Formed in Long Beach, California, The Growlers’ lifestyle has always been a simple one; blending surfing and experimentation, both in their road dog life and in their music; an intoxicating blend of psychedelia and ramshackle, twisted-cabaret-garage-rock, with just a touch of country.
These are warped pop songs with jangly surf chords that make for a heady circus akin to not only contemporaries like Ty Segall, Allah-La’s, Thee Oh Sees and Black Lips, but greats of yesteryear like The Seeds, The Shirelles, The Chiffons, The Doors, Love and maybe even a touch of early La’s.
Within the fifteen tracks on ‘Hung At Heart’, fuzzy genius exudes at every spin; in singer Brooks Nielsen’s tales of turning tall boys into champagne and bologna into steak on swooning opener ‘Someday’, and in the love songs that extol the virtues of the free market in mate selection heard in ‘One Million Lovers’.
Embodying the spirit of country and blues, ‘Living In A Memory’ opens with the Johnny Cash-esque lyrics, “your face is clogging up my dream, smiling so damn tenderly”, followed by the quirky ‘60s style pop of ‘Pet Shop Eyes’, where Nielsen’s eerie crooning leads the rhythm section into ‘It’s No Use’.
‘Derka Blues’ evokes the band’s decrepit and bohemian West Coast debauchery ‘when there’s no more booze and my lungs feel bruised’, whilst the guitar and bass channel the spirit ofTinawerin. Opting for an unconventional ending, instrumental ‘The Fruit Is For Everyone’ acts as an epilogue to the album.
Having only occasionally tripped across the ocean, and despite initial dabblings with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach as producer, the album it as home-grown as they come, recorded by the band with no outsider input, at their previous base in Costa Mesa. Their self-coined ‘bent sound’ is achieved with a wide knowledge of modern day recording techniques, paired with the very finest outdated recording equipment.
Known for sharing a warehouse right by Newport Beach, surfing, putting on bands and throwing parties, their shambolic sound and weirdo, extravagant showmanship naturally took shape. They then hit the road, quickly earning themselves a reputation for wild live shows and with that, came a loyal following.
The Growlers are Brooks Nielsen (vocals) Scott Montoya (bass guitar, vocals) Matt Taylor (lead guitar, vocals) and Brian ‘don’t surf’ Stewart (drums, vocals).
They have previously toured with The Black Keys, Devendra Banhart, Julian Casablancas and Night Beats, and were invited by Brazilian alternative rock musician Marcelo Camelo to perform with him at Rock In Rio. And if all that wasn’t enough, Bill Murray is a fan.