Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Inside ‘Trinkets’ by Stock Goblin

The local UMass band releases their most recent album
Dylan Nguyễn

“You treat me like a well-loved dog, but collars make me sick.”

Over a groovy bassline in the second verse of Stock Goblin’s new song “The Tease,” Dylan Waters expresses the feeling of anxious-avoidant attachment.

With a new five-song debut EP “Trinkets,” which hit over 10,000 streams the week it was released, Stock Goblin has been making the most of their final year as a full band at the University of Massachusetts. The band consists of senior Ash Finnegan on keyboard and bass, 2023 graduate Eli Feldman on drums and saxophone, junior David Blair on guitar, 2023 graduate Declan Thomas on guitar and bass and senior Waters taking lead vocals.

“The Tease,” alludes to navigating the complexities of Waters’ most recent breakup. Specifically, not feeling comfortable or safe enough to express himself fully in the relationship. “It’s like wanting to get close to somebody but having this moment of like, panic,” Waters said, a psychology major.

Seeing the members of Stock Goblin laughing together on a small couch inside the Student Union, it’s obvious how comfortable and open the members are around each other. Their songs are written collaboratively, and the wide range of music the band enjoys is reflected in their sound.

“I think we all have good music taste, and we all respect each other’s music taste, and therefore we bring a lot of different things to the table and make one big cocktail,” Blair said, a neuroscience major who is inspired by dance music and “anything with a good bassline and funky guitar.”

Thomas said he loves that the band members have “such a diverse set of inspirations.” He enjoys listening to reggae as well as The Pixies. Feldman, a former mechanical engineering major, added that he gets a lot of his musical inspiration from neo-folk, modern RNB artists like Steve Lacy and Thundercat and recently a lot of Brazilian funk.

“Our Spotify blend goes crazy,” Finnegan said.

Finnegan, a neuroscience major, wrote nearly the entirety of “Joyless” on “Trinkets.” While most of the music she writes is personal to her, she wrote “Joyless” to be a relatable song. She said the song could apply to a bad habit, addiction and other things.

“I wanted to make a more general song for Dylan’s vocals so he could sing it and relate to it, and other people could relate to it,” Finnegan said. Some of her influences for creating “Joyless,” included ADHD, repetitive vicious cycles of not getting anything done and feeling downhearted.

“Joyless” perfectly transitions from “Enjoy,” the first track on “Trinkets.” Feldman explained the 16-second audio clip was taken from one of Stock Goblin’s recent shows.

“We played a show at this venue … the show got incredibly out of hand, and at a certain point before the night ended, one of the people who lived at the house came out and tried to tame the crowd drunkenly,” he said with a smile.

“He fought fire with fire,” Thomas laughed.

Along with mixing the entire EP from his home studio, Thomas helped write a lot of “Lottery Ticket” on “Trinkets.” Alluding to his solo moniker Declan Thomas, he explained how his songs fall under the hip-hop genre, while “Lottery Ticket,” holds a modern swing-inspired indie rock vibe.

“It’s just such a different thing than anything else I’ve done,” he remarked.

Thomas explained that “Lottery Ticket,” is essentially a metaphor for his choice to become “a creative” without generational wealth behind him.

“Like, I know that I’m probably not gonna make it, but this is the only thing I feel like I can do,” he said.

While there are no explicit references to this in the song, Thomas wanted people to picture “some alcoholic boomer who’s just like, buying a bunch of lottery tickets all the time like ‘Oh I’m gonna win the next one!’”

“I’m very proud of all the layers. There’s a very literal way you can take it, and then a very metaphorical way you can take it,” Thomas said.

Waters wrote “Lottery Ticket,” alongside Thomas. Waters explained that he worked in a rehab center for a year during the COVID-19 pandemic and that experience helped him to come up with the character for the song.

“[Thomas] showed me the song and I was like oh, I know this guy!” Waters said.

“Kiss Me Where It Hurts,” was released on all streaming platforms as Stock Goblin’s first single in January. Waters was motivated to create this emotional ballad while talking to someone on Tinder during a very sensitive time.

“I had just had a really traumatic summer, I had a friend who died,” he explained. “There was this weird thing I was noticing where it was almost like an olive branch of vulnerability, but to things that you feel safe expressing to another person … like ‘Hey, I like you and I’m comfortable sharing this information with you.’”

And while he wasn’t that comfortable sharing that information with this person yet, Waters said he felt like they had given him some very personal information and he felt obligated to share.

That’s where Waters said the lyric “we undressed twice before we kissed,” in the song came from. “It’s like, you’re sharing these really vulnerable parts of yourself, and also being physically vulnerable with somebody,” he explained.

Waters also brought up a repeated lyric in the song “Nightshift” by Lucy Dacus: “In five years I hope the songs feel like covers.” Waters said that as he gets further distanced from these experiences he’s had and their attached intense emotions. “It starts to feel like I’m singing about somebody else. It’s a healing thing, you know?”

Stock Goblin bonded more than ever as a band throughout the making of “Trinkets.” Waters vividly remembers the moment when he was listening to the EP after the final mixing, and he got to the final singalong chorus at the end of “The Tease,” the final track on the EP.

“I had this moment where I was like, I get to sing and hang out with some of my best friends and we get to just like, make music and f*** around…it feels like a really warm sendoff to the EP, it was really fun.”

UMass Sophomore Jackson Williams, one of the guitarists of local indie rock band Noddery, says that the members of Stock Goblin are “always so fun, and the music they play reflects that.”

“I can tell they always have a blast when they play live, and they are incredibly cohesive as a band,” he said.

Williams, an environmental science major, explained that Noddery has played many shows with

Stock Goblin, with venues ranging from small basement sets to selling out The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. As Noddery consists of five sophomores at UMass, the band has always looked up to the seniority of Stock Goblin.

“They’ve been playing longer than we have, so they’ve acted as mentors to us in the past,” Williams said. “They keep the environment fun and light-hearted, even when the nerves are high.”

UMass Junior Liam Power, bassist for local rock band The Leadheads, agrees that Stock Goblin has a unique presence in the Western Mass music scene.

“It’s been a hell on an experience getting to know the members of Stock Goblin not only as peers in a music scene together, but also becoming close friends, showing up at each other’s shows, hanging out at parties, and going out for drinks with them,” Powers says. “They’re undoubtedly class act musicians but also one of the kindest, most welcoming group of people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.”

The release of “Trinkets,” has finally made it possible for Stock Goblin to publicize their original songs. With all the love and emotion that was poured into this project,  Waters concludes, the EP “feels like you’re listening to your friends playing in a basement.”

Stock Goblin’s upcoming shows include Local Mojo’s Woodstock Festival on April 18 and Narragansett Springfest on April 27. Stock Goblin can be found on Instagram @stockgoblin for tickets and more information.

Lulu Harding can be reached at [email protected].

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