivery would almost be a sneer if it wasn’t for a total lack of malice. Instead, it all unfolds with the levity of a calm observer who is right on the verge of total explosion. In the midst of that pent-up energy exists the crux of “Clean Touch,” a coiled jumble of potential thrumming through jagged melodies. Gooden’s lyrics eviscerate the present with an eye ever on the future, so we watch hers just as eagerly. Listen below via Impose.
“Clean Touch” b/w “Pale Lips” 7-inch is out 11/13 via New Professor Music.