By: Patrick McKenna, Staff Writer / Soon to be Californian
By: Patrick McKenna
Plugging in headphones takes listeners to a different place. Whether it’s a momentous memory, a bad trip, or an imaginary environment that feels as if it’ll fit with the music, everyone has their special place they vanish to. After one listen to the latest EP from surf-psychedelic aficionados, The Growlers, I knew I’d been taken to this place. Gilded Pleasures thrusts listeners into a world of washing up on the shores of Orange County’s supremely exotic – only to be met by a group of long haired lovelies crooning out their melodic interpretation of garage-meets-1940s honkey-tonk bars- meets beachy bursts of psychedelic wonder. Throughout a span of roughly seven years as a group, The Growlers have enhanced their DIY garage, almost distracted sound towards a more sophisticated blend of 60s surf, spacey psychedelic rock, and just a pinch of Eastern European folk. Building on a reputation of outlandish live performances, The Growlers set upon dispersing their music throughout the world—literally. Few bands with such a prominent position in the currently ever-growing California surf-punk movement have seen as much of Europe as the Growlers have. Going as far as Greece on multiple occasions, this tremendous amount of musical traveling is reflected well in Gilded Pleasures.
Lead singer Brooks Nielson channels a dreamy wave of longing for affection and gratification with his grizzly yet majestic voice that just screams for grooving hippie babes to indulge in his splendor. Nielson brings an impressive vocal range that holds the capability of transitioning from a honky-tonk whine (see “Ego of Man”) to a upbeat sound of optimism that sparks anything between a stoner’s sway to devoted fan’s frenzy of freak dancing (see the shades of Gogo Bordello track “Ol’ Rat Face”). Match the dazed drawls of beach-god Nielson with the rest of bands recklessly relaxed surf-rock sound, and this auspicious album is complete. The Growlers deserve a nod of respect for the integration of their lo-fi based garage base sound with a fantastic blend of surf rock and experimental indie-pop. Gilded Pleasures comes complete with these elements, all warped into a tantalizing taste of the places California rock can go. If this album isn’t the kick-start reason for you booking a flight to a world of sun drenched scenery by day, sweat-filled garage performances by night out west, just make sure to pretend extra hard as you sail off towards the satisfying sounds of Gilded Pleasures.
Tell It How It Is
Pretend I’m Gay
Patrick is currently a freshman majoring in journalism. He’s originally from Elmhurst, Illinois. He listens to an absurd amount of music, ranging from classic rock, pitchforks top picks, or even some soultastic Al Green. He hopes you understand his strange vocabulary and intensive love of strange music.