Saturday, October 8, 2011


If there's one thing I've learned about music over the years, it's that you can be turned on to stuff anywhere at any time. I was in Laguna Beach earlier this week, and stopped in Thalia Surf Shop, a shop that's not quite your standard surf shop. My first clue was the T shirts they were selling that had their logo in the style of the lettering of Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass LP "Whipped Cream & other Delights" (which I recognized because I ripped off the same lettering for this post). Then there was the art on the walls, all of which was pretty damn cool (though not for sale). They had boards shaped by the Campbell brothers, whose boards I hadn't seen since they introduced Bonzers in the seventies (and had no idea they were still shaping), and a selection of surf movies that indicated they knew their shit. After browsing and chatting with the two guys that were working, it seemed that we were on the same wavelength (no pun intended), so I dropped my usual guard. Then they told me that they were just starting to sell records. Probably because I'm no spring chicken, one of them showed me one of the "Back From the Grave" compilations (you should all know those, right?). Then they started flipping through the rest of their inventory, and raved about this band and that. Two they seemed to be pretty nuts about were the Mattson 2 and the Growlers.

The Mattson 2 are a two piece, guitar and drums, that play, for lack of a better description, a kind of jazz-inflected surf music, with the guitarist using a loop pedal. That's not really all that accurate, but if you've already checked out the video above, you know the type of stuff your in for. It isn't the fast paced stuff (i.e. Dick Dale), it's more like surf music for slow motion sequences in surf movies. The Growlers stuff is kind of a neat pot of sounds. They can sound lo-fi western, with a little twang, but without the country. They've got some pretty wicked touches. Dig the sloppy pseudo-mariachi horns on "Gay Thoughts," the horn players sound drunk. They can also sound like some weird hybrid of the early Modern Lovers and the Doors, in practice-room-o-phonic (check "What It Is").

Mattson 2 - Black Rain mp3 at Sloan Ranger
Mattson 2 - Longing of the Leftist mp3 at The Audio Muffin
Mattson 2 - Three songs and interview, podcast at Dirty Thursdays
The Growlers - What It Is mp3 at Fun Fun Fun
The Growlers - Gay Thoughts mp3 at Fellino
The Growlers - Good Feeling mp3 at Fellino
The Growlers - Empty Bones mp3 at Hell's Belles
The Growlers - Sea Lion Goth Blues mp3 at Listen Before You Buy
The Mattson 2 - Black Rain at YouTube
The Mattson 2 with Ray Barbee- Short Strokes at YouTube
More Mattson 2 videos at YouTube
The Growlers - What It Is at YouTube
The Growlers - The Graveyard's Full at YouTube
The Growlers - People Don't Change Blues at YouTube
More Growlers videos at YouTube
The Mattson 2 - official site
The Growlers - official site
Unsolicited plug:
Thalia Surf blog

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