When Bologna Turns Into Steak

Indie? Grunge Pop? Surf Rock? Try and wrap your mind around the genre of the hard hitting album, “Hung at Heart,” by The Growlers.

Frontman Brooks Nielsen provides the raspy vocals for this incredibly heartfelt album. From the get-go, the song “Someday” starts off the album with shimmering guitar riffs and smooth bass lines. This first track is a love letter to a significant other, promising better days and better meals.

“When tall boys turn into champagne,” Nielsen sings as the song continues to foresee how he wants to provide a better life for his loved one.

As a whole, the album is a perfect cohesion of love and lust.

With the track “One Million Lovers,” it’s hard not to see why this burden of love hangs so heavy on the heart of Nielsen. The song describes a love that possibly was lost or maybe a love that can’t be let go. Lead guitarist, Matt Taylor, provides upbeat strumming patterns with glimmering tones that will leave  you “…dreaming of her the whole day though.”

It’s hard to find a favorite song on this album, but one track that attention should be brought to is “Pet Shop Eyes.”  Nielsen’s charismatic attitude comes through in this song, explaining how he’s not buying into another girl’s advances due to the sad and blasé way about her. He compliments her looks but tells her to move along, even joking that her sadness has him on the verge tears.

All in all, if you’re looking for chill album to throw on in the background of your next party or if you’re looking for an album to make you feel at ease with your own personal strife, “Hung at Heart” is what you’re going to want play all the way through. The band has made an album that is danceable yet introspective at the same time. Released in 2013, “Hung at Heart” is reminiscent of late ’70s surf rock and blues.

Featured Image: “Hung at Heart” cover art, all rights reserved to The Growlers

Back from the Dead: San Cisco

Bands can evolve for years, creating new sounds that draw listeners in. However, for San Cisco, this Australian band has reconnected with their roots and put out a new track called “B Side”. The song’s bright, clean guitar sound and catchy melody pays homage to their 2012 self-titled album with popular tunes like “Fred Astaire”, “Nepal”, and “Awkward”. The simple yet infectious clean guitars in “Fred Astaire” give it a 50’s vibe. The synth, on the other hand, adds a modern sound recognizable in Vampire Weekend songs. Other stand-out tracks like ‘Awkward’ with its distinctive groovy bass and thumping drum beats, and “Nepal” with its dreamlike guitar effects has made San Cisco’s debut album a personal favorite. Their second LP Gracetown, on the other hand, takes a subtle but different approach.

Gracetown carries a more mature sound. They ditch the pure indie pop for psychedelic, hip-hop, and disco leanings. Lead guitarist Josh Biondillo adds more complex and creative hooks listeners can groove to. Complimenting the bouncy riffs and melodies, Scarlett Stevens shows off her exceptional drumming and even her pipes in “Magic”. Nick Gardner’s ingenious bass lines bring depth to the songs while Jordi Davieson’s lyricism and dreamy vocals tie every aspect together.

The record opens up with “RUN”. The bass line is an immediate stand out and the jangly guitars are nice changes from the usual clean effect. Including “RUN”, “Magic” and “Bitter Winter” are the best tracks on the album. Nevertheless, in spite of raving reviews, Gracetown fell flat for me. I appreciate San Cisco’s musicianship and maturity as a band, but I also miss the bouncy pop vibe from their debut album.

‘B Side’ takes me back to the self-titled days. The clean guitars, infectious riffs, and Davieson’s melodious vocals gave me a little spring to my step. Even the endearing lyrics in the chorus aren’t cringy at all, but sweet and fun. Overall, it’s a solid track and a solid “B-side” to their new single “SlowMo”. I’m excited to hear their upcoming record so stay tuned for more updates!

It’s DJ Ricky P signing out. Deuces.

Neighborhood Jams: Young Creatures

It’s the end of September this week, so let’s end it on a great note by listening to some great tunes!  You guys ready to hear a combo of Death Cab for Cutie and The Killers? If you said yes, then you are in for a real treat. This week on Neighborhood Jams I am featuring the Los Angeles band Young Creatures.

Young Creatures would be categorized as a psychedelic rock band with a touch of pop – I ain’t complaining. They have been touring since 2012 ever since their first two EPs blessed the ears of L.A. Their first two EPs were titled Young Creatures (2012) and Habitats (2013).  From there they combined their strong lyrics and mellow guitar riffs together in order to debut their first full-length album in September 2014 titled Fear All The Things.

 

As mentioned earlier, this quartet has been touring all over the West Coast and country.  Some of the venues have included The Echo, Bardot, and The Viper Room.  Even SXSW – that would have been awesome to check these guys out there.

Now, one of the perks of my great job here at KCR College Radio is to hear new music before it is officially released.  And Vinny from Young Creatures shared their newest single Slow with me, which will be released in just a few days – September 30th to be exact! When I heard this song it instantly lifted my spirits.  My mind took me to the beach with the tunes breezing through my hair – it was pretty awesome. I love this song, and I think it is a great first single off of their new album coming in the beginning of 2017.

If you live in San Diego you will be able to groove with these guys on Thursday, September 29th, at The Merrow on University Avenue.  You can purchase your tickets here, and they are only $7 in advance or $10 at the door.  I will definitely be there – and you should, too! Now, if you can’t make it to the show they will be on tour until October 15th visiting cities such as Portland, Denver, and Pheonix.

Let’s all support this great up and coming band by liking their Facebook page – they are SO CLOSE to a thousand likes! Keep you ears open on the 30th for the release of their newest single Slow.  You can check out all their tunes on their Soundcloud and their beautiful website.

Neighborhood Jams: Ocelot

Hi friends! I am so excited to start blogging for KCR Radio. Every Wednesday I will blog about either bands that have their roots planted in San Diego, or about bands that are making their way through San Diego on their tour – it’s my neighborhood jams! If you have any suggestions for local bands, let me know! Also, listen for me every Sunday afternoon at 2:00p.m. on KCR College Radio where I will be playing classic rock and highlighting my featured band of the week.

In this week’s Neighborhood Jams, I am featuring the San Diegan band – Ocelot! They are a group of five groovy cats whose sound is a mash-up of psych rock, blues rock, and garage rock – it definitely brought me to the 60’s hanging out with friends in a garage on a Friday night. My feeling comes from the fact that their songs strongly spotlight long instrumental breaks that never seem too long. Bassist, Kyre Wilcox, and drummer, Andrew Ware, seem to have a strong connection, especially in their song, The Gardens right before guitarist, James Upton, shreds. Ocelot has been known to rock out at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, and The Office Bar in North Park. Stephanie Brown is the vocalist, and she writes all the lyrics – something I truly treasure and admire in the music world. Brown’s lyrics are not only hauntingly beautiful but deeply melancholic, and she also plays the harmonica which is featured in the beginning of Ocelot’s song, Jokes Like These. Another really cool thing about this band is that they have a keyboardist – Evan Wenskay. Some of his best work, personally, was featured in the song 9 Lives. Together these five musicians make up Ocelot, and their songs come together perfectly.

Ocelot has a great sound – a sound that is not very common in today’s day and age. They truly know how to captivate their audience with their psychedelic songs showing off just how truly great musicians they each are. The band is working on their EP and have high hopes of finishing it up at the end of the year – just in time for a tour that’ll expand to Los Angeles, Seattle, and maybe even Portland.

I wish you the best of luck, Ocelot, and I can’t wait to hear your upcoming EP. Look for me in the front row at your next show, because you just gained a big, big fan!

 

 

Photo Credit: http://diofest.com/ocelot/and Stephanie Brown.

Apologies for using an old photo, Ocelot.