Richie Follin of Guards (also of CRX) is currently hunkered down in his Los Angeles home with his four-year-old daughter. When he isn’t keeping her occupied, he’s working to finish a record and launch a new body of work. The other half of Guards is NYC-based Loren Humphrey, who has played with Florence and the Machine, Tame Impala, and Arctic Monkeys.
“So It Goes,” is the duo’s latest piece of psychedelic alt rock. It was completed in quarantine and will precede the band’s upcoming record. Kurt Vonnegut fans may recognize the phrase “So It Goes” from the conclusion of most chapters in his novel Slaughterhouse Five. Follin, a new Vonnegut fan, recently started googling Vonnegut's lectures. “He does lectures on story structure and how basically things don’t have to make sense because life doesn’t make sense,” says Follin. “The moral structure of stories a lot of times just doesn’t make sense, also with the atrocities going on in the world. I guess that kind of informed the lyrics indirectly.”
While “So It Goes” is not explicitly about coronavirus and the ongoing fight for racial justice, Follin acknowledges their impact on him and implicit influence on his songwriting. In our bizarre and uncertain present, it is challenging to even know how to react. “There’s no guidebook,” says Follin. “You ask people and it seems like everybody has a different opinion as to what you should be doing.” The track has a distinctly psychedelic 60’s vibe with a synth-coated electronic update. Bongos punctuate the smooth organ-like synths and Follin’s flowing echoing vocal. At just under three minutes, the song is short and sweet, but also vast and nonsensical in its sound.
Incidentally, a similar climate of civil unrest and revolution birthed Follin’s favorite era in music - the late 1960s. “It seems like these things whether you want them to go hand in hand, they do a lot of the time,” he says of art and political turmoil. His favorite year in music is 1968, the year of a lot of timeless bands debut records, and a surge of heavier rock like the Stooges.