Jersey Shore indie rock stalwarts Have a Good Season released their excellent new single “Shoes” yesterday. The group has been kicking around the Garden State for over a decade now, first jamming shortly after the band’s three members graduated middle school, and the track has the self-assuredness of a group who knows one another like the back of their hand. “Shoes” is a song about capturing the memories we have of the freedom of youth, and how it feels like the night will never end when you’re running around as a youngin. It is littered with childhood imagery, from melting ice cream cones to leg bruises matching the ones on your apple. That being said, Nic Palermo, Dan Sakumoto, and Dan Stattner’s time in Have a Good Season is what shepherded these three young men into adulthood in many respects seeing as they’ve been playing together since middle school. In that way the song also feels like an ode to the growing up they did together, the roads the band has traveled, and the many friends they made along the way. The track would have fit in well with their alternative rock leaning 2020 album Shapes I’ve Never Seen more so than the bands’ earlier more math rock leaning sound, as ”Shoes” definitely feels like a step forward from the last record. The song is carried by a massive chorus, among the catchiest and most memorable moments in HAGS’ discography, which I felt from the second I first heard it live. Nic builds up to that soaring chorus singing, “I don’t care if they’re mine, I don’t care if they shine, these shoes always take me where I wanna go and that’s fine.” It is the kinda earworm I was singing back with Nic after the first time I heard the song. You can imagine singing along with your mom on the radio had the track come out two decades ago when it could have been a staple of Q 104.3 or 95.5 WPLJ (before they went Christian). You get the sense the gang knows exactly how gargantuan a hook they have on their hands too as they really embellish the chorus to close out the track, opening it with some “oooh la la las” before closing with a clean ripping guitar solo.
The Have a Good Season lads have grown in their artistry in many respects over the years. They have some of the best poster and album art in the game, guided by lead singer Nic Palermo who put together the single’s gorgeous cover art with the help of Hannah Scarpelli, and they have always had an eye for a great band photo, as evidenced by the above promo photograph and their gorgeous Shapes I’ve Never Seen cover art in front of the mountains of West Virginia. More than anything however Have a Good Season sounds like a band continuing to grow in their understanding of one another as musicians and friends. A decade in these three couldn’t seem to be having more fun, and I couldn’t be more excited for what they have in store around the bend.
Thanks to Luke Ivanovich for the fantastic promo photo used at the top!