Top 5 L.A. Garage Rock Bands
After forty-odd years of revivals and re-imaginings, garage rock isn't much of a clear-cut genre. Here in L.A., though, where garage is a persistent fixture in the venues and living rooms, you start to find a more consistent sound. It's usually something like surf rock with a rough exterior -- a raw, lo-fi groove that reverberates behind a thick wall of fuzz. For the most part, it's not too far removed from the sounds produced by garage's earliest acts, including native legends like The Seeds and The Electric Prunes. It's still going strong, and here are the best five bands doing it in L.A.
Mutations cuts right to the chase, doing garage rock fast and dirty with a flair for fuzzbox vocals and a strict allegiance to the time-honored tenets of three-chord rock. Call it basic if you want, but this no-frills auditory attack style is a garage staple, and these guys are happy to keep tradition going.
Taking cues from post-war doo-wop standards and the tight knit British guitar pop of the late '60s, Neverever offers a gentle, upbeat sound that stands firm in its throwback appeal. Singer Jihae Meek's tremolo vocals are the main attraction, carrying loud and clear over simple melodies swathed in deep layers of distortion.
3. The Blank Tapes
The Blank Tapes are the brainchild of Matt Adams, prolific songwriter and modern day coastal nomad. He's gone from L.A. to SF and back again over the last few years, amassing a catalogue so hefty along the way you've got to stop and wonder whether the guy does anything other than write music. His latest album, Invisible Colors, is a collection of lo-fi rock tracks marked by a distinct So-Cal charm that drips with surf influences.
2. Dirt Dress
Sparseness defines Dirt Dress. All the usual garage markers are there -- the reverb, the distant vocals, the straightforward rhythms and popping beats -- but the group uses each sound sparingly, constructing tracks that are stark and minimalist but thick with character.