Tag: The Growlers

New Video: Watch Acclaimed Indie Rock Act Night Beats Take on The Sonics

Deriving its name from Sam Cooke’s Night Beat album, the Seattle, WA-based psych rock/garage rock act Night Beats was formed by its Dallas, TX-born, Seattle, WA-based founding member and creative mastermind Danny “Lee Blackwell” Rajan Billingsley back in 2009 when Billingsley relocated to Seattle to study comparative religion at the University of Washington. That same year, Billingsley self-recorded the Night Beats debut EP, Street (Atomic), which was released through Holy Twist Records. 

After trying out a couple of different lineups, Billingsley recruited his high school friend and former B.B. Mercy drummer James Traeger to join the band. Traeger relocated from Austin, TX, where he was studying at the time to join Billingsley. The band played for a while as a duo before recruiting Tacoma, WA-born Tarek Wegner (bass), who once played with The Drug Purse and Paris Spleen to join the band. Early in their history, the band toured across North America extensively — and within weeks of releasing the H-Bomb EP the band was signed by Chicago-based label Trouble in Mind Records, who re-released the album in the fall of 2010. The re-released EP wound up topping several college radio while helping the band develop a reputation for a sound that incorporates elements of early R&B, psych rock, blues rock, funk and soul. (Unsurprisingly, the band has toured with the likes of The Black Angels, Roky Erickson, The Zombies, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Strange Boys, Black Lips, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Growlers.) 

The following year, the band released a split EP with The UFO Club through Austin-based label The Reverberation Appreciation Society, which they followed up with their self-titled debut album. They also released a 2012 split single with TRMRS, which was released through Volcom Vinyl Club. 2013 saw the release of their sophomore album Sonic Bloom through The Reverberation Appreciation Society. The band supported the album with touring across North America, Europe, Israel, South Africa and Australia. 

2014 saw the band go through the first of a series of lineup changes. Tarek Wegner left the band and eventually released an EP What Colors Last, as well as a full-length effort Soul Fuckers, which was supported by a West Coast tour with Tomorrow’s Tulips. Meanwhile, Night Beats signed to London-based label Heavenly Recordings, who released the band’s acclaimed Robert Levon Been co-produced third album Who Sold My Generation in 2016. The album also featured Been, who’s best known for his work with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club contributing bass. Jakob Bowden was recruited to tour in support of the album. 

The last half of 2016 saw the band go on an UK and European Union tour without James Traeger. Throughout 2017, Evan Synder toured with the band. During a 2018 US tour opening for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Jonah Swilley sat in on drums with the band. Last May saw the band touring Spain with Evan Synder playing drums. Bowden wasn’t with the band either. 

This year has been a rather busy year for Billingsley. Night Beats’ Dan Auerbach-produced Myth Of A Man was released in January — and the album found the band’s founder playing with a backing band of session musicians, who had worked with the likes of Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. Perhaps as a way of explaining Traeger’s and Bowden’s absence from the album, the official press release simply said that the album was “written during a particularly destructive period of the band.” Additionally, Billingsley along with an all-star backing cast featuring The Mystery Lights’ Mike Brandon, Black Lips’ Cole Alexander and Warbly Jets’ Julien O’neil recorded and released a Record Store Day album, Night Beats Perform The Sonics’ Boom, an exact track-by-track over of The Sonics classic (and beloved) 1966 album Boom. 

Night Beats Perform The Sonics’ Boom finds Billingsley and an indie rock All-Star backing band treading a line between faithful cover meant to keep the legacy of The Sonics’ classic album alive for contemporary listeners while imbuing the material with a fuzzy  and soulful take. Album single “Let The Good Times Roll” manages to sound almost like it were released sometime between 1966-1968 but with a gritty, mod rock vibe reminiscent of The Who Sings My Generation-era The Who. 

Directed, shot, and edited by James Oswald on what looks like grainy Super 8mm film, the recently released video follows Billingsley and his backing band on tour, split between the yellow and white lines of endless blacktop, the band playing sweaty and passionate  shows in front of rapturous fans, and intimate backstage footage featuring the band getting themselves together before playing. As someone, who has covered and seen thousands of shows, the video captures the spirit and soul of a show in a way that feels warmly familiar. 

   

New Video: Acclaimed Swiss Electro Duo Klaus Johann Grobe Releases Surreal and Feverish Visuals for Dance Floor Friendly Track “Out of Reach”

With the release of their Basel Prize-winning album Spagat der Liebe, the Swiss electro pop duo Klaus Johann Grobe, comprised of Sevi Landolt and Dani Bachmann quickly received national and international attention for a difficult to pigeonhole, genre-defying sound that meshes elements of electro pop, electronic dance music, komische and others while centered around slinky jazz fusion-like grooves. Adding to a growing profile, the duo with their live backing band have toured with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growlers and Temples, and have made festival stops in the US, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain and their native Switzerland.

Last month, I wrote about the acclaimed Swiss duo, and as you may recall “Discodanken,” off the duo’s soon-to-be released album Bist So Symmetrisch managed to reveal a duo that’s expanded upon the sound that has won them national and international attention, as the song was a breezy arpeggiated synth-led track centered around a sinuous motorik groove and metronomic beats to create a hypnotic, dance floor friendly yet lysergic feel that brings to mind Vinyl Williams, Kraftwerk, Air, and Phoenix — with a retro-futuristic quality. Interestingly, Bist So Symmetrisch’s latest single “Out of Reach” may arguably be the album’s most dance floor friendly tracks, as its centered around a Kraftwerk-like motorik groove, a sinuous, disco-inspired bass line, arpeggiated synths and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the song manages to sound as though it were drawing from De Lux’s Scion AV Presents De Lux EP and Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk. 

Directed by  Ralph Kuehne and starring Patric Gehrig, Remo Seeland, Elvio Yair Avila Kai tha Boy, Regula Bühler and Kathrin Brun, the recently released video is a vividly surreal and feverish dream. 

New Audio: Introducing the Breezy Synth Funk of Switzerland’s Klaus Johan Grobe

With the release of their Basel Prize-winning Spagat der Liebe, the Swiss electro pop duo Klaus Johann Grobe, comprised of Sevi Landolt and Dani Bachmann quickly received national and international attention for a difficult to pigeonhole, genre-defying sound that meshes elements of electro pop, electronic dance music, komische and others while centered around slinky jazz fusion-like grooves. Adding to a growing profile, the duo with their live backing band have toured with Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Growers and Temples, and have made festival stops in the US, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain and their native Switzerland. 

Interestingly, the Swiss duo’s forthcoming album Du Bist So Symmetrisch is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through  Chicago-based Trouble in Mind Records — and the album reportedly continues in a similar vein as its predecessor. The album’s second and latest single “Discodanken” is a breezy arpeggiated synth-led track centered around a sinuous motorik groove and metronomic beats to create a hypnotic, dance floor friendly yet lysergic feel that brings to mind Vinyl Williams, Kraftwerk, Air and Phoenix; but with a retro-futuristic quality. 

The recently released video by Jonas Baumann is equally retro-futuristic, featuring visuals that remind me quite a bit of the classic computer animated video for Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” but while also appearing like cells growing and attacking it other. 

New Video: Introducing the Garage Rock Sounds of Up-and-Coming Californian Act Clean Spill

Comprised of Pat Curren (vocals, guitar), Charlie Fawcett (drums), Cameron Crabtree (guitar) and Geoff Shea (bass), the Santa Monica, CA-based indie rock quintet Clean Spill can take their origins to when Curren met Fawcett when they were ten year olds participating in a local surfing competition. Curren met Crabree while in high school and Shea, was a local barber, who was into the same music as the rest of the band’s members. As Crabtree recalls, “I decided to get a haircut from him and talk to him over the haircut about [playing with us]. If he would have farmed the haircut, we wouldn’t have given him the position. But it was a great haircut, so it worked out.”

Back in 2014 Fawcett leveraged some connections at surf company Hurley to assist the members of the band with studio time to record an album worth of demos that they dubbed Dear, Anger — and interestingly enough, what was initially meant to be a jam session quickly became their first professionally engineered and mixed EP, 2015’s XO, an effort that found the band’s sound and aesthetic centered around surfing and boogie boarding culture; however, as they played more shows, including playing with Kitten and touring France with Betty the Shark, which featured Curren’s half sister, the up-and-coming band discovered themselves, while realizing a desire to push their sound and approach towards the garage rock-inspired sounds of early period The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, as well as The Growlers and The Allah Las. Simultaneously, the band was picking up lessons and advice from their tour mates abut the gear they needed to make the sound they wanted, as well as the hustle they needed to make a name for themselves. “All these artists were so hard working, knew exactly what it took for sound,” Crabtree explains in press notes. “We didn’t really know much about music gear in general. We’ve played with such a wide variety of bands, we gained such a unique perspective on fans of music, too, in that it was very rewarding to see that people still liked rock music in general.”

After collaborating with a series of different producers, their manager hooked them up with producer Hanni El Khatib. And as the story goes, back in 2016, the members of the band entered Jonny Bell’s Jazzcats Studio with the intention of recording a new single, and were instantly taken by the amount and variety of vintage gear in the studio. Experimenting with gear they never dreamt of using, and guided by El Khatib and Bell. the band began refining and honing the sound that they felt they were mean tot have. “Hanni’s style has a lot of radical, outrageous noise,” Pat Curren says in press notes. “We went a little bit down that way.” Throughout the recording sessions, the band wanted their recorded sound to hew close to their live sound, so they recorded the material live to tape, which gives the material a “you-are-there-in-the-room” immediacy. The end result became their soon-to-be-released EP Nothing’s on My Mind, an effort that features “Rolling,” a song that Curren and Crabtree wrote several years before — with a slightly different, more upbeat arrangement centered around shimmering guitar chords and a propulsive backbeat; but ironically, the song’s emotional center is the heartbreak over the confusing and bitter ending of a romantic relationship. Sonically, the song manages to be anachronistic — it’s indebted to the 60s, the 00s and this decade simultaneously, and in a way that brings Raccoon Fighter and others to mind.

Once they finished the EP, the band began to tour to support it until Shea broke his arm, which slowed down the momentum they had built up and without a record and a tour, they were in a hiatus; however, they decided to take control of their own destiny and they will be self-releasing the EP two years after its completion. “I think this will actually be the start of us hustling,” Crabtree says, noting the band has written multiple albums worth of music in the downtime. “Because we went through all that, we learned so much. Once this comes out we’re going to be on fire. Recording, shows — everything.”

The recently released video follows a young, extremely Californian couple that features the band’s frontman in a series of flashbacks — first when they’re adorable and through a series of bitter fighting, with footage of the band performing the song in a prototypical Californian background split the band brooding and goofing off throughout, creating a fitting balance between the heartache and breezy vibes within the song. 

Currently comprised of the band’s founding duo Julian Ducatenzeiler (vocals, guitar) and Tony Malacara (bass), along with newest members  Shane Stotsenberg (guitar), Cameron Gartung (drums) and Ignacio Gonzalez (organs), the Los Angeles-based garage rock/psych rock act Mystic Braves can trace their origins to when Ducantenzeiler and Malacara formed the band in San Diego in 2011. Since then the band has gone through a series of lineup changes but their current lineup was solidified in 2013 when Ducantenzeiler and Malacara relocated to Los Angeles, where they recruited Stotsenberg and Gartung. As a quartet featuring Ducatenzeiler, Malacara, Stotsenberg and Gartung, the band had begun writing material and touring while searching for a full-time organist  when they found Gonzalez.

Mystic Braves’ fourth album, The Great Unknown is slated for an August 17, 2018 release through Lolipop Records, and the soon-to-be released album found the band recruiting Kyle Mullarky, who has worked with The Growlers and The Allah-Las. The band spent a week at Mullarky’s Topanga Canyon, CA studio exploring new sounds and approaches and cutting demos, and as the band’s Julian Ducatenzelier says in press notes, “We just wanted to work with him to help shape the songs creatively, but he ended up being so great to work with that we just stuck with him.”

After recording somewhere between 30-40 demos at Mullarky’s studio, the band returned to their hometown, holing up in Lolipop Records‘ new office/studio/living quarters in the Boyle Heights section to record the final versions of the songs that would comprise The Great Escape. “We spent three days a week at Lolipop for about a month and a half, all living together, writing, recording, grilling, drinking too much tequila and coffee,” Ducatenzelier recalls. “We decided to get a little experimental—some of the songs came out sort of country and some were super funky, almost like James Brown.”

Sonically, the material channels The Seeds, The Zombies, The Kinks and others — but while earnestly maintaining a unique sense of individuality, which Ducatenzelier attributes to the album’s deeply personal nature. “A lot of this record comes from a breakup,” he explains. “It deals with the end of past relationships, with knowing that things should end, and figuring out how to cope with the loss.”

The album’s latest single “Under Control” is a shimmering bit of lysergic-tinged bubblegum pop centered around some timeless rock ‘n’ roll tropes: the inevitable end of a romantic relationship, the desperate attempt to move forward as time passes by, the acknowledgement that many things in life are unresolved and unfulfilled — and of life’s fleeting nature. Of course, the song naturally has the band balancing between a swaggering and hook-laden arrangement reminiscent of The CastawaysLiar Liar” with an earnest and familiar heartache.

The members of Mystic Braves are currently touring across Europe to support their new album, which they’ll follow up with al lengthy US tour throughout the fall that includes a September 15, 2018 stop at Rough Trade. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates 
August 6 – Molotow – Hamburg, Germany
August 7 – Bestpol – Dresden, Germany
August 9 – Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 10 – Borderline – London, UK
August 11 – Bodega – Nottingham, UK
August 12 – Buddha Blood – Brighton, UK
August 17 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA
August 18 – Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA
August 22 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
August 23 – Wayfarer – Costa Mesa, CA
August 25 – Pappy & Harriets – Pioneertown, CA
August 29 – Harlow’s – Sacramento, CA
August 31 – The Chapel – San Francisco, CA
September 1 – The Loving Cup – Reno, NV
September 7 – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
September 8 – The Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
September 13 – BSP – Kingston, NY
September 15 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
September 17 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
September 21 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
September 22 – DC9 – Washington D.C.
September 26 – White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
September 27 – Dada Dallas – Dallas, TX
September 28 – Mohawk – Austin, TX
September 29 – Paper Tiger – San Antonio, TX
September 30 – Ethos Live – Laredo, TX
October 3 – Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX
October 4 – Cans – Tucson, AZ
October 5 – Taos Mesa Brewing – Taos, NM
October 6 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO
October 7 – Surfside 7 – Fort Collins, CO
October 9 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
October 10 – Neurolux – Boise, ID
October 12 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
October 13 – Astoria – Vancouver, Canada
October 14 – Sunset Tavern – Seattle, WA

Earlier this month, I caught the Brooklyn-based alt rock duo Deaf Poets play on a bill featuring Chicago-based post-punk act Ganser and the Brooklyn-based New Wave act Winkie at Saint Vitus, and as you may recall, the up-and-coming rock duo, comprised of Miami Beach, FL-born, New York-based duo of Sean Wouters (vocals, guitar) and Nico Espinosa (vocals, percussion) can trace their origins to when they met in elementary school. During high school, Wouters and Espinosa went through a long process of musical experimentation, which ultimately led to their founding of Deaf Poets — and since their formation, the Miami Beach-born, New York-based duo have received attention for a sound that effortlessly meshes elements of 70s rock with 80s punk and 90s grunge.

While in their hometown, the duo cemented a place in South Florida’s indie scene, playing some of the area’s best known venues, including Churchill’sBardotGramps and Grand Central, ultimately being named “Best Band of Miami” in 2014 and one of the “20 Most Influential People of Miami” in 2015 by The Miami New Times. Adding to a growing profile, “Degenerate Mind” off their debut album 4150 was part of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 video game soundtrack and was featured as part of Classic Rock Magazine‘s 2014 compilation CD. Along with that, the duo became a regular presence at iiiPoints Festival, where they played four consecutive years on bills that have included Mac DeMarco and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Additionally, they’ve opened for Matt and Kim and shared stages with Andy RourkeThe EttesPujolJennie Vee, The Peach KingsThe Psychedelic FursThe Growlers, and Dorothy.

Like countless hungry bands before them, the members of Deaf Poets recently relocated to New York, and unsurprisingly, their soon-to-be released EP Change & Bloom is reportedly inspired by the events and personal experiences that have transpired before and during their move, arguably making it one of the more personal and honest efforts of their young and growing catalog — and while the EP will further cement their reputation for swaggering crafting hard-hitting, power chord-based, arena rock, the EP’s latest single “Cigarette,” features a moody and expansive alternating quiet, loud, quiet  song structure centered around effortless time signature changes, tribal-influenced drumming and some impressive and forceful guitar pyrotechnics, revealing an ambitious band experimenting with both their sound and songwriting.