Ethan Gold

California-born indie-alternative songwriter and composer Ethan Gold’s latest album is the first part of his Earth City trilogy, a collection of songs about the spiritual state of our world, created during his long recovery from a head injury. 

Ethan Gold grew up in San Francisco in the long hangover of the hippie era, the son of the “oldest living beatnik” novelist Herbert Gold, and raised with his siblings by his single mother Melissa Dilworth, a WASP child of the East Coast. A chaotic childhood was dramatically punctuated by the helicopter crash which killed his mother and her boyfriend, the iconic rock impresario Bill Graham. 

Gold settled in Los Angeles, where he produced albums such as Elvis Perkins’ debut Ash Wednesday and played multiple instruments in various bands, including bass for downtown New York comedic folk act The Honey Brothers which featured Gold’s brother Ari on ukulele and Entourage actor Adrian Grenier on drums. Gold’s deeply personal debut album Songs From A Toxic Apartment garnered praise from Pitchfork, the Sunday Times London, and across the blogosphere. While working on a second film feature film score and on a follow-up album, Gold fell off a wall at a Halloween warehouse party in Brooklyn, sustaining an injury which would stop his performing for several years. 

During his long recovery, he continued composing film music, songs, and poems which he performed in the burgeoning poetry scene of the east side of Los Angeles. (Gold’s poetry has been published in Tablet, Telephone, and elsewhere.) Gold completed film scores for Don’t Let Go (Blumhouse/Universal) and his brother Ari’s second feature film The Song of Sway Lake. Having combined original songs and score to comic effect in his brother’s debut Adventures of Power, Gold is specially skilled at creating original songs that blend seamlessly into the settings of the films he scores. The Song of Sway Lake features John Grant and The Staves singing Gold’s title song, produced as if it were a jazz standard from the 1940s. Adding to his varied creative output during his time away from stages, Gold also released a highly praised primitive synthesizer album Expanses (Teenage Synthstrumentals) and the covers album Live Undead Bedroom Closet Covers. 

Gold is an artist that doesn’t fit in easy categories, except for an earnestness, intelligence, and sweet kind of darkness that runs through much of his work. There is the feeling of the lullaby, with a mysterious but accessible quality you’ll hear in a lot of it, unsurprisingly as Gold writes much of his music while dreaming. He’s been compared frequently with the more raw of the classic songwriters John Lennon, Lou Reed and Syd Barrett, as well as with composers like Hans Zimmer and Vangelis. Like many of us, he’s fought his way past demons, yearning for something divine. Gold puts all sides of this journey into his art. 

Gold has recently relocated to Europe where he’s begun performing again, alone and with accompanying musicians, beginning with an on-air performance on RadioEins in Berlin. Whereas Earth City 1: the Longing was a contemplative and lonely album as the title suggests, Earth City 2, to be released later in 2023, will be a more collective album, about the allure of the night. He’s begun introducing some of these songs in private shows in Berlin, and will be playing in England and Belgium in the spring of 2023 in anticipation of the next album release later this year.

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