Good Looks

  • June 27, 2024
  • The Bishop
  • 123 S. Walnut Street, Bloomington, IN 47404
  • 9:30 PM
  • $12 adv, $15 dos 18+

Good Looks write kindhearted and cathartic rock songs about the persistence required to make it through hard times. In April 2022, the Austin, Texas quartet released their critically acclaimed debut Bummer Year, which channeled post-2016 frustrations into lyrically generous and biting tracks. Immediately after their triumphant hometown record release show, tragedy struck. Walking outside the venue, lead guitarist Jake Ames was hit by a car crossing the street, fracturing his skull and tailbone. Following a necessary period of healing and processing which found him in the ICU and dealing with short-term memory issues, Ames recovered. The traumatic accident strengthened their bond, which is evident on their electric new album Lived Here For A While. Out June 7 via Keeled Scales, it’s fearlessly direct music that captures the full-throated intensity of their galvanizing live show.

Though frontman Tyler Jordan had already written the 10 urgent songs on this album before the accident, they weren’t recorded yet. Following the excitement of the release show, Ames’ horrific injury was a devastating blow and made the band’s future uncertain. They canceled the next few months of touring and were mainly concerned about whether or not their bandmate would be OK. “We were in the hospital with him every day,” says Jordan. “It wasn't clear how bad it was gonna be for Jake. We had no idea how this traumatic brain injury would affect him until the swelling went down. We even wondered if we’d ever play music together again.” Ames was initially hospitalized for nearly a week. While he had difficulty speaking conversationally upon his release, he quickly realized he could still play guitar and sing almost perfectly.

The one date Good Looks tentatively kept on their calendar was a June stop at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Central Texas, where Jordan and Ames had first met. Their friendship is inseparable from this place as they’d bond over music and trade songs alongside writers like Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek. Ames, now on a strict rest schedule, wasn’t even allowed to play amplified electric guitar due to his doctors’ concerns that loud noises would negatively affect his healing. However, each day marked a new milestone in his recovery. Soon, he was cleared to play that gig. It went splendidly. “That festival is so important to Jake and I,” says Jordan. “We've spent a lot of years and time out there so being back after everything felt surreal. I don't know if we’ve ever played a show that was more joyful than that one.”

The following month, Good Looks tracked Lived Here For A While at Texas’ Dandy Sounds with producer/engineer Dan Duszynski (of Loma and Cross Record). “It felt wild to be in there and recording after everything," says Jordan. “Jake’s accident made us all more grateful to be there.” Though Ames had to relearn some of his parts, his palpably energetic performances elevated the entire record. On the LP, the band trades the Americana sound that colored in the lines of Bummer Year for clanging post-punk guitars and expansive indie rock. “Self-Destructor” boasts a screeching yet danceable lead from Ames, the physicality and fervency of the full band’s performance is palpable. On the single “Can You See Me Tonight?,” Ames’ riff is just as infectious as Jordan’s searching chorus.

Lyrically, the songs on this album are healing meditations on family dysfunction, new relationships, and how a home can become unrecognizable. “I went through a breakup in early 2020,” says Jordan. “Writing felt really free. This is the most open that I've ever been.” However, the single “If It’s Gone” is the only track explicitly about heartbreak, which boasts a tangible grace that softens any bitterness. On the soaring track, Jordan sings, “I hope you find true love, and money, many orgasms and fame / And if you’re somehow still unhappy find somebody else to blame.” It subverts the angrier tropes of the genre.

Jordan’s primary focus on Lived Here For A While is dissecting relationships of all kinds: familial, platonic, creative, and romantic. His songs explore how they can crumble irrevocably but also how those partnerships can be centering, hopeful, and exciting. Songs like “Vaughn” explore the possibility of Jordan’s new romance with an ebullient groove and an ecstatic chorus where he sings, “Not every single lover has gotta be a sad song / In a year when everything was going wrong / I’m so glad that I met you, Vaughn.” The newfound stability in Jordan’s life colors the songs throughout. “I've been going to therapy for 10 years,” says Jordan. “I used to think that I was destined to be in hard relationships because of the trauma that I had as a kid. I was working through all this stuff and realized I was ready to finally be in a healthy relationship.”

These songs exude the many charms of this Texas band and they debuted several of these cuts on tours with the full band, which includes original drummer Phil Dunne and new bassist Harrison Anderson. However, Ames’ accident wasn’t the only horrific event that plagued the band. In July 2023, on the first day of a south and Midwestern run, their tour van was rear-ended by a speeding car, causing an accident on the highway that culminated with their van, alongside their instruments, merch, and records, becoming engulfed in flames. Thankfully, none of the band members suffered serious injuries. Two days later, Jordan continued out the tour solo with the band joining him a few days later to finish the run. This resilience is essential to Good Looks and why the songs on Lived Here For A While resonate so profoundly.

“Driving to those shows immediately after the crash, I had a lot of time to think and process everything,” says Jordan. “And honestly, what better way to heal than to see people that you love, play music and do what you were put on this earth to do.”

Good Looks
  • to
  • The Bishop
  • $12 adv, $15 dos 18+