The Growlers

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There's a certain unpolished, heartfelt, and loud-as-hell aesthetic one has to have to play
garage rock. The good news is that once you have that down, garage rock is one of the most
flexible styles of music on the planet. At least that's the conclusion one comes to when listening
to the catalog of Los Angeles-based band The Growlers.
Together for almost 15 years, The Growlers are still finding variations on the garage rock
formula. With singer Brooks Nielsen's endearingly broken-hearted vocals out in front of Matt
Taylor's wiry guitar and well-chosen chords, there doesn't seem to be anything they can't throw
into the basic rock 'n roll mix. The psychedelia in their early work is one thing; there were plenty
of bands from the late '60s who melded unearthly harmonies and odd production choices to
garage rock. But The Growlers’ most recent turn has been to synths and dance music, as
displayed on their 2016 album City Club (produced by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas) and
damned if it doesn't still work really well. Their quality control is also through the roof; in 2018,
the band released Casual Acquaintances, a collection of outtakes and B-sides from the City
Club sessions, and pretty much every song could have ended up on the proper album. (Vincent
Harris)