The Growlers

The Growlers

The music of The Growlers is unmistakable.

Sure, you can hone in on some influences baked into the work of this California-bred band. Heck, even they'd cop to a few, like Ricky Nelson and The Clash. But once those same RIYL tags have been filtered through the minds and hands and voices of this five-piece, there's simply nothing else like it.

The Growlers took the phrase "Beach Goth" as an apt descriptor of their music. Sunburned and salty, that term perfectly describes their distinctive melding of reverb heavy surf guitar and Bakersfield-style honky tonk with '80s post-punk.

This is especially true of Chinese Fountain, The Growlers' fifth full-length set to be released on September 23rd via Everloving Records. The 11 songs found on it are some of the strongest that they've committed to tape yet; a byproduct not only of eight years in the trenches together, but finely honing their gypsy folk dirges and psychedelic sea shanties to fans at close to 150 shows each year. The connection between vocalist Brooks Nielsen and guitarist Matt Taylor (the principal songwriters of the group) has only grown deeper.

"The band played better than they've ever played," says Nielsen. "We've got the process down now. There's less screwing around to get the songs laid out and we weren't waiting around for take after take. We knew it and we played without much time to spare."

That confidence bleeds through every track on Chinese Fountain, with the band assured enough to layer in shades of many new influences: the loping ska beat of "Dull Boy" and "Going Gets Tuff," the playful disco beat behind the title track, or the Teardrop Explodes-like agitation of "Good Advice."

Not that the band left themselves much room to second-guess anything. The five spent about three weeks writing the tracks, and about half that time in the studio recording them. That may sound rushed, but it's not as if you can hear any strain on the finished product; Chinese Fountain is as rock solid and watertight as anything in their still-growing discography.

There's evolution to be heard in Chinese Fountain as well, courtesy of some of Nielsen's most pointed and poignant lyrics to date. He takes our obsession with the online world to task on the funky title track. When he drops the bomb that obliterates that most famous of Beatles' claims with "The internet is bigger than Jesus or John Lennon" he re-contextualizes Marshall McLuhan's "the medium is the message" in the same breath. He urges positivity no matter the obstacles ("Going Gets Tuff"). Too, he reveals a tattered heart to the world on tracks like "Rare Hearts" and "Love Test."

"This is my chance to let it all out," Nielsen says of these songs. "I kind of bottle things up and don't really get emotional. But I think if I don't open up, I'd be a really stale person."

"Their raucous set was like if the Velvet Underground had turned to the MC5 at their Boston Tea Party concert in 1968 and, instead of insulting them, had turned and made love to them—and that was how Lou Reed wound up wearing that dog collar. I couldn't make out a single lyric, but did they really close the set with 'Little Honda?'" --LA RECORD

"Swirling, distorted psych, bulldozed along by pounding primitive drums, fuzzed out vocals, all glued together with a heavy spaced out guitar drone. If that ain't the ingredients for record of the month my name is Prince Bloody William. Imagine if you will the best of THEE OH SEES jamming deep with MOON DUO, with the aid of some sort of retro type drug that only Brace Belden knows the name of and you would almost be right on the money. Heavy, without losing one single hook, repetitive without being the least bit boring and shamelessly stepped in the glory years of acid rock without being a boring regurgitating hipster. Be warned, this record will give you a contact high." --Maximum Rock N Roll #337

Gap Dream

From glam to gunk this Ohio trippy man can be found making his home recordings that range from Peter Koppes to Slade. Or just at home resting with his pretty little pup Judy. Nothing stands in Gabriel Fulvimar's way.

together PANGEA

together PANGEA do rock ‘n’ roll as it was meant to be – raw, unpredictable, and probably dangerous, but also blazing with intelligence, emotion, and edgy experimentation. The Los Angeles-based trio made their bones as purveyors of post-millennial punk, but with their third full-length release – and Harvest Records debut – BADILLAC, they pay their debt to the supersonic 90s rock that first inspired them. The band has not sacrificed a spurt of precious energy, instead integrating nuance and dynamic momentum to songs like “No Way Out” and the undeniably badass title track. The volcanic riffs and massive melodies are matched by an equally provocative lyrical stance, with songs like “Sick Shit” and the album-closing “Where The Night Ends” casting an acerbic eye over the wreckage of the party they helped start – it’s 3am and the drunken fun has given way to sexual panic, anxiety and self-doubt. Slightly stoned but by no means slack, BADILLAC reveals together PANGEA to be both confident and surprisingly committed, their audacious ambition already impossible to contain.

“It might be confusing for people, assuming we’re like this garage punk band and then hearing this record,” says singer/songwriter/guitarist William Keegan. “But we really don’t want to get trapped at all.”

Keegan first started writing and recording in his Santa Clarita bedroom, his teenage tapes eventually coming to full flower with the aid of bassist Danny Bengston and drummer Erik Jimenez. Known then simply as Pangea, the band played countless beer blasts in and around CalArts, their boozy mayhem and breakneck pop hooks quickly earning them frenzied crowds throughout the Southern California DIY scene and beyond. A string of seven-inches, cassettes, and LPs – including 2011’s ace second album, LIVING DUMMY, released by Burger Records and The Smell’s Olfactory label – followed, as did gigs alongside a veritable who’s-who of like-minded rockers, including Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Wavves, and The Black Lips (not to mention 2013’s epic “Burgerama Caravan of Stars” US tour).

BADILLAC was recorded with their longtime producer/engineer Andrew Schubert over three intensive sessions at his Tarzana studio, their roster augmented by second guitarist Cory Hanson (of the electronic pop outfit, W-H-I-T-E). While many bands in their position would have simply continued banging out the party punk, together PANGEA decided to throw a curveball at themselves and their fervent fanbase.

“We wrote like 30 plus songs for this record,” Bengston says, “half of which have the same punky bubblegum vibe of our last record. Then we had this other batch of songs, a little more melancholy, a little heavier, a little darker. I think in the end we just decided to try to not make the same record twice.”

“When I write, there are certain songs that I feel fit the band,” Keegan says, “and then there are songs where it doesn’t feel like they fit. At some point, I was like, maybe we should try some of the songs that don’t necessarily fit. Because I realized that they do fit – they’re just different.”

Though Keegan cites such unexpected heroes as Pete Seeger and 21st Century K Records artists like Little Wings and the Microphones, he fully fesses up to BADILLAC’s most primal inspirations. Indeed, songs like “Why” and the cello-laced “No Way Out” fuse classic post punk ambivalence with fist-pumping stadium rock, their neurotic hooks, throat-rending vocals, and fat, distorted riffs hearkening back to the glory days of the alternative nation.

“To me, the album is so obviously influenced by the shit that I was listening to when I was 16,” Keegan says. “Growing up in the 90s, all that stuff – Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer. It wasn’t conscious, the album just sounds like that. It feels like that music is etched in deeper that music I’ve listened to as an adult. For whatever reason, the music you listened to when you’re confused and young gets in deeper than anything you might listen to later.”

BADILLAC also sees together PANGEA stepping away from their association with a much-hyped scene they believe too often revels in its own idiocy, Keegan’s wry lyrics pushing both their music and subject matter towards unsettling themes of impotence, fear, ennui, and detachment.

“We think less and less about how we fit into this garage punk scene that we never even technically felt a part of,” Keegan says. “We just kinda get lumped into that. I’m not really stoked on what a lot of those bands are saying, there’s a lot of misogyny and stuff I’m not into.”

Like any angst-ridden tunesmith worth his salt, Keegan also directs his gaze inwards, coming to turns with his own cynical view of relationships on songs like the mordant “Offer,” their cracked melodies and jaundiced skepticism fueled by his recent romantic struggles.

“I went through a really difficult relationship where we were breaking up every three months for four years,” he says. “At the end of it, I was just like, “This is never gonna work.’ It was pretty intense and I think that informs a lot of the songs on the album.

“It’s kinda funny,” he adds. “As soon as we finished this record, we broke up for good.”

BADILLAC will drive together PANGEA through 2014, their imminent plans essentially consisting of touring until they drop. Nevertheless, the band finds themselves in the unprecedented position of having to ponder the future.

“We’ve been discussing where the next record is gonna go,” Bengston says, “we still haven’t put our finger on it yet.”

“It’s weird,” Keegan says, “because we never had to have those formal discussions, like, ‘What should the next record sound like?’ It’s always been pretty natural. Hopefully that’s what’ll end up happening again.”

Habibi is the brainchild of Rahill Jamalifard and Lenny Lynch. Together, the two Detroit natives started the all girl, Brooklyn based project in the spring of 2011. Growing up with the harmonious sounds of Motown and the punk attitudes of Quatro and Iggy, their music invokes the same simplicity and fiery spirit. Jamalifard's Persian ancestry and Lynch's love of Middle Eastern culture are evident in the bands name (Habibi's translation is my love in Arabic), their mystical lyrics, and their eastern tinged melodies. In the short span of time since their formation Habibi has captured the interest of audiences and labels abroad, eager to hear more of their simple and catchy songs. The four piece featuring Erin Campbell, on bass and Karen Isabel on drums look forward to their upcoming single and their first full length album.

The Memories

The folks that make up Gnar Tapes!

GNAR TAPES is a Portland based cassette collective and producer of new musics. We make limited edition tapes of bands and artists from Portland and beyond. We are devoted to making, spreading and advocating not just the admiration of cassettes and the new cassette culture, but also to living a band-to-band, label-to-label, friend-to-friend lifestyle and sharing with people all over the globe. Though we do not distribute tapes from other imprints, we are down to trade with other labels. Demos are always, always accepted and listened to. And hey, if you're ever in Portland drop us a line. Let's party. Forever.

Colleen Green

Inspired by the honesty of contemporaries like Mike Hunchback, the DIY aesthetic of early Thermals and Nobunny albums, and all the poppiest melodies of her favorite singles, stoned songwriter Colleen Green creates the original pop soundtrack to all the days you spend in a daze.

Green's strength is in application and in doing so she builds a familiar sound; at the same time it's unlike anything you've heard before. Her songs run the gamut in musical styles, from Ramones rip-off pop punk to dreamy stoned drone to getting-ready-for-da-club-shit.
I know a couple of things about Colleen Green.

One thing that's for sure: she's a songwriting phenomenon. She sings lovely, catchy, fuzzy songs that range from 80s pop goulash to psychedelic drone; from 90s power punk to homemade Sebadoh-style songs of heartache. Think of her as a sort of female Daniel Johnston, with her at home making comics, armed with a seemingly unlimited amount of well-composed songs, her lamentations on out-of-reach love, her self-medication, her bedroom recordings. She proudly displays her musical heroes' influences on her sleeve. She plays live shows alone on stage with only an electric guitar and a drum machine to accompany her.

Is she a genius? Who knows.

So let's get down to the bare bone facts. These are the things I know about Colleen Green to be true: Colleen Green sprouted up some years ago in Massachusetts, deep within the forests of the Merrimack Valley. She was raised by a loving family that brought her up on a steady diet of delicious oldies and sugary cereals. Colleen Green went to school, learned how to speak the language of the streets, and by second grade was rapping on school grounds. By the age of 11 she had discovered punk rock and never looked back. From that point on she was obsessed with music.

Green moved to Oakland, California in 2008 in search of hot sun, good bud, good buds, and nice boys. Fortunately, five of her best friends decided to join her, the best of which being Kayla. Along with their friend Steve O, Green and Kayla created the Full House House in West Oakland and invited countless great bands from across the nation and world to play in their living room. Kayla can be seen on the front cover of the "Green One" 7", and is also one of two main characters in Green's comic strip, "Real Shit Daily".

Recently, Green retreated to a cave in Los Angeles, where she can now be found sleeping, smoking, baking magical treats, and staring at the wall. Within two lonely months, Colleen had written and recorded Milo Goes to Compton; within five she had released both that tape and the 4 Loko 2 Kayla CD-R EP as well. Both of these albums have been in heavy rotation since the day they arrived in my mailbox.

Anyway, that is just the beginning of the Colleen Green story. If you can, get to know her. And text her. You will love her
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"A brutal gem for the real indie club bound to blow up speakers and inspire many bands out there to get way more creative (or violent) with their re-appropriation of 1960s Girls in the Garage tropes." --20 Jazz Funk Greats

"Like coffee for your ears." --Pitchfork

"Slightly snotty but totally cool fuzz pop music." --Neu Magazine

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