PREMIERE: Stream Mister Goblin’s Debut LP “Is Path Warm?” in Full
Two Inch Astronaut’s Sam Woodring gives the play-by-play on his new solo LP, out this Friday via Exploding in Sound.
For those still ruing the dissolution of Maryland post-hardcore trio Two Inch Astronaut, fret not—frontman Sam Woodring officially launched his solo career as Mister Goblin last year with the acoustic-heavy Final Boy EP, and is now following up the project with his first full-length, Is Path Warm? With electric guitar dominating the album’s eight tracks, IPW? feels like a slight pivot to angst-drained Midwest emo, sounding more in the vein of Topshelf Records than the post-hardcore tradition of Exploding in Sound.
Before its Friday release, Woodring is offering up an early stream of the LP, complete with commentary on each track, talking through references to creepy dog worship, cool gym teachers with cooler names, and everyone’s favorite Halloween, not to mention the joys of working with Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis and producer J. Robbins. Listen through and read along below.
Is Path Warm? is out November 22 via Exploding in Sound. You can pre-order it here.
This song was inspired by the very true story of my ninth grade health class. The moment we came in, Mrs. Wonderful (real name) made us all swear an oath never to commit suicide. There is lots of research to suggest that “contracting” is an ineffective means of preventing self-harm, and unfortunately there were people in my school and probably in that class who did hurt themselves, but people loved her and it was such a strange and disarming thing that I’d like to believe it did some good anyway.
2. “Calendar Dogs”
This song is about the dark side of dog worship. I love dogs, and maybe I’m just jealous that I’m not at a point in my life where I could afford to take care of one, but some of you all just take the shit too far. When we went in to record it, Sadie [Dupuis] wanted to throw a last minute harmony on the chorus, and said, “This is probably way too obvious” before going in to track it. [producer J. Robbins] and I certainly didn’t think so—as you can probably hear, it really makes what would have otherwise been a goon hook into a goblin hook.
3. “No Crime Here”
This is probably the most Two Inch Astronaut–esque song on the record, with the stabby guitar stuff and the wannabe hip-hop feel. Lyrically, it’s sort of belaboring the whole question of whether it’s OK or possible to separate the art from the artist, and examining all the larger trends that have stemmed from that conversation. I don’t claim to have any answers, commentary, or hot takes, but like most of my songs it is an attempt to understand the different perspectives more fully.
4. “Between You and Me”
This is a very old song, and a few preceding versions of it exist somewhere out there in the ether. I’ve always thought it was a nice little tune, and I was finally able to write some lyrics that felt right with it, and seemed to fit thematically with the rest of the album. It’s about how there’s an inherent distance between people and a limit to how thoroughly you can understand someone—whether that’s extremely obvious from the jump or maybe you only uncover that after knowing a person closely for many years.
5. “Any Other Gun”
Musically, this is my favorite song on the album. The most fun part of making a “solo” album was having other people come in and do dope shit, and then having it all attributed to me by virtue of it being a “solo” record. Matt and Kjell both did some excellent ornamental piano and guitar stuff, and having no idea in advance what they were going to do, I got to experience it in real time which was a huge thrill. I wanted to write a song where I personified a gun to make some kind of commentary on our relationship to objects, and then I heard “Gun” by Emiliana Torrini and realized that she had done that shit already but way better. Oh well.
6. “Fix Your Face”
This one is just a plain old love song, and I think it might be my favorite thing on the album. I’m always trying to simplify and not get so caught up in tinkering with shit, and at least here I feel like I succeeded. The song also references Halloween III: Season of the Witch (widely considered to be the worst movie in the series) and every time I’ve played it live so far someone has remarked on that—which is extremely nerdy, but as a horror nerd myself, I felt very “seen” in these instances.
7. “The Forgettery”
Once again, I feel like Sadie’s vocals really make this song. It’s based on a hypothetical children’s book that my partner and I will someday hopefully write. In the studio, J and Sadie would clown me by isolating the very last line of the song and playing it over and over. I tried to tell them that the studio was a No Bully Zone, but they weren’t hearing it. That being said, I 100 percent encourage any and everybody to go record with J Robbins at the Magpie Cage, bully thought he may be.
“SFYL” stands for “Sorry For Your Loss” and is apparently a real acronym employed by internet users who want to express sympathy without using more than four letters. It’s about the evolution of grief in tandem with technology. This was another one that Kjell blessed with some guitar stuff, and I really lost my shit the first time I heard it because I thought it sounded so good.