Let’s Meet: Good Looks

A Bond Stronger Than Steel

Good Looks write kindhearted and cathartic rock songs about the persistence required to make it through hard times. In April 2022, the Austin, Texas quartet released their critically acclaimed debut Bummer Year, which channeled post-2016 frustrations into lyrically generous and biting tracks. Immediately after their triumphant hometown record release show, tragedy struck. Walking outside the venue, lead guitarist Jake Ames was hit by a car crossing the street, fracturing his skull and tailbone. Following a necessary period of healing and processing which found him in the ICU and dealing with short-term memory issues, Ames recovered.

The traumatic accident strengthened their bond, which is evident on their electric new album Lived Here For A While. Out June 7 via Keeled Scales, it’s fearlessly direct music that captures the full-throated intensity of their galvanizing live show.

Born and raised in small Texas towns, the members of Good Looks met and began playing together in Austin.

What would form was Good Looks, a blue-collar political indie-rock band with healthy doses of Replacements swagger and shimmering, desert rock riffs not unlike The War On Drugs


Scroll down for a Q&A with Good Looks!

Q: Can we start by asking a favor of the band? Please stop scaring us! Between guitarist Jake Ames being hit and injured by a driver right after the release of 2022’s Bummer Year, and an awful wreck at the start of last year’s tour, we don’t need any more surprises from Good Looks.

In all seriousness, we love our local musicians and hate seeing them hurt. All of us here are so glad you guys have been able to overcome so many setbacks. Have the hard knocks from the past several years changed the band dynamic at all? Do you find yourselves approaching the creative process any differently?

“This feels like a bland answer, but if it’s changed anything, it’s just made us more resilient.  Everybody is tighter and more locked in on our goal.  It doesn’t really feel like it’s changed the writing or arranging process.  I felt a little robbed after the near death van crash and subsequent fire.  I thought maybe I was going to have some sort of epiphany, but nothing really came. Ha.  Maybe that just means we’re on the correct path.”

Q: Unfortunately, that kind of resilience is often hard-won. How did you learn to keep pushing through, to turn obstacles into opportunities when the odds keep stacking against you? 

“You know, both of the accidents have come with a lot of good. Obviously, we’d prefer for them not to have happened, but there were certainly a lot of silver linings.  After Jake’s accident, watching the Austin music community rally around him in support was so beautiful.  After we lost all of our gear in the van fire, we had a lot of folks lend us stuff, or give us stuff.  Every stop on tour it felt like people were showing up with t-shirst and hats to try and help us replace the stuff we’d lost.”

Q: That unwavering perseverance certainly comes across on the new album, Lived Here For A While. The songs are extremely autobiographical, pulled directly from experiences growing up in a religious household, past relationships, and even personal political beliefs. On the surface, many of these deeply personal stories seem like painful lessons learned, but the music they inspired is anything but painful. Instead, it feels defiant. Not about battles won or lost, but battles ongoing. Do these songs feel optimistic to you? Are we completely misinterpreting where they’re coming from?

“I think that’s how I meant for the songs to land.  The really crazy thing about music and songs, is taking these really terrible things, and making them positive.  You’ll have to forgive me, but a Bright Eyes lyric comes to mind.  “When I press the keys, it all gets reversed, the sounds of loneliness make my happier.”  It’s all about “turning the evil to good”.”

Q: Jake’s guitar plays a big part in that overwhelming sense of confidence. How do you incorporate his playing into the songwriting process? Does he get demos to work with or do you tackle a song together?

“I bring the songs fully written to practice.  You know, all the lyrics and chord progressions are set.  And then we arrange them together.  Although I did have to implement a really strict rule of making Phil and Jake listen to the entirety of the song at least 1 time before they start noodling. Ha.  Then we’ll work on a song together for several practices, make recordings along the way, and take stock of what we’ve got going.  Try to make everything fit.”

Q: In some of your recent interviews, we picked up on a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the Austin music scene, and songs like “Vultures” and “White Out” are a direct response to some of the changes you’ve seen. You even packed up and moved to Lockhart about 45 minutes outside town. Many of us wrestle with the changes we’ve witnessed in Austin over the past few decades, yet here we are, still discovering and championing amazing local artists. Do you think music has become less a part of our collective identity as a city? How do we accommodate the explosive growth we’re experiencing while continuing to lift up the creative community that has traditionally made this such a fun place to live?

I’m not sure I totally have an answer to these questions.  Only to say that KUTX has been one of the best things about Austin for us.  We received so much support from y’all, and it’s made such a difference in our day to day lives.  Hopping in the car and driving somewhere, and hearing your song come on the radio is still the wildest thing.  Brings me so much joy.  I guess to the more structural problems the city has, I think you’ve got to fight gentrification with city policy, but there isn’t a ton of incentive to do that.  It’s gonna be something that folks have to fight for.  I do think small club shows have become less a part of our collective identity.  But realistically, all the other band members live in Austin, we practice in Austin, we play shows in Austin and not Lockhart.  Musically we’re still very much an Austin band.

Q: Are you worried that the slow-drip coffee and fusion BBQ will follow you to Lockhart?

“Every damn day.”  

Good Looks’ album cover for
“Lived Here For A While”

Q: Do you have a favorite Austin music experience?

“I think maybe the most memorable for me personally has been kinda getting to know Britt Daniel from Spoon.  Spoon was one of the main reasons I moved to Austin.  I saw them on Austin City Limits when I was 16 and thought, hell if a band like this can make it in Austin, that’s where I need to move.  They were the most influential band for me as a teenager and into my early twenties.  I definitely put a lot of his singing into my singing style.  So having him show up at our shows and in the DMs, to hanging out a little, has been such a huge full circle moment.  Like,”  OK, I’m accepted, I’m part of this city and this city’s music scene.””

Q: You’ve mentioned Steve Earle is your favorite songwriter. What about his music resonates most with you?

“Steve Earle is such a north star in my songwriting.  He writes simple yet profound songs.  He’s plain spoken but poetic. He writes relationship songs.  He writes about politics through the eyes of the losers, the little guys, and the exploited.  He can rock, he can write ballads.  Just everything you want in a songwriter.  When I grow up I wanna be Steve Earle. Also, such an insane output.  He has put out a ton of really incredible albums.”

Q: Do you have any other creative outlets or is music your primary form of expression?

“You know, for me, this is pretty much it.  I’m a pretty left-brained kinda guy, so this is one of the few realms I feel comfortable being creative.  Otherwise I watch a lot of basketball and listen to records.”

Q: We know Good Looks is about to head out on a big tour this summer, is there anything else you’re working on or excited about that you would like us to know?

“I can’t think of anything, that’s it.  Just the new record and the touring I guess.”


Tyler Jordan – vocals, guitar; Jake Ames – guitar; Harrison Anderson – bass; Phil Dunne – drums


Producer: Deidre Gott; Production Assistant: Confucius Jones; Audio Engineer: Rene Chavez, Rayna Sevilla; Audio Mix: Rene Chavez; Cameras: Ryan Olszewski, Renee Dominguez, Patricia Lim; Edit: Patricia Lim; Host: Laurie Gallardo

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