It all started with an old Wurlitzer electric piano, sort of. Usually finding himself in the role of guitarist, Austin songwriter Dabney Dwelle was looking for new ways to approach his work after the demise of his previous band Quien ‘es Boom when he decided to lay down his guitar for a time and try his hand at the Wurlitzer. And with those first few shivering notes, the seeds of what would come to be My Golden Calf were firmly planted in his mind.
Rambling alongside Dwelle in this fog of hazy folk-pop and indie rock is keyboardist John Hale, drummer Karl Lundin and bassist Gregg White. With each person bringing a substantial history within Austin’s expansive music scene to the band, it soon became evident that My Golden Calf was more than just a vehicle for Dwelle’s Wurlitzer-inspired experiments – it was a truly collaborative forum for a group of artists to share and test out ideas that had been echoing around in their heads for years.
Filled with eclectic and compelling arrangements, their songs tell persuasive stories of characters and emotions bound together in a whirring atmosphere of pop and rock creativities. Memorable hooks and arena-sized melodies vie for your attention as the music submerges your senses in a wash of gauzy rhythms and early ‘90s rock movements. The band has released two albums – “Rituals to Make New” and “Perfume Brute” – and have recently shared a one-off single called “Flavor Packets,” which finds the band exploring a more dreamlike rock sound which brings to mind artists like Deerhunter and Grizzly Bear.
"’Flavor Packets’ is a peek into the downfall of our society,” Dwelle explains. “Inspired by the two opposing sides of current politics. Ripping the antennae off of your opponent, animal head offerings to the godlike leaders of each side. ‘I won’t waste in these palace walls’ sings the chorus as a possible hope that there’s some way out of the burning garbage we live in. A Godzilla stomping guitar line tromps over a cricket-like synth and lets out deep breaths on the chorus that tries to keep perspective with the oooo’s and aaah’s from the vocal melodies hooks."
The accompanying video, directed by Joe Salinas, takes this idea of messy political proselytizing and shows how people can be profoundly affected by this prevailing negativity. Featuring an Alex Jones-type provocateur, the clips follows an ordinary worker who listens to this radio personality and, driven by the rage their words invoke, develops a superior attitude toward his surroundings. He’s eventually revered by a man who seems to come from a less advanced society, eventually taking advantage of the man’s naivete to further his own selfish aims.
When there’s so much hate and poison in the world, sometimes it’s best just to denounce the evil you see rather than just quietly assuming that everyone else is also aware of it. And this is what the band and the director have done in beautiful fashion, constructing this ethereal fever dream as a warning to those turning a blind eye to the machinations of certain black-hearted individuals and their legions of impressionable listeners.