Serendipity. Bob Ross referred to it as “happy mistakes”. Reddit tells us “Everything went better that expected.” Regardless of how you phrase it, such is my relationship with Mankato, MN quartet Good Night Gold Dust. The band stopped in town over the summer and played a set for Main Street Music Festival. Their set was admittedly later than I prefer to stay up, but other attendees encouraged me to give it a couple songs and see where things went. Needless to say, I enjoyed the performance enough to stay.
In short, Good Night Gold Dust’s sound is a sultry mix of hazy electronica, booming percussion, and wall-of-sound guitar lines. Synthersizers weave through sampled drums; infectious choruses resound over 80s-styled guitar riffs. Their recordings are a bit tame in some respects compared to their energetic live sets, though this ultimately puts a microscope on the songwriting and everything checks out.
The band has been slinging a set of new tracks for several months now, and there’s plenty to enjoy. While the EP doesn’t seem to have hit digital distribution yet, the six songs off It Could Have Been You do in fact exist on CD, as well as in a collection of news features the band has managed to curate. The group’s discography may not be the deepest, but this release showcases strong development in their songwriting.
Catch Good Night Gold Dust Live in Oshkosh @ Water City Racket Fest 2019
— Friday, Feb 15 at the Algoma Club (9:30pm)
— Saturday, Feb 16 acoustic at Fletch’s (12:15pm)
One particular welcome addition this time around is a few extra vocal contributions from Colin Scharf, who shares principal songwriting/guitar responsibilities with Laura Schultz. Schultz traditionally has handled vocal responsibilities, and her abilities are only more refined this time around (“Second Moon”, “In Water”, “Better Gone”), but Scharf’s approach adds an extra layer of depth to the EP. The pair trade off between songs, which results in interesting momentum that shifts between Schultz’s more ambient, poppy tracks and Scharf’s alt-rock bangers.
While Zachary Arney recently played his last show with the band (he’s heading out to the West Coast), his contributions on keys and synths are a prominent staple of the release. Lastly, Michelle Roche provides some excellent percussive elements (both acoustic and electronic) which further cement the dynamic nature of Good Night Gold Dust’s songs.
It Could Have Been You might be a concise release, but what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in ambition. Good Night Gold Dust thrives on opposites: Scharf’s and Shultz’s vocals, acoustic and electric instrumentation, rock and pop influences, soft moments and occasional crescendos. The band manages to balance all of this well without breaking cohesion. The EP’s overall mood is largely warm and upbeat (even with some more serious lyrical passages), and it’s certainly a welcome atmosphere for those looking for brighter days or just a reason to dance.
Watch for Good Night Gold Dust as they return to town on February 15, 2019 for Water City Racket Fest and check out the track “Second Moon” below.