Formed in Long Beach, California, way back in 2006, The Growlers’ lifestyle has always been a simple one; blending surfing and experimentation, both in music and road dog life. Now, with several moon cycles and a couple of hundred tunes behind them, Hung At Heart marks their latest release, offered up on 29th April via FatCat Records.
Having only occasionally tripped it across the ocean, it might come as a surprise to find out that this is The Growlers’ third full record, and despite initial dabblings with high-profile producers it’s as homegrown as they come, recorded by the band with no outsider input at their previous base in Costa Mesa. Their self-coined ‘bent sound’ is achieved with a high knowledge of modern day recording techniques, paired with the very finest outdated recording and amplified equipment.
The Growlers’ early songwriting was rooted in 1960’s rock and roll and skiffle, but gradually evolved with every mind-bending experience. After all sharing a warehouse right by Newport Beach, surfing, putting on bands and throwing parties, their shambolic sound and weirdo, extravagant showmanship naturally took shape, and hitting the road quickly earned them reputation for wild live shows and with that, a loyal following.
Within the fifteen tracks at play on Hung At Heart, fuzzy genius exudes at every spin; in singer Brooke Nielson’s tales of turning tall boys into champagne and bologna into steak on swooning opener ‘Someday’, and in the love songs that extol the virtues of the free market in mate selection (‘One Million Lovers’). These are warped pop songs; an occasionally unsettling circus of psychedelia, surf-rock and hints of country, fed with cryptic lyrics that follow the thought trails of Ty Segall, White Fence, Thee Oh Sees and Black Lips.
The Growlers are Brooks Nielson (vocals) Scott Montoya (bass guitar, vocals,), Matt Taylor (lead guitar, vocals) and Brian “don’t surf” Stewart (drums, vocals).