A lifelong multi-instrumentalist musician and occasional session player, Dallas-born LA resident Liam Gowing put his first love on the backburner for most of the last decade as he concentrated on a career in journalism, working variously for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, the A.V. Club, SPIN, Filter, Paste, Flavorpill and the NME. But after the death of his father in late 2009, he returned to writing and recording music with renewed fervor, tackling dainty subjects like life, death, addiction, suicide, betrayal, American nationalism—and his favorite T-shirts—with a heavy dose of black humor. The resulting album Drunk Sluts Forever, a mostly DIY project co-engineered by 1000 Clowns alumnus Jerry “Mr.” Pao, collects 10 of his recent compositions.
Released Nov. 5, 2013 on the homespun imprint MojoSon Music, the record features just Gowing on meticulously layered vocals and an extensive array of instruments—guitar, bass, piano, drums, harmonica, recorder and percussion as well as (through the magic of a MIDI keyboard) organ, synth, electric piano, vibraphone, steelpan, strings, horns and woodwinds—along with a smattering of public domain sound effects and percussion loops. The result is an eclectic assemblage of aggressive melodic pop encrusted with chunks of stoner rock, psychedelic funk, surrealist disco and electronica plus a Gothic-cum-sci-fi Western instrumental, two or three classical interludes, a hip-hop influenced funeral march and even a quasi-country tune complete with a Bluegrass guitar solo.
After completing his mixes for Drunk Sluts Forever, Gowing’s chosen interlocutor and fellow UCLA grad Bill O’Neil was so stoked on the record that he demanded they put a band together to play it out. He then helped assemble a core group of longtime musical collaborators to do so, including himself on guitar, Ali Sagheb on bass and Eric Allgood—best known for his mid-aughts work with soul-infused garage rockers the BellRays—on drums. The resulting band, the Family Jewels, wouldn’t be complete without “the Lady Larynxes”—Audrey Tess Casey and Michelle Anne Johnson—on harmonies (there are a LOT) and backing vocals.