A couple months back Rachel Goodrich, Miami-born, Los Angeles-based songwriter with Blind Willie McTell, Karen Dalton, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in her musical heart of hearts, changed the surname on her personal Facebook profile to “Hoodrich” and posted a photo of herself mid-strut on a South Beach sidewalk, t-shirt knotted in front to reveal her belly button, face puckered and hair done up in approximation of a typical, sassy ’90s hoochiemama. On Friday, April 20, Goodrich put out her alter ego’s first release, Apple Juice & Whiskey, a 13-track, self-produced, drum-machine-driven romp of supersilly interludes and a handful of songs and songlets that are very different than most of her previous output.
Clocking in at 12 minutes and 29 seconds, Apple Juice & Whiskey passes by at the speed of the scenery during a drunken carnival carousel ride, with a notable slowdown on “Pitch Fork”, a sensual, sentimental song that belies the release’s overarching silliness (as the Grateful Dead shirt “Hoodrich” is wearing on the cover reveals the hoochie’s hippie heart) and is one of the best in Goodrich’s catalog.
Other notable tracks: “Lawyer”, a ukulele-driven ditty about a domineering litigator (“I gotta lawyer, he puts me to bed. He never sleeps at night. I listen to every word he says.”); “Rene”, an incorrigibly catchy hip-hop put-on that features someone named Henri-EttA (who also appears on the preposterous “Ice Cream”); and “Whooly Meets The Salesman”, which joins “Pitch Fork” as the release’s only other proper song and shares its sensuality, pace, and electronic instrumentation, all of which is new for a songwriter who made a name for herself with a ukulele, a kazoo, and a vaudevillian aesthetic.
All in all, Apple Juice & Whiskey is a lot of fun, a fitting soundtrack for a short, windows-down drive with friends (windows up, of course, if you’re hotboxing, which also would be appropriate). But, as the release’s title implies, there is silliness (the apple juice) and there is strength (the whiskey). Make sure you don’t miss the strong stuff as the carousel careens along.
Apple Juice & Whiskey is available for download for 50 cents on Goodrich’s bandcamp, where you can also stream/download her first two albums, Tinker Toys (2008) and Rachel Goodrich (2011).