Good Sport is on the Rise
West Virginia natives find a spontaneous sound in a new Pittsburgh band.
Photo Illustration by Geoff Hoskinson
There’s a hazy bounce to the opening track of Good Sport’s debut EP And Now We Are Talking. A song titled “Going Steady,” it slowly builds with an intentionally lagged a capella until a moment when the voices fade, and the song’s core, synth-driven rhythm arrives and assumes control. The tired, hypnotic vocals linger, dragging along with a hushed pull to cement the track’s identity as a pop song high on cough syrup. It’s this song that’s most memorable, but it works to the EPs’ advantage—providing a clear image and a nice sample of the lazy, fatigued pop music Good Sport wants to make. And those adjectives mean no malice.
While based in Pittsburgh, the members of Good Sport come from a wide and varied collection of West Virginia bands. Such prominent Morgantown acts as Librarians, Big Ass Manatee, The Emergency, David Bello and His God-Given Right, FOX Japan, and many other groups have housed the likes of Good Sport’s Ryan Hizer, Aaron Crothers, Pete Wilmoth, Dave Klug, and Anthony Fabbricatore. Their stories are long and possibly exhausting to explain, but have come together to make a fresh new sound for the region.
Most of the Good Sport EP was written by Ryan, considered the band’s mastermind. According to him, it didn’t take much time, at least compared to the amount of effort he used to put into Librarians records. “We did a lot of demo-ing in Librarians, but the idea with Good Sport was to let the demo be the final product,” says Ryan. It was a decision made partially out of laziness, but Ryan feels the energy and spontaneity evaporates when the writing process works through several iterations. Smashing the writing and recording processes together, he avoided that. “What wound up on the record hadn’t had that extended gestation period,” Ryan says. “I really like it that way.”
Despite a lack of physical copies, And Now We Are Talking has made the digital rounds and done quite well. Good Sport’s Bandcamp page, along with a whole mess of e-mails, acted as the backbone of the promotion effort, and the band feels it’s made somewhat of a mark already. Anthony previously said in an interview that even kids in Sweden were putting Good Sport on their end-of-the-year playlists.
Ryan and the rest of Good Sport are excited about the possibility in Pittsburgh. “We haven’t played enough shows with this band yet to feel super confident in front of a bunch of people we don’t know,” Ryan says. “That kind of safety net is a rare luxury that 123 (Pleasant Street in Morgantown) afforded us. We’re not going to get to use our training wheels next time, so for me there’s more pressure to make sure the live stuff is as fully developed as possible before we put ourselves out there.”