12 Breakthrough Austin Bands at SXSW Music
Late Sixties pop with a surprising bite
Acey Monaro has a noble goal.
"I wanna marry Townes Van Zandt and the Bangles," drawls the Go Fever vocalist/guitarist in her thick Australian accent, laughing. "I'm still figuring out how that works."
The product of a musical family in the coal-mining town of Maitland, Monaro moved to Austin to marry Go Fever bassist Benjamin Burdick in 2013. Her first local performance, solo at Hole in the Wall, rounded up both Sweet Spirit's Josh Merry and producer Danny Reisch in the audience. The former became Go Fever's drummer, and the latter produced the resulting album.
Given that Monaro's presence both on- and offstage reveals a rare and unflinching openness, neither occurrence is surprising. Once Go Fever rounded out with Keith Lough on guitar, the group's debut record dropped in February 2017 – less than a year after Monaro formed her first band. Go Fever bubbles late-Sixties pop atop Monaro's smoky, expansive voice.
"The thing is, we only played a handful of shows before we put that record out, so we released that record to fucking nobody," asserts Monaro. "We released that to our mates, really."
The band made up for lost time by playing out nonstop. Storytelling remains Monaro's core appeal, her clever lyrics sharply observant and self-deprecating. The singer's meticulous craft strikes a cerebral fissure straight down the middle of her earworm compositions, a surprising bite delivered in candy coating.
"I love a good narrative," she says. "I'm also obsessed with the idea of not using phrases that have been used before. Sometimes I write down just a couplet or two words or a line in my phone, then I'll Google them all and if it's been used before I won't put it in the song.
"I've been trying to consciously write less hooky songs straight off the bat. I don't wanna do that anymore. I feel like it's cheap. I want it to be less accessible."