Six Years With The Growlers

It was the winter of 2008. I was sitting at my computer browsing myspace and chatting on AIM, like many other teenagers of the time. A friend of mine was trying to get me to listen to this new band called "The Growlers" so naturally, I checked them out. Their profile picture was almost as visually unintelligible, I would come to find, as their lyrics; cut outs of men and women in sepia-tone and black and white, antiquated pictures huddled in front of the band leering in the background. I scrolled down their myspace page listening to Someone Junior for the first time. 

The beginning of their bio read,

 "The growlers are a rock and pop group formed in long beach California in 2006 who are yet to became one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music. During their years of stardom yet to come, the band consists of..."

"Pretty bold stuff." Was my initial response after finishing reading their bio. Their music had it's appeals but failed to make much of an impression on me at first; I was in a fervor over The Doors at the time, so the sound wasn't too different from my tastes. It would be a week or two before I found myself finally relenting to the chorus of Someone Junior all the while, being badgered daily by my friend to, "Listen to The Growlers damnit!"

"My name is Someone Junior, Who is my dad? Mama is Catherine Anne hoover and she's all that"

At the time, the lyrics weren't google-able, so the line after, "who's my dad?" was always improvised on my part; with, "Ah-lopta-likta candy-man roper, but she know!" followed by the reverbed-out, cult-like chant of, "Ah-ah, ah-ah, omphg!" The Growlers had won me over; with songs like Acid Rain and Empty Bones, their bio seemed much less pretentious and far more prophetic. I was beginning to really like The Growlers and when I told my friend this, their response was, "You finally started listening to them?"

So time went on, I had no money to pick up their first album so I settled for listening to the few songs their myspace music player provided me with. Eventually, the band began to interchange the original selection with newer songs but the more songs I heard from them the less impressed I began to feel. The mystic river sounds of The Growlers had suddenly ebbed into a stagnant pool of waning mystery. I felt like maybe I was wrong, maybe I hadn't been listening right; so I listened and listened again but still, the river slowed. Time passed and suddenly the words of their bio were beginning to ring quite true. People around me were hearing of The Growlers and when everyone began to sing their praises, I sang too but not as loudly; I really only liked three or four of their songs, so I never bothered to risk the hazard of posing as an outright Growlers fan.

"Their clothes, style and statements have made them trend-setters. While their growing social awareness saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions."

The local rock scene of LA has been greatly influenced by The Growlers over the last couple of years. Every surf/psychedelic/garage rock band have tried tirelessly to emulate the sound and energy of The Growlers while also trying their hardest to be original about it. Go out anywhere, to any show in the scene, ask anyone about them and you'll find that The Growlers are at the pinnacle in LAs' surf/psychedelic/garage rock hierarchy. However, the praise showered upon The Growlers in the past is being replaced with discontent over the fact that their music sounds almost identically the same as it did three years ago. The band have, likely, become more competent musicians during this time but their sound has become rather redundant and among their repertoire of repetitively styled songs, is a small selection of numbers that sound strangely familiar to an iconic rock band from the 1960's.

In the small breaks from their interminably safe sound, The Growlers have tried with relative success to emulate a band that must have, evidently, held a great influence over them; The Doors. With songs like Conquered Sun, where the entire band, including the vocals, take part in a mimicry of bearded-Jim era Doors music. Brooks vocals stay true to his timbre but the lyrical content sways heavily toward the poeticism of Morrison's lyricism, albeit more contrived on Brookes' end. The song Oh, Sweet Spirit is quick to remind the listener of The Doors My Wild Love and in the end, The Growlers full repertory feels like one predictably, long song with sections that vary in tempo and melody like that of The Doors' song The Soft Parade; only without the creative decadence. The Growlers have become an increasingly dull figure atop LA's local music scene even though much of their earlier work has retained enough influence to keep bored fans sentimental in the very least.

 If The Growlers wish to break through the barrier from growingly kitschy, local idols to nation wide rock n' rollers, they desperately need to break out of their own musical barriers first and if it's to be achieved, it's going to take a lot of experimentation on their part. Their musical aptitudes have undoubtedly risen but they need to focus on throwing their fans for more loops, keeping them on their toes with sounds that not even fawning locals can imitate. Hopefully sometime within the next year or so, The Growlers can deliver a reminder as to why the rockers of East LA, surfers from the dirty beaches of Southern California and everyone in between, excitedly find themselves packed into hot warehouses, blaring with the music that intends to make them dance on fire.

So here's to 2013 old chaps,  here's to being slain by the charm of The Growlers all over again; if the world doesn't explode before you guys get the chance to rise from your trend-setting slouch.

Written By: David Corraliza

The Cause of The Causbies

Rock N' Roll never died, it just lost it's soul. The Causbies have arrived to return it to it's original owner. This four-piece outfit based out of Covina have ditched what's become the tried and true LA method of utilizing reverb and delay pedals, instead relying on a genuine, barrel-distilled rock n' roll sound heavily influenced by bands like The Horrors (US not the UK), The Sonics, Spaceships and The Animals. Mick Leos does the rhythm and rhyming, taking up vocals and rhythm guitar. The bonafide swinging bass lines are picked and fingered by Chris Medina while the drums are casually banged out by Tommy Avecedo; and last, but by no means least, the lead-guitar is shredded to Johnny-Marr infused bits by Swayd Whittle.

Together, The Causbies generate a genuine Rock N' Roll sound that is as familiar as it is derelict in the current rock scene. With guitar and bass riffs that sound like they could fit right in with the musical repertoire of a Tarantino flick, and vocals that incite feelings of what it truly must be like to sing in a whiskey fueled, cigarette burning rock n' roll band. The Causbies sole cause (it's in the name, baby) is to return music to it's unadulterated state without the paper-mache facade of a pedal-effected sound. Leos cites this cause by saying, "...Everything about music, just the way it should be..."  That laconic belief is enough to drive the band headlong into the life of the words they speak. The Causbies should definitely stay on your radar within these upcoming months and be sure to follow them on facebook.

If you consider yourself a connoisseur of everything rock n' roll, this is a band you'd be wise to add to your palate. You certainly haven't heard the cause of The Causbies until you've heard it live.

You can listen to their latest EP here at soundcloud which was produced by Jordan  Elliott.

Again, here is The Causbies facebook page, where you can follow the band's updates and book them for shows.

(The Causbies earlier this year)

Written by: David Corraliza

Get Down with Death Lens!

Death Lens getting wild and weird at FUCK THAT FEST! September 29, 2012
Today is a big day for local SGV Garage Rock group Death Lens! They are releasing their very first CD through Lolipop Records! This exciting event is taking place at Los Globos located on 3040 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026. Death Lens will have their groovy tunes accompanied by other awesome local talent Froth, Django's Tiger, Pool Honeys, Blackfeet Braves, and Santoros! The first 25 funky folk to show up will receive a FREE Death Lens Tee made by Risen Ink. It's 18+ and only $5 to get into this booty shakin' bash! Attendees will receive a FREE CD with entry (while supplies last).
60's Style Garage feel band Froth will be up first at 7:30 PM!
Froth will be followed by the smooth sounds of the lovely band Django's Tiger at 8:30 PM!
Pool Honeys will be on at 9:30 PM to shake things up!
Boogie Bandits Blackfeet Braves will be hitting the stage at 10:30 PM!

Then, the moment you have all been waiting for! Death Lens (!) will be tearing it up when they perform at 11:30 PM!

Finally, bouncy Folk Rock group Santoros will be closing up the night at 12:30!

Sway to Sleeping Bags

If you enjoy being wrapped up in the comfort of loud guitars, melodies that hold a strong power to sway, and softened beats - combined with light-hearted riffs and an uppity synth, then Sleeping Bags is just the band for you. This four-piece up and coming Los Angeles area group combines all the ethereal qualities found in genres such as Krautrock (experimental), Dark Synth/Dark Wave and Dream Pop type artists. They sound as if they could fit right in playing a show with The Chameleons, Joy Division, and even Bauhaus or The Passions. Sleeping Bags is formed by members Matt Kivel who provides the alluring vocals and riffs, Abe Burns who also strums along on guitar, Mark Nieto who pops out the synth parts and records, and Anton Hochheim on drums. Kivel started the band back sometime in 2009 with his brother Jesse. At the time, the two were jamming out in a garage rehearsal spot in Eagle Rock. Through different connections made by friendships, work, and school, the official line-up as of now was formed, with Jesse no longer in the group.
Matt Kivel and Mark Nieto were drawn together by identical passions for David Bowie and Brian Eno's albums Low and Heroes. The whole of Sleeping Bags, however, is heavily influenced by 70's and 80's UK bands such as Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine, along with German 70's experimental groups such as Cluster, Neu!, and Ash Ra Tempel.
Sleeping Bags released their first, full-length album Sleeping Bags back in September of 201l. Sleeping Bags was released on record label Easter Everywhere. The full-length album can be listened to and downloaded via Bandcamp. Sure songs to listen to are the whimsical sounds of "Park", the fourth track on the album and a personal favorite of mine, "Cantaloupe", the sixth song on the album, and the bouncy style of "Yellow Bulbs", the twelfth song off of Sleeping Bags. As of now, they are working on writing up new tunes, which they are beginning to play live at their shows.
They have played with the likes of Peter Pants and Moses Campbell; and have also played shows with Eleanor Friedberger from Fiery Furnaces. Sleeping Bags will be playing on October 31st with So Many Wizards at The Smell; and with Sic Alps at Burger Records! on November 8. Be sure to catch them at one of these shows or follow them on Facebook here.

Eagle Rock Music Festival Hits the Streets Today

While the Sunset Junction festival has managed to alienate itself from its community nearly to the point of excommunication, The Eagle Rock Music Festival has been a local favorite for the past 14 years. The Eagle Rock Music Festival has been ambitiously growing and curating new local acts in this thriving community, and has worked hard over the years to include something for everyone. Garnering support from Dublab early on, they now have stages from the Stones Throw label in Highland Park, The Ship Studios, Kingsize Soundlabs and many others. There is a great diversity in styles available and it is truly representative of all the great music coming out of Los Angeles right now. With featured acts like The Henry Clay People, Terraplane Sun, Robert Schwartzman, Peanut Butter Wolf, J. Rocc, Imperial Teen, Tijuana Panthers, The Pharcyde and many, many more, you are sure to get your fresh music fix. In addition to all the great food in the area (Oinkster!) there will be a vast array of some of the best local food trucks to satisfy your connoisseurial taste buds. The event starts at 2 PM, wraps up around midnight and takes place on Colorado Blvd, between Argus Dr. and Eagle Rock Blvd. There is a suggested donation of $10 which directly supports local art education through the Center for the Arts.

The Ship Studios Stage

Indie / Rock / Local

3:30pm: Cigarette Bums

4:30pm: Dream Homes

5:30pm: Bloody Death Skull

6:30pm: Karmic

7:30pm: Wrightwood

8:30pm: Low Flying Owls

10pm: Henry Clay People

Kingsize Soundlabs Stage

Indie / Rock / Local

4pm: Captions

5pm: Buck Shot Bill

6pm: Extra

7pm: Beat Club

8pm: Terraplane Sun

9pm: Robert Schwartzman & Friends

Emerging Stage

Indie / Rock / Local
Presented by KOXY Radio 
in conjunction with FYF Fest and LA Record

3pm: Crimekillz

4pm: Fleeting Heart

5pm: Jared James Nichols

6pm: Vinyl Williams

7pm: So Many Wizards

8pm: Tijuana Panthers

9pm: Imperial Teen

10pm: La Sera


Future Roots/ Global

4pm: Carlos Nino (DJ Set)

4:45pm: Contact Field Orchestra

5:30pm: Ale of Pharaohs (DJ Set)

6pm: VUM
6:45pm: Slayron of Peaking Lights (DJ Set)

7:15pm: High Places

8pm: Michael Stock of Part Time Punks (DJ Set)

8:45pm: Part Time Punks presents Rough Trade All-Stars (live)

9:30pm: Daedelus (DJ Set)

10pm: Delicious Vinyl will be presenting…Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde Live.  The full album will be performed from start to finish, featuring Fatlip, Slimkid3 (formerly of The Pharcyde), J.Sw!ft, L.A. Jay & special guests.
*Live visuals by Miko Revereza
*The Future Roots stage will be broadcast live on!


International / Global Bass

4pm- ERHS Latin Jazz Ensemble

6pm: Buyepongo

7:10pm:  Las Cafeteras

8:20pm: The Boogaloo Assassins

9:20pm: Subsuelo

*Subsuelo (DJ between acts)

Stones Throw Stage

International / Funk / Soul / Hip Hop

3pm: Coleman (Mochilla)

4pm: Dub Club Sound System

4:45pm: The Lions

5:30pm: Vex Ruffin

6:00pm: Special Guest (Brainfeeder)

6:45pm: Jonwayne & Friends

7:15pm: Chrome Canyon

8:00pm: J-Rocc

9:00pm: Special Surprise Guest

9:45: Peanut Butter Wolf

10:30pm: The Stepkids
* Hosted by Black Shakespeare of The Lions/INI Soundsystem

Women’s 20th Century Club

Folk / Roots / Americana

5:30pm: Leftover Cuties

6:45pm: Sadie and the Blue Eyed Devils

8:00pm: The Record Company

9:15pm: Triple Chicken Foot


Jazz/Blues/Soul/Singer Songwriter


5:00pm: Jenny Luna and Moondogs

6:20pm: Tawny Ellis

7:40pm: Pilgrim

9:00pm: Curve Line Quintet
6:30pm: Santoros
7:45pm: Stephan Sowan
9pm: Duniven

Camilo’s Bistro 

1840 W Colorado Blvd

7-10pm: Dan Olivo & his Jazz Combo

Family Stage

2:30pm: Apple Brains

3:30pm: Ellen and Matt

4:30pm: Bloom School of Music Rock Band

5:30pm: NINE

6:30pm: Ukulele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere

7:30pm: Glen Iris

LA Filipino American Church

4:00pm:  Fabiano Do Nascimento Group (Brazilian)

5:30pm: Little Faith (Roots, Gospel)

7:00pm: Anenon

8:30pm:  SASSAS soundshoppe (Experimental)
*Visuals provided by Museum of Traffic

Father John Misty: Tonight at The Bootleg Theater

The name, Father John Misty, might bring to mind catholic school atonement, but J. Tillman, performing under the moniker Father John Misty, is something quite different altogether. Having rediscovered his voice after driving for weeks in a van with, "enough mushrooms to choke a horse," Tillman brings a new breed of honesty to his lyrics. Formerly the drummer for Fleet Foxes, Tillman has released a solo record nearly every year since 2005 and his most recent as FJM, Fear Fun, will not disappoint. Combining the styles of Harry Nilsson, Neil Young, Charles Bukowski, and Richard Brautigan into a haunting look at the human spirt and all its worldly preoccupations. FJM seeks to be an evocation of the moment, embracing all its misgivings and flaws. With all the catchy melodies and modest production, it's hard not to love this record.

At the Bootleg Theater tonight, with the help of FJM, Daniel Lanois, Inara George, Becky Stark, and Great Northern, there is a benefit concert for Mayla. Only 3 years old, Mayla was recently diagnosed with leukemia and with a donation in the form of a ticket (ranging from $25 - $1000), she can get the treatment she needs. Great music for a great cause. Doors open at 7 with the show starting at 9. This is sure to be an unforgettable night of amazing talent.

The Young Romans at The Hotel Cafe

Indie pop duo The Young Romans will be playing tonight at The Hotel Cafe. The band began in 2010 after Brad Hooks (vocals & piano) met Seri Mellafe (vocals & guitar) through mutual friends. They developed a bond over a shared taste in music and quickly produced several demos. The band released an EP, Yesterday Night, in 2010 which fully captures the romantic and sweeping sound of the band. "Lemon Trees" is a gentle love song with soft endearing vocals. "Probably True" has the band experimenting with a dance beat and echoing vocals.

The Young Romans released their debut album, Tiger Child, earlier this year. The record features the single "Where You Go" which has an 80's pop sound similar to pop-rock artist Steve Winwood's music. The album has received positive reviews since its release and has the band touring throughout the LA area this fall. The show tonight begins at 7pm and tickets are on sale for $12.50. Check out The Young Roman's webpage for more information.