Now Listening: City Club

Hey Aztecs! Here on Now Listening with Lala I am very pleased to announce that The Growlers have finally released their new album, City Club. I have been patiently awaiting new music from this Southern California band, and am very excited to break it down for you.

The Growlers are typically known for the coined term “Beach Goth”, which is also a music festival that is happening this October in Orange County. Now, this particular band combines garage rock with elements of surf, folk, and a bit of a rockabilly 60’s vibe. Their unique sound is what has given them such popularity in the last few years.

City Club, however, strays from the typical country rock that we’ve seen from The Growlers in the past. Produced by Julian Casablancas and Shawn Everett, this album contains a much more synth funk and retro vibe. Pulling elements from the disco era, the tracks on this album have a more electro pop sound than previous albums from The Growlers.

Not that different is any bad, City Club is side stepping into a direction that the band has not dipped their toes into yet. This album is still fantastic overall, but it just might take a few listens to warm up to the tracks.

A few popular and favorite tracks on the album so far include the first track, City Club. Upbeat and very dancey, this track still maintains that Growler’s attitude, full of reverb, just less synth. In addition, World Unglued is a very good track. Reminding me most similarly to The Growler’s previously folky sound, this particular track talks about just letting go of the world around you and setting yourself free. Swanky and eclectic, The Growler’s really nailed it with this song.

Take a listen to these awesome tracks below and don’t forget to tune into my show, In Your Speaker, from 3-4pm PST on Tuesdays! ❃

 

 

The Sounds of State-Clint Beachwood

Two weeks ago it was my birthday and before I went off to celebrate with friends and family I had to take a test and go to work. But much more fun and interesting to me was the interview I conducted preceding those two events. Clint Beachwood contacted me way back last semester wanting to do an interview for The Sounds of State. My docket was already full so he had to roll over to this year, but he more than made up for the delay imposed upon him. We met up at the KCR studio and went upstairs to an abandoned room shoved into the corner of Hepner Hall. Clint is the second KCR alum I have interviewed after Joe Shrin, and like Joe he was one of the most engaging and interesting interviewees I’ve ever had on this blog. I like to let the DJ’s talk for themselves so without further ado let’s get right to it. As always, I edit for grammar in a sense that does not detract from the flow of the conversation as it actually happened, we are radio DJ’s after all.

Cameron Satterlee: Hello everybody! I am sitting here with Clint Beachwood, and thanks for joining me. So let’s just kick it off with the regular stuff, what is your radio slot?

Clint Beachwood: I’m on Thursday from 3 to 5 pm, and I’ve had the Thursday slot probably since 2001 except for about a year’s hiatus there about two or three years ago.

CS: So I guess like you mentioned you’ve been here for a while so it goes without saying that you’re a distinguished KCR alum. It’s great to have another one to interview. So you’re a music show yeah?

CB: I am a music show.

CS: So what kind of music do you play?

CB: I strictly play instrumental surf music. Well that’s not true, my show from 2001 up until a year ago was strictly surf instrumental music. This is not The Beach Boys cause The Beach Boys obviously sing. All the music I play doesn’t have any words, it’s all instrumental. And then to sort of expound on that instrumental approach about a year or two ago I changed the name of the show from A Day at the Beach, which it was all along, to Instrumentals Only. The first hour I just play an eclectic mix of instrumentals from all different genres and the second hour is strictly surf instrumentals. So I’ve changed it up just a little bit in the past couple of years.

CS: But you’re still keeping your surf roots.

CB: It definitely has a surfy feel to it and there are still no lyrics to sing along with.

CS: That’s a real cool idea for a show man, I mean that’s pretty out there. That’s kinda what we like here at college radio stations, just for people to do their own thing.

CB: It’s been a nice niche. You don’t see this style obviously on commercial radio and hardly anywhere. It’s usually all about the lead singer and about how egotistical they are and how they like to take over the band and my show is basically all about the music that the bands produce.

CS: And so why did you settle on surf rock?

CB: Interesting. So I grew up, I’m a little on the older side, I turned 60 just a little while ago, and I remember growing up in the early 60’s how the sport of surfing was quite popular and along with this new surfing craze there were surf movies and everything else and it included music. There was a surf style of music that went with the sport of surfing which was a real wet, drippy sound, Dick Dale was very good at that and he used a lot of reverb in his music and that sort of stuck with the sport of surfing. I grew up during that era and I recall that time as being very happy times in my life and I associate a lot of friends and fun things, even though I was just 10-12 years old, but still a lot of good times growing up in the LA area to this surfing craze and this great music. Which included The Beach Boys back at the time so it was very fun music and we were all very into it. And I always, for whatever reason, enjoyed the instrumental aspect of songs, I really like the guitar solo in the middle of songs and just the background type instrumentals more than I did with vocals. I don’t know why that is, just a glitch in my thinking or whatever. Not that I don’t like vocal songs, I do, but I really took a liking to instrumentals and it has just carried off into my adulthood.

CS: And so now that you’ve expanded your show into an ‘instrumental other’ category as opposed to a surf instrumental, is there anything in particular you play in this other category?

CB: I play a lot of Memphis soul like Booker T. and the MG’s and some other groups like that, I really enjoy that sound, but for the most part no it’s just all over the board. A lot of—like Alan Parsons does a lot of instrumentals—so a little bit of a progressive rock kind of feel. The roots really go back to surf music.

CS: Alright so this has been a great story so far, because you obviously didn’t graduate into KCR and become an alumni that way, how did you come back to us?

CB: Let me back up with the surf music thing, because it all starts back with my love of surf music. When The Beatles came along and the British Invasion came along, surf music basically died out. Everything was about The Beatles and then it got into the psychedelic thing. And so you heard very little, all these surf bands just sort of folded up cause they weren’t making any money and they weren’t popular anymore. The Beatles were popular. But sometime around the late 80’s, there were a few surf bands that kinda started up in this resurgent genre of surf music. But then it really kinda kicked off in the 90’s with the movie Pulp Fiction. Tarantino put several surf songs in the soundtrack and it really started another big interest in surf music. Around that same time, I was sorta enlightened to surf music again. It was part of my childhood, I never forgot it cause I always liked that music, but it really took off again in the mid-90’s. And I discovered these surf bands were playing, modern surf bands, were playing at the Del Mar fair. I heard a surf band playing surf music and I was blown away, and I go “this is great!” And the more I researched it, started looking on the internet, well we didn’t have the internet back then, but went into the used record stores and things like that and I saw all these old surf bands and I collected more and more surf music. My love of surf music was sort of reborn back in the mid-90’s. So at that point, I had been associated with Joe Shrin, I had listened to Joe’s show in the early 80’s. My wife and I just got married, we moved to Poway, we could pull up KCR through our color television connection to our stereo. I think it was 98.6 or something like that. And every Saturday morning I would turn on his show because he played some great oldies, a lot of instrumentals and he had no commercials and that’s really what I liked about it was the fact that you could listen to an entire four hours of oldies without any commercials. Except for his goofy commercials that he plays. And so anyway I became friends with him over the years, I would call, make requests, I would call, talk about the music, and I started going to school here and I would go to the studio. So we became good friends and I was sitting in the studio one time and I was looking at the student schedule, the DJ schedule on the board, and it was half filled. There were holes everywhere, and I asked him, cause I had started to accumulate quite a collection of surf music, probably 50 to 100 cd’s of surf music, and I ask him “what would it take to get a slot here? I graduated from San Diego State a few years back, I’m an alumni, what would it take?” And so we looked into it and long story short I got a gig and I’ve been here ever since.

CS: Wow that’s awesome.

CB: That’s my story.

CS: It seems like Joe’s had quite an impact. Yeah I interviewed him a couple of months ago and he was full of interesting information.

CB: Yeah I read that. Joe, he loves this station and it really shows with his show, and his dedication.

CS: And so, you said you’ve been here since 2001, KCR as you said before was a lot more of an open space where you could do whatever you want. But it’s developed over the years, especially recently. How have you seen the changes that have gone on?

CB: Right, it was fun because back in the summertime it was pretty much Joe and I were the only ones doing a show. Being an alum and living in San Diego, we would come in every week regardless of whether school was in session or not. At the time since we didn’t have preprogrammed music to put on after our show if no DJ replaced us, like in the summertime for example. When I would leave the studio I would put on old recordings of Joe’s show and let it play until he came in on Saturday mornings and when he got done he would put on my shows and would play over and over until Thursday when I came in. So it was kind of funny that people heard a lot of Joe and Clint in those days. But now it’s nice to have this whole mix of music, and much better programed music I think with the way things are set up now. The station is run right now the best I’ve ever seen it in my 14 years that I’ve been here. It’s impressive what the student managers have done with the station in the last few years.

CS: Yeah we’ve undergone quite a change. I’ve only been here for three years and you can tell that we’re moving towards great content all the time instead of having great DJ’s like you but once a week. Which is fun for you guys, but we gotta fill out the 24 hours 7 days a week, man. So you play older records almost exclusively but is there anything that’s been grabbing your attention recently? It could be old songs that you just haven’t heard of before or newer stuff.

CB: Surf music is as popular now worldwide than it has ever been. There are bands literally from around the world that play surf music. One of the nice things about it is that since they’re all instrumentals you don’t have a language barrier. So there are bands in Japan and Europe and South America and even Russia. All over the world there are instrumental surf bands, and I will get cd’s from them constantly. I’ve gotten a few from Spain just recently and I wish I could remember the name of this on band that I just heard this week, for the first time and it just blew me away how good they are. It’s something that has continued to keep my interest. A lot of people who have listened to surf music without a real trained ear, without really getting into the genre, think it all sounds the same because it’s mainly drums and guitar and bass. Sometimes an organ will be thrown in, some bands will throw in a few horns. But a lot of people think it all sounds the same, but to me, and I know the difference between a lot of these bands, I can hear stuff that is really, really good. And those are modern surf bands that are just coming out, playing live right now.

CS: It’d be nice to hear some of them so if you send me the links I’d be happy to throw them up on the blog. So final question, I always like to end with this one, and I think you’ll have a very interesting answer since you’ve been here for so long, you’ve had a lot of time to hone your craft, but what would be a perfect show to your high standards? What would make you go from the studio and just say “man I just nailed that one!”?

CB: Well it’s funny because when we were in the other studio over where the associated student building is, back in the old Aztec Center it was a bigger studio and I could have live bands play and I did have a lot of band come in from around the world. I had a band from Japan, I’ve had a band from Spain, Belgium, a lot from the United States. I probably had about 20 band play live at one point or another. And having a live band play during the show is probably my favorite because it’s spontaneous, it’s live music happening right now going over the internet and it’s all generating from this little studio in KCR at San Diego State. Other than that a normal show now consists of me playing songs and trying to pronounce the names of the bands correctly especially if they’re in Spanish or something like that because my foreign language skills are atrocious. I strive to do a good show, I strive to cut the mistakes down to a minimum but I’m not a perfectionist say like Joe Shrin, who really, really strives for a good show every week. I realize that my listeners are fairly loyal, they’re those who like surf music as a nice little niche. Since you don’t get surf music everywhere, there are few stations who will play it consistently, I try to be there every week, I try to start on time and have everything ready to go and just a clean, smooth, and mistake free as possible show.

CS: Alright well sounds great. Thanks for sitting, or I guess we’re standing and doing this interview, it’s been great. Very informative, thanks.

CB: Well thank you Cameron, it’s been a pleasure.

After we were done, Clint and I walked together talking more about surf music, KCR, and his fascinating side projects that spawned from his visibility as one of the lone highly dedicated surf rock DJ’s out there. We had to part ways there as I headed to work.

A few days later Clint sent me a link of that one Spanish band he mentioned in the interview. Check them out here.

Remember to tune in to Clint’s show Instrumentals Only from 3-5 pm on KCR College Radio, the Sound of State.

Sounds of State-Joey Bautista and Bridget Rickman

Hello everybody. I’m Cameron Satterlee and I’m introducing a new series for the KCR blog. You might remember my series from last semester called The Goldmine, in which I profiled a classic rock album every week. For this and hopefully next semester I’ll be going into a different direction. My new series is called Sounds of State and I’ll be interviewing our amazing DJ’s here at KCR College Radio. I was aiming for 5 minutes but likely they’ll go longer than that. I’ll be posting a slightly edited transcript, removing the pauses, and the “likes” and “ums” that we all have. But otherwise I’ll maintain the interview as recorded so as to not alter the message and cadence of those speaking. That means that it’s not very grammatically correct, but you’re reading this on the internet so you should be used to this. Without further ado, here is Sounds of State!

Last Thursday I went to the KCR Turn Up event at the Farmer’s Market to meet up with Joey Bautista and Bridget Rickman and take up my first interview for Sounds of State. It was a fantastic fall day in San Diego so of course I was sweating through my black Giants t-shirt. Our featured artist at the Turn Up was D. Focis, a rapper out of Detroit spitting his game and talking about how us college students should take advantage of our opportunities and get an education in between songs. Joey came up early to meet me so we chatted for a bit while waiting for Bridget to arrive. I was scribbling furiously in the shade because I didn’t have my questions formulated for my first interview. Joey seemed content to listen to the music on the steps facing D. Focis. He wandered off to grab some food, Pad Thai by my reckoning, at the Farmers Market and ate it while enjoying the music and the day.

Bridget showed up about ten minutes before the hour with her cousin, who would be privy to our interview in the studio. The four of us made our way to the Communications building as Bridget and Joey had their show at 1. We got settled and were also joined by Brendan Price, one of the most important cogs in our student organization. Brendan made conversation with Joey and Bridget as they set up their laptops in preparation for the music to begin. Once on air, they introduced themselves as Skull Kid (Joey) and Taco Belle (Bridget). They let their playlist spin and then granted me a gracious interview in the middle of their show.

I found Joey and Bridget to both be very friendly and open with great senses of humor. I may not have been used to interviewing people but they seemed to be pros at answering my questions. Some were pretty simple, but my more interpretive questions were handled with ease. Their answers at point approached the realm of the profound, which I consider a huge victory for my first ever interview. But all the credit goes to them for allowing me their time and being fantastic interviewees.

Here’s how it went:

 

Cameron Satterlee: Alright so looks like we’re recording. I am in the KCR studio with Joey and Bridget. Now, what is your radio slot? I’m just gonna go over the easy questions first.

Joey Bautista: For sure.

CS: Alright, just for the record.

JB: For the record.

Bridget Rickman: Alright, we are Thursdays from 1 to 3, we’re in the Indie Invasion radio block.

CS: Alright cool. So how long have the two of you been with KCR?

JB: This is my second semester here, so yeah just still getting my feet wet metaphorically.

CS: Cool.

BR: Yeah and this is my first semester here at KCR. I was a guest DJ a couple of times last semester, but this is my first official semester.

CS: Cool cool, welcome. So how did the two of you become cohosts?

BR: I met Joey on the freshman Facebook page. We were talking about music. He posted about music and I was like the only one that commented.

JB: I posted the lineup for this festival called Burgerama, it’s this garage rock festival that’s in Santa Ana. And that lineup got announced the same time as Coachella. And I posted the Burgerama lineup in the freshman Facebook page thinking that “hey I can make friends this semester this way.” But the first response was “WHO CARES ABOUT THAT, let’s talk about Coachella” and it got six likes on its comment and I’m like “Man I’m just gonna delete this” and then this girl comments and is like “Why not both? Both lineups are awesome!” And that turned out to be Bridget so yeah.

BR: We just bonded musically over that and became cohosts.

CS: Cool.

JB: Yeah.

CS: Alright so would you two say you have good chemistry as cohosts?

JB: Would we?

BR: (laughing) I think we have really good chemistry. We’re both a little awkward at times but I think that together it works out.

JB: Yeah we’re just awkward people.

BR: Yeah.

JB: So it balances out kind of.

CS: Alright cool, yeah that works. So what music do you play?

BR: Joey and I both make separate hour playlists, and we play a little bit [of each]. It’s the same kind of music but it has our own flair on each playlist. I play a little more garage rock and sometimes a little pop punk, and Joey can talk about what he plays.

JB: I know last semester when I had my own shows I’d play mostly indie pop and garage rock and punk. But this semester I’m focusing a lot more on lo-fi pop music. I don’t want to say I’ve outgrown garage rock, but it’s just not that big a part of my life anymore. So there’s that.

BR: His music taste has surpassed mine. To put it that way (laughs).

CS: Alright. So you say you do the Indie Invasion but you got a bit more specific in genre so thank you that was going to be one of my follow up questions. This one is sort of playing off that also. So why do you like these specific genres?

JB: I mean with lo-fi pop for me, I like a lot of bands like Elvis Depressedly and Alex G and Teen Suicide. And I think the appeal to those kinds of bands for me is and that genre as a whole, is that lyrically it’s really sincere. They get lumped into this kind of stereotype or trope of being overly sad, and I don’t think sadness is something that they glorify, and I don’t think sadness is something that should be glorified. But just the honesty and sincerity of it is really what appeals to me. And it’s really catchy so there’s that too.

BR: My music, since I play a lot of surf punk, garage rock, it’s just a little more upbeat and easy to listen to no matter what you’re doing. I like catchy tunes also. And I like upbeat, I really really like upbeat sounds that I can kinda like dance around to.

CS: Alright great, those were fantastic responses, thank you. So are there any other genres that you’re interested in or is this just your main focus?

BR: For my show this is my main focus cause I kinda like to stick to general sound but I listen to mostly everything. I like pop music and I listen to EDM and all that fun stuff. But for my show this is kinda the genre I stick to.

JB: I’d say about the same. In terms of I stick to my guns when I come to our show, but I listen to everything as well. I especially love Insane Clown Posse (laughs) and Nickelback. Those kinds of bands. I’m really into-

CS: Are you being serious?

BR: (laughs)

JB: I mean you can put that in italics (laughs).

CS: I just had to ask cause I wasn’t sure.

JB: To be totally honest, while Insane Clown Posse and Nickelback both hold very special places in my heart…I listen to a lot of hip hop as well. I think if I wasn’t doing a show on Indie Invasion I’d definitely be doing a hip hop show instead.

CS: Alright. Yeah when I type this up I don’t think the sarcasm or jokes are going to go over as well.

BR: Sorry.

JB: (laughs) I just had to get it in there.

CS: No that’s you. It’s just that I type up “when I asked what kind of music you listen to, Joey said Insane Clown Posse” so that’s what it’s gonna be like.

JB: They fall under hip hop, so you can cancel it out by saying Insane Clown Posse…and Kanye West!

CS: Alright sorry we got a bit off track a little bit.

JB: (laughs)

CS: No it’s cool, I like where this is going. You’ve been very helpful so far.

JB: Thank you.

CS: I mean the worst thing would be if you answered “I like music it’s cool” and I would just have nothing to work with. But you’ve been very helpful. I’ve got a few more reaching questions but you’ve had some really good answers so far so I’m hoping these will also be pretty good. So why is music important to you personally?

JB: You want to go first.

BR: Yeah yeah, I’ll go first. It’s a tough question cause as big of a part as music is in my life I don’t think about it too much it just comes easily. I listen to what I listen to and if I like it I listen to it. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like music. Music is just a huge part of everyone’s lives no matter what you listen to. Music is important to me cause I mean music can make people happy no matter what, no matter you’re listening to.

JB: Any way, for me music is something that I attach a lot of memories to and it’s something that I can measure in time. Like when I was a freshman I had my Beatles phase. When I was sixth to eighth grade I had my “I only listen to underground hip hop” phase. When I was fourth to sixth grade I was like “I like pop punk” and Fall Out Boy and all that. So I think music as like a benchmark for periods in your life is definitely something that I believe in. And apart from listening to music I also make music. I play in a band. And I feel that-this is the obvious answer but playing in a band and making music, just writing songs, is just a great way of getting your ideas and your feelings into something tangible. Like I write a song and then I see that as an achievement. Like for sports people they have their trophies and their medals and all that. I have a song that I can write and then I hold it up as a trophy for myself. Like “oh hey I learned to forgive someone that I never thought that I could” or “hey I got through a really bad depression…a really long bad depression” or something like that. So just using music as points in my life to look back on and to look forward to. For me that’s what it means to me.

CS: Wow. (Laughs) Thank you. That was very great for the two of you thank you. This is a bit less of an esoteric question. Is there anything you’ve been listening to or obsessing about lately? A band, an album, or a single song.

BR: I kind of like to obsess over anything I’ve been listening to at the moment. I’m really into The Frights right now which are a local San Diego band. They kinda play surf punk, dirty doo wop, that’s what they categorize themselves as. And it’s just really fun and upbeat music and the guys are all really cool so I like to play their music no matter what I’m doing at the moment.

JB: For me what I’m obsessing over right now is everyone on the record label called Orchid Tapes. They put out a bunch of lo-fi pop stuff which is what I’m into obviously. But singled out from all those artists is a band-or two projects-called Elvis Depressedly and Coma Cinema. Which are both fronted by this man named Mathew Lee Cothran. And I’d say that lately that for at least the past half a year he’s been my main inspiration. Not just for writing music but in terms of philosophy and everything. And just the ideas he puts into his music and across all his projects each release has left me feeling more inspired than I’ve ever been in my entire life. And that’s not just in terms of writing music but in creating and maintaining the relationships I have in my life. So I look up to him not only as someone whose music I enjoy but as a person.

CS: Alright thank you. I think that just about does it for us. I’ve got one more question, this is kinda a fun one you can answer really quick. Describe a perfect show for the two of you.

BR: One where I wouldn’t be saying “um” every other word maybe, or not looking to Joey for some help because that happens sometimes.

JB: I think a perfect show would be where we don’t stutter once.

BR: Yeah, happens quite a bit. Especially when you’re just doing improv.

JB: Yeah, we don’t plan these things out. The only thing we plan is our playlist.

BR: Yeah.

CS: Alright, thank you. I think that just about wraps it up for us. You know it was eleven minutes so that’s pretty long.

It turned out to be longer than the 5 minutes or so I originally planned, but I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I’m thinking that most of them will run longer than 5 minutes. Not wanting to take up more of their air time, I shook hand with the duo and bade them goodbye. I got about as far as the bike path on Campanile when Joey ran me down telling me that I forgot to take a picture of them to put on the blog. Backtracking to the studio, I snapped a few photos and thanked the duo profusely once more before leaving once again.

Joey and Bridget both sent me some songs to put on the blog in case any of you listeners are curious about what they’ve been talking about.

Joey’s songs are: Her Sinking Sun by Coma Cinema, Harvey by Alex G, Give Me Back to the Sky by Teen Suicide, and Weird Honey by Elvis Depressedly.

Bridget’s songs are: High School Girl and Kids by The Frights.

So that was the first interview for Sounds of State. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Be sure to listen to Bridget and Joey from 1 to 3 on Thursdays on KCR College Radio, the Sound of State.