The lovechild of a studio experiment that was never meant to make it out into the wild, Los Angeles' American Royalty constructs an unlikely yet glowingly functional blend of dark garage rock and poignant electronica. This creative soundscape is topped off by the two vocal leads of Marc Gilfry and Billy Scher, whose pipes both seem to fall somewhere in the realm of where eerie and soul meet back on the other side; altogether resulting in one of the most innovative sounds to haunt independent music today.
The psychedelic blues-rock three piece has already begun making their mark on the road over the past year, turning heads in the touring circuit with their unorthodox stage set up, a penchant for sprinkling in reworked bits of both the classic and obscure, and an explosively energetic and entrancingly unique live performance.
The Orwells are made up of five 17-year-olds from Elmhurst, Illinois. They play rock n roll music. Their names are Mario, Grant, Henry, Dominick and Matt. They write songs — scratch that, primitive teenage battle cries — about girls and America and being suspended from high school. Although one might categorize The Orwells’ distinct brand of the blues as garage or punk, they would be wrong. The Orwells sound comes from a deeper, different place–a place both long forgotten and also timeless.
Tropical Popsicle is the brianchild of Tim Hines. Although seemingly brand new, the project began roughly two years ago as an avenue for the darker structures and soundscapes he was beginning to experiment with. The result is a beast unto itself; think beach boys on bath salts. Trop Pop's current form consists of Hines and 3 other miscreants that share their time in other notable local acts. These guys personify community but thrive on originality. Though the band is still embryonic, they have already began to make waves locally by releasing two 7 inches on San Diego's Volar Records and supporting well-established acts the likes of Beach Fossils, The Fresh & Only's, Times New Viking, White Fence & More.
"A cross somewhere between Syd Barret and Suicide"
It’s no wonder why The Zombies asked Mystic Braves to open their L.A. show last year. While the hometown favorites were barely even a blip on their respective parents’ radars when Odessey and Oracle was released, the psych-steeped five-piece sounds like they stepped straight out of the ’60s. And not in an obvious, someone’s-been-studying-their Nuggets-comps-until-the-grooves-give-out sort of way, either. We’re talking a richer, fuller plot of references (garage-borne greats like The Electric Prunes, The Chocolate Watchband and The Music Machine) that filter the band’s hook-centric purple haze through robust organ rolls, runaway guitar riffs, heat-stroked horns and a rhythm section that can only be described as “restless”.
Especially on Desert Island, a scrappy extension of the self-titled debut Mystic Braves dropped in 2013. From the ravenous opening remarks of “Bright Blue Day Haze”—the first song frontman Julian Ducatenzeiler wrote for the outfit, making it their mission statement in more ways than one—right on through the wild-eyed melodies of “Earthshake,” the filler-free effort is more aggressive than their last album yet about as immediately accessible as vapor-trailed rock music gets these days. It’s sunshine in a bottle, really, which can only be expected from a group with such deep California roots.
“The west coast has it all really—beaches, mountains, deserts, cities, suburbs,” explains Ducatenzeiler, who’s rounded out by drummer Cameron Gartung, guitarist Shane Stotsenberg, bassist Tony Malacara and organist/tambourinist Ignacio Gonzalez. “Our sound is merely a byproduct of the environments we grew up in and the experiences we had. We’re not trying to deliberately channel ’60s music, either; we simply write sensible pop songs from the heart with psychedelic textures and tones. It just comes natural to us.”
– Filter Magazine