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ALBUM REVIEW: “For You, Now” is Winkler’s dreamy debut

Indie-pop/garage-rock oddballs' first album is an electric entrance


If you were looking for something to scratch that dreamy indie rock itch then look no further. Winkler, Boston’s own indie-pop-meets-garage-rock oddballs, have finally released their debut record “For You, Now.” This debut is a labor of love,  perfectly showcasing in just 8 songs the sound Winkler has honed and refined since their founding in 2018. It’s great fun upon every listen and well worth the long wait. 

Album Cover


In keeping with the lo-fi vintage sound of prior Winkler releases, the songs feel layered and lush with the homespun warmth of tape machines and 4 track recorders. The first track, “City Rain,” opens with jaunting piano and then dives right in with killer riffs and soothing backing vocals. It sets the stage for the rest of the record and boasts an extremely catchy earworm chorus. “Nothing But Time (if you want it)” is a nice, mostly acoustic arrangement with sweeping strings and enchanting vocal harmony. 


“Call it Good times” is one of my favorite tracks, featuring a memorable opening guitar line and a shebop shebop doo-wop style chorus. Winkler is excellent at making songs with a familiar and vintage feeling while still adding that fresh and different x-factor that elevates them over just musical nostalgia. 


The use of a mandolin completes the romantic atmosphere of the ballad “Wonderful photography.” “Drunk Surfers” and “JELLYFISH” stand out as clear snapshots of the experimenting and fun they had while recording this record. The warbled guitars and fuzzy edges add texture and depth sonically. Closing the album out is “I Can’t Skate” a relaxing lullaby with layered saxophones that create a dreamy outro.


I sat down with Maddy, Justin, and Ava, as well as their cats Gene, Bug, and Cricket, to talk about the album and their recording process. 


As I learned, recording this album hit some snags along the way. A Laptop with four completed songs on it was stolen during a break-in and the band had to start from scratch on those tracks, with the exception of “Sara and the Moon,” which had scratch tracks of piano, organ, and acoustic guitars recorded on cassette tape. 


That cassette tape was then used as the basic structure of the song while it was re-recorded, although the original versions of “Sara and the Moon” had an accordion and “City Rain” had a trumpet. Overall, though, the band agreed that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing after all because the redone versions of those same tracks turned out much better than the earlier versions. 


The band had the most fun recording “Call it Good Times,” as they got to leave their home studio for a change of scenery and really buckle down on the recording. The band did a few practice runs before actually recording, but found that they preferred those first couple of practice takes over everything else due to their garage rockiness. 


Many of the tracks were initially recorded by the band live in their recording room and built out from there. The songs themselves came into the studio mostly completed with some brainstorming sessions on how to round them out or scale back the number of verses and choose the best ones. 


Justin thanked Alex Judd, a friend of the band, for helping them detangle the multiple tracks of guitar and other instruments and generally for helping finish the album and accomplish the overall sonic vision for the finished product.


When asked if these songs mean we’re entering a new era of Winkler, Justin said, “we’re just trying to catch up with ourselves right now.”


“We’re in our folk rock moment,” added Maddy.


The band said the next project will likely be more bombastic while they pantomimed playing the drums and bobbing their heads to the beat. So keep your eyes peeled for whatever Winkler cooks up next as it’s sure to rock all of our socks off.


“For You, Now,” releases on Feb 17th and will be played live in full at the sold-out album release party at the Lilypad in Cambridge. Winkler will then be going on a short tour, stopping at Fieldy’s in Philly, The Milky Mansion in New Brunswick, and Arlene’s Grocery in Manhattan. The next Boston show will be on March 10th at the Cantab Lounge, so try and catch them then if you’re bummed about missing the album release on the 17th. And in April they will hit the road again for another tour of New England and parts of NY. 


If you want to support Winkler there will be new merch put up on their Bandcamp page. Everything from shirts, tote bags, posters, buttons, and much much more. And make sure to check them out on Instagram as well for regular updates on the band. 

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