Influential Album: Toby Goodshank on The Frogs “It’s Only Right and Natural”

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Brooklyn’s Toby Goodshank made his high-profile musical debut playing acoustic guitar in The Moldy Peaches. He has a prolific solo career, recording 14 albums in a five-year span and touring Europe with artists including Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson. Goodshank’s style, while usually centered around his solo guitar and singing abilities, draws from a variety of pop and underground art and musical influences and employs many instrumental textures. Unconventional song structures, humor, innuendo, and wordplay are staples of his music and artwork across the variety of forms they take. He co-founded the 3MB art collective with Adam Green and Macaulay Culkin. He recently toured the U.S. as a support act for Har Mar Superstar and The Pizza Underground.

Not only is Toby Goodshank skilled at Velvet Underground pizza themed covers, but he also released another excellent solo EP earlier this year. Listen below on Soundcloud to Toby Goodshank’s “Baby I Feel Like I Just Got Cut In Half”:

Toby’s influential album: The Frogs – It’s Only Right and Natural 

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“As a student in rural Newtown, Connecticut in the pre-internet stone age, I experienced great difficulty in discovering new and exciting music. I was reliant on a cousin in college with eclectic taste (Lucia introduced me to the sounds of Cibo Matto, Braniac and many more for which I am still grateful), the MTV Buzz Bin (bursting at the seams with videos by Hum, Radiohead and my mid-period Flaming Lips that I love), and mainstream music mag interviews with my rock heroes. In these publications Bill Corgan, Edward Vedder and Kurdtis Cobain rarely saw eye to eye, but all seemed to agree on one thing: that humanity needed to seek out and listen to the music of Milwaukee-based brothers The Frogs. The Frogs played Lollapalooza’s second stage at the insistence of Cobain. Vedder said The Frogs’ music was all that he listened to, describing them as “no-bullshit”. Corgan played with them onstage, for Christ’s sake!

Port Chester NY’s amazing record store Vinyl Solution had one copy of The Frog’s second album It’s Only Right and Natural” (Homestead Records) on tap. I was confused but also excited as the shop owner rang me up and said,

“YOU like to go out on a limb for your musical experiences!”

I was stunned upon first listen. I had been expecting a grunge band of unfathomable talent. The record was like no other. It largely consists of acoustic guitar and drums, with lyrics graphically depicting sex acts and sounding as though they were made up as they went along. Approaching Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch” in its scope, the record’s bountiful references to homosexuality broke and then rebuilt my sheltered teenage brain. I first felt uncomfortable, but continued to play and replay the album. I later came to realize that my feelings of discomfort were unfounded. I played the record for any who would listen. I played it for my father. I asked my guitar teacher to help me learn the songs. This uncompromising musical hilarity was a major stepping stone for me on a life-long path of kindness, learning and understanding.

This and other albums by The Frogs have informed a great deal of the art and music that I have made as an adult. I’m sad that Dennis Flemion has passed on, but feel fortunate to have seen both him and brother Jimmy play together many times, and happy that their music is still available for all to hear!””

/- Toby Goodshank

Check out The Frogs album:

Photo Cred: Shervin Lainez

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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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