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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Garage rock band Eureka California has a unique take on music

    Press Photo

    It started with a bedroom, where the often wonderfully underproduced sound that comes with it is undeniably one of the most romantic ideas that music has given us since the age of rock and roll.

    There’s a freedom that exists in such a space, which gets to the very core of do it yourself music: that anyone can, and should, start a band. Thankfully, a talented young man called Jake Ward heard the call, and started a band in his bedroom.

    The band that evolved from those early days, Eureka California, is now a full-fledged performing group based out of Athens, Ga that fluctuates in size and membership. Though Athens is a far cry from Tucson, Ward’s commitment to his craft and recording techniques rings true to poor, dreaming musicians everywhere. Even with the release of their new record Big Cats Can Swim, out on the Athens label Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records, Ward hasn’t had to change much about his band’s style.

    “I still record everything in my bedroom, so that part has stayed the same,” Ward says. From their earliest demos that exist on their Bandcamp to their more recent music, there’s a noticeable lack of any attempt at putting that recording sheen on any track. Even without using any distortion pedals, the vocals, guitar and drums all seem to blend together and occupy a shared, muddy space — one in which every part of the band contributes equally. Think of early R.E.M. or Guided By Voices.

    Big Cats Can Swim, on the other hand, sounds much more crisp, with Marie Uhler’s surf drums resounding more distinctly, while Ward integrates both his acoustic 12-string guitar and the clean electric sound from the earlier demos to give more depth and color to the music.

    “I’d only say the sound evolved because I’ve just gotten better at recording,” Ward said. “Each time I record with a band I get a little better.”

    Perhaps the most interesting sonic quality of Big Cats Can Swim, however is that Ward opted to record it in mono, mixing all sounds togther by recording through one recording source. It’s something Ward attributes to the influence that listening to The Beatles’ second album, With The Beatles, had on him during the recording process. It’s a curious reference point — especially considering the loud fuzz of Big Cats compared to the clean-cut rock on most of With The Beatles — but it’s a testament to Ward’s auditory sensibility that the relatively unconventional choice of recording in mono fits his band so well.

    In the end it’s the throwback feel and the innovative technique that makes Eureka California so special, a band that’s the perfect example of what all those bedroom bands out there could sound like if they just put a little heart into it.

    In the coming months, Eureka California is looking to release new material as well as tour, taking some time to travel through the midwest and New York to play the CMJ Music Marathon. In the meantime, keep on the lookout for new music from Eureka California on their Bandcamp and Facebook pages.

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