Ears Wide Open: Liam Gowing


liamgowing-christopheralvarez[Editor’s note: Full disclosure dictates that I cop to having worked at L.A.’s friendly neighborhood newspaper with this artist; in fact, we were given our walking papers the same day in 2008.]

Liam Gowing is not the first music journalist to turn to actually making music, but he quite possibly could have the strangest record collection. Gowing, a former staffer at the Los Angeles Times, an ex-editor at the Onion’s A.V. Club and a onetime contributor to outlets such as SPIN and LA Weekly, spent substantial time in his post-newspaper life battling personal woes: his father died; Gowing himself battled a former of skin cancer. He also spent substantial time writing songs and revisiting some of the instruments he played as a teenage rocker (and learning a few more). His DIY album is the audaciously titled “Drunk Sluts Forever,” sprinkled with biting lyrics about the primpers and poseurs and users and abusers the native Texan has observed during his time in L.A. Stylistically, though, “Drunk Sluts” is more like a mixtape – some nifty pop-soul here, brawny guitar rock there, orchestral interludes, a neo-rap song and a touch of twang. As first albums go, Gowing’s has a mad scientist feel; at least some of his experiments yield ah-hah moments. And he gets bonus points for best use of severance pay.

||| Stream: “So Long (Pine Box)” and “The Perfect Parasite”

||| Live: Liam Gowing and his band (the Family Jewels) celebrate the album release Friday night with a show at the Satellite that also features Teleskopes, Victory and Black Hi-Lighter.

Photo by Christopher Alvarez