Gordon Goldsmith’s musical career has played out in the typical singer songwriter manner. It begins in Burlington, VT where he plays as part of an acoustic duo. After a time he moves out to the singer songwriter capital of the world, Portland Oregon to begin his solo career, playing as many solo acoustic shows as he can book. Soon he haphazardly records his first solo record alone in his bedroom using a handheld Boss, later uploading it onto his father’s Mac, after his father has gone to bed. The album wins an independent music accolade. Eventually Goldsmith moves back to Vermont and rents a large one room unheated studio known as the “Boom Box,” where he writes and records his latest disc, the four song EP Haypenny Hashcandy.
Haypenny Hashcandy opens with the bluesy lo-fi slow jam, “Do You Want to Be (My Baby),” With dueling guitar lines, one of which sounds like it’s trapped beneath a sheet of ice, and the other, playing a blues scale solo while hollow drums hangout in the background. Meanwhile Goldsmiths flighty and falsetto repeats the songs title like a mantra.
The seven minute long “This is Not the Way You Want It to Be” plays out like a Yo La Tengo B-side, the way it lingers on through it’s ever expanding psychedelic landscape, continuing to move on its own all around like a plastic bag being blown around in the wind.
“Sleeping in the City” is definitely the sleeper hit of this record. It showcases where Goldsmith’s strengths lie, which are in writing sparse acoustic songs about downtrodden characters he has encountered at the very bottom and also about the times he himself has felt defeated.
Many independently recorded EP’s generally turn out to be a mixed bag, and the four songs on Haypenny Hashcandy are no different. Ranging from psychedelic blues rock, to ethereal dream pop, to mellow acoustic sadness. That’s not to say that Haypenny Hashcandy is by any means a bad record. I would argue that all the songs are very solid for what they are. It’s just that they’re also so across the map that it’s hard to land a proper fan base that isn’t simply cherry picking songs to like. And although I myself am the last person who would want to be pigeonholed, I will admit that an albums coherency goes a long way for an artist.
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