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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Growlers bring beach goth to Congress


    Courtesy of Taylor Bonin

    Members of The Growlers pose with their instruments in a field of flowers. The band will be performing at Hotel Congress at 7 p.m.

    Surf-rock without the neon-rimmed sunglasses, black-and-white beaches, heavy guitars and bittersweet lyrics — that’s the signature sound of Orange County-based band The Growlers. “Beach Goth” is the self-chosen label of the group’s musical style and, at the same time, the name of a festival they’re inviting like-minded musicians to once in a while. Though the next official festival won’t be until this October, The Growlers are bringing a preview to Hotel Congress tonight.

    Laid-back, dark and psychedelic melodies, as well as melancholic lyrics, are what The Growlers specialize in. The newest example for that is the band’s fifth studio album, Chinese Fountain, which was released last September.

    “You think that you know more about being lonely,” sings Brooks Nielsen, lead singer of The Growlers, on the first single of the album, Good Advice. The video for the single shows the band in a wooden church, a sweater vest-wearing Nielsen playing the preacher while an anaconda winds and twists in his hands. And there it is again: the black-and-white color scheme that seems to have attached itself to the band. 

    “I get so lonely, no one’s allowed to hold me,” Nielsen finishes wearily. 

    With close to 10,000 Facebook fans collected over the span of nine years as a band, The Growlers occupy the sweet space between insider tip and buzzband. Still, the band has been on the radar of major surf and skateboarding brands for a while now. The band just finished a series of promo gigs for Billabong and Monster Children in Australia and New Zealand. 

    The Growlers are notorious for their live performances. The band’s website boasts that The Growlers play close to 150 shows each year, making for plenty of practice in front of various live audiences. Nielsen and his bandmates will kick off their North American tour in Tucson this evening before playing shows throughout February and March. Having gained more recognition than ever with their newest effort, Chinese Fountain, things seem to be moving quickly for the five Californians. 

    The band, which consists of Nielsen, guitarist Matt Taylor, drummer Scott Montoya, bass player Anthony Perry and keyboardist Kyle Straka, has gotten pretty good at what it’s doing. 

    “We were never really good musicians,” Nielsen said in an interview with Spin magazine last May. After having “kind of relied on getting drunk a lot” throughout the first years as a band, Nielsen said, “It’s really amazing how good the band sounds. It trips me out.”


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