Artist of the Week: The Growlers

Photo by Taylor Bonin




The Growlers are one of the few bands that I have experienced in my music listening career that truly give me the feeling of being transported into a different time, while still retaining the modern touches that make me love them.

The Growlers formed in southern Orange County in California in 2009, and take influences from both Californian surf rock and the psychedelic movement during the 60’s.  This sound was so vastly different from what had come before that it caused them to coin their own name for The Growlers genre: Beach Goth.

And there really is no better way to describe their music.

Their first album, Are you in or out? (2009) was an instant success on my end. It is chalk-full of classic, laid back beach tunes that really hit you where you need to feel it. Are you in or out? can take you from rom the upbeat, carnival-style “Barnacle Beat”, to the somber ballad “Wet Dreams” to provide a truly unique listening experience.

Their next LP, entitled Hung at Heart (2013)however, is a different beast entirely. This is one of the most brilliantly composed albums, in my opinion. It combines elements that range from neo-psychedelia, all the way to old to sea shanties reminding me of a Robert Shaw record. Drunken sailor, anyone?

All of the melodies in the track listing are so beyond beautiful. Brooks’ vocals are so unique, and fit like a glove with the song composition. “One Million Lovers” is one of the best tracks of the decade, with their beautiful use of Doors-esque keyboards, and the off-beat drums and guitars blend so naturally. “Beach Rats” is a much more simple track, that is classic, laid back beach music that is sure to put anyone in a good mood. Hung at Heart also has some of the most gorgeous artwork I have seen in my music listening career.

And finally, their most recent full-length LP, entitled Chinese Fountain (2014), is much more polished and clean-cut than any of their previous work, but it does not suffer from it. Every track is memorable and more beautiful than the last. The title track is especially fun, reminding me of a 70’s or 80’s disco-style pop song, while still very much feeling like the Growlers. Lyrically the songs can actually be quite dark, like the track “Going Gets Tough”, describing the death of one of the bands most trusted friends after burning down their house. While being very sad, the song is very uplifting, reminding us “That the labor of our love will reward us soon enough”

The Growlers have plenty of other music, ranging from EPs to collab albums, and it’s all worth checking out. In the end, all I have to say is give The Growlers a listen. Especially if you’re going to the beach, there’s nothing better to hear than pleasant tunes by guys who really love what they do to.

What do you think? Love them? Hate them? Recommendations? Sound off in the comments below!