Beach Goth Blues: The Growlers Invade Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Amoebite, August 29, 2011 02:15pm | Post a Comment
From the mezzanine level of Amoeba Music in Hollywood, one could count over 400 damp heads (itThe Growlers Amoeba Hollywood was unfairly hot in L.A. this past Saturday) eagerly awaiting a performance that could get even the most dehydrated youngster dancing. The Growlers, a band formed in Long Beach in 2006, performed a last minute in-store show after the cancellation of Sunset Junction, where they were originally scheduled to play.

Dressed in suspenders, jeans, sneakers, and oxfords, the six-piece group leaped into action and opened up with the song “Drinking the Juice Blues.” The full playlist was comprised of 11 songs that ranged across their first album, Are You In Or Out?, the 10” EP Hot Tropics, and their Record Store Day 7” Gay Thoughts. As hundreds sang along to favorites such as “Something Someone Jr.” and “Wandering Eyes,” the group matched the enthusiasm of the crowd with excellent chemistry and seamless effort.

If you were close enough to the stage, you could admire their unabashed and quirky offness: a large mass of foil draped over the drum kit, a hand-painted image on a guitar, a rustic pair of conga drums that had been spray-painted. To top it off was the charming vocalist Brooks Nielsen, dancing and swerving without shyness as one might do when they’re alone in front of a mirror. The group’s lo-fi sound, a blend of surf and garage with psychedelic nods, clash rewardingly with their lyrics, which reference displacement, morbidity, and the strangeness of the self.

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Hello to this blog. Goodbye to Sunset Junction (for now). Hello to the Growlers at Amoeba.

Posted by Billy Gil, August 25, 2011 07:19pm | Post a Comment
First of all: hello! This is my blog. It's called Pacific Standard Time. I'm attempting to cover L.A. bands -- perhaps some you have heard of, some you haven't -- with show previews, record reviews, interviews, and such. It has nothing to do with this, although that's cool too and you should check it out. If you are in a band or promoting one, please email me at to pitch me. YES!

Secondly, Sunset Junction will not be happening for the first time in its 31-year existence. While it's true that the festival that started as a way to bring together Silver Lake's Latino and gay communities had strayed pretty far from its roots, we're very sad to see this happen. For me, Sunset Junction was always something to look forward to before I lived in Silver Lake -- a reason to check out the area, a place I saw Sonic Youth play for next to nothing, an alternative gay festival. We're all sad to see it (hopefully temporarily) halted.

But in the absense of that, something pretty cool has happened, something that makes me all the more excited to start this blog and celebrate a music community not known to the outside world for its community-ness: L.A. is picking itself up by its bootstraps and putting on a number of musical events anyway, starting with Amoeba, who will host Long Beach's The Growlers for an in-store performance and signing of their Record Store Day vinyl at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 25. The Growlers play a brand of dusty lo-fi rock that sounds like it could have been recorded at any given point over the past three decades. They touch upon elements of surf rock, Nuggets garage rock, reverby indie rock, and psych pop in a way that feels seamless and inviting. I've been listening to Hot Tropics (2010, CD) and Are You In Or Out? (2009, LP) on loop in preparation and can't wait to see these guys live again. (See Amoeba's post for more information).

Also, the Echo and Echoplex will be hosting some of the ousted bands including the Butthole Surfers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Dios, and Craft Spells at and around their venues on Saturday and Sunday. Find out more at the Echo's site. Additionally, What Cheer? bar will be hosting bands like Black Apples and He's My Brother, She's My Sister on Saturday and Sunday. Check out the Facebook invite here.