The Good Life has returned to the road after an eight-year hiatus, but this is no nostalgic reunion tour.
“A lot of the reason we got back together was we had a lot of requests from people to do so,” said Tim Kasher, the band’s founder. “We thought if we did, it would be nice to have a new record.”
Kasher kept busy over those eight years. His other band, Cursive, released two albums in that time, and he released three solo albums.
In the meantime, three of the four band members scattered from their hometown, Omaha, headquarters for their label, Saddle Creek Records. Kasher now lives in Chicago. Bassist Stefanie Drootin-Senseney moved to Los Angeles and started a family. Keyboardist Ryan Fox moved to Portland, where he started a record label. Drummer Roger Lewis remained in Omaha.
As those eight years passed, Kasher said, there was never a notion that the Good Life had called it quits. Rather there was patience, a waiting for the right time to pick things up and get the band going again. That came about a year ago.
So they went into the studio to record “Everybody’s Coming Down,” a collection of 12 songs that represents how the band evolved and changed over those seven years. “Down” is different from the Good Life’s four previous records in several ways, Kasher said. It’s more of a rock record, with some psychedelic rock. It’s steeped in ’90s alternative rock and the sounds of bands like Pavement. But the most significant change is how the songs were built, Kasher said.
“After the album was done and I looked back on the other album, I kind of discovered I was playing more f a songwriter’s role than I realized,” he said. “The older albums were more accompany-based, these great musicians playing my songs. This album is much more a band album. Everybody’s role is stronger and clear. I mean, all albums are, but this one seems much more so.”
“Down” is book-ended by “7 in the Morning” and “Midnight is Upon Us,” two songs that share the same melody, giving the album a vague musical narrative. “Morning,” the opener, is brief, 31 seconds, and leads right into the following track, “Everybody.” “Midnight,” the closer, is a full-length indie-pop song that expands on the music behind “Morning.”
“We’d decided that ‘Midnight’ would be a good closing song, and then I thought it would be cool to open with the same song as well,” Kasher said. “From there, I filled out the album with songs that are loosely laid out to resemble a narrative.”
One of those songs is “The Troubadour’s Green Room,” which takes a shot at songwriters and the music industry.
“It’s kind of an indictment of songwriters,” he said. “What are some of the real reasons people write, not just songwriters but any writer? There are potentially dubious intentions. It’s mostly playful, though, and I’m making fun of myself, too. You start off doing this bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. As you get older, you can get disillusioned and cynical.”
Speaking of older, Kasher is now in his 40s and looking at life a bit differently.
“As far as touring goes, things are different,” he said. “Things are more low-key. We all have different interests, and (Drootin-Senseney ) has a family. But for some of us, nothing has changed. We still run around like children.
“The shows have felt real good. They have kind of a long-time-gone feeling, a real friendly vibe from people who are glad to see us.”
The Good Life is giving those fans more than just new music. It’s also giving them a dose of the past, although to Kasher, those old songs and this tour don’t necessarily give him a warm, nostalgic feeling.
“If you were in high school when we started (2000), maybe now you have a family and children and you’re into your career,” he said. “Your life is significantly different. So the music feels old and nostalgic. But for me, oddly, those albums don’t feel old because of the business I’m in. I’ve been involved with them all along in one facet or another.”
The Good Life performs Friday night at the Riot Room, 4048 Broadway. Big Harp and the Roseline are also on the bill. Show time is 8:30 p.m. Admission is $12.