Cult Californians The Growlers, original purveyors of that curious sub-genre of music known as ‘beach goth’ (their own unique take on surf/psych/garage sounds, with a twist of goth), are returning to our shores once again over the summer, on their ‘Australian Beach Goth 2019’ tour.
They’ll be kicking things off with four shows in our neck of the woods, in Byron Bay, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and also a highly anticipated show right here on the Gold Coast, at the Miami Marketta on 10 January.
Founder and lead singer Brooks Nielsen, on the line from the States, is champing at the bit to once again bring the band back to Australia, which, by his reckoning, is the fourth time they’ve been out here. Our fans and climate obviously agree with the band and their cruisy, Californian ethos, having also performed at the Miami Marketta on their previous tour of 2017, which Nielsen describes as “playing to a bunch of drunk, wild Aussies.” I asked him why he thought the band and Australia have such a strong affinity. “Coming to Australia (for the first time) was kinda a dream tour for us. Our early tours were often winter tours in the snow in the USA. We ended up getting very homesick and missing the beach. And definitely when you’re leaving here and jumping from our winter straight into your summer, you can’t beat it.”
The band recently released the album ‘Casual Acquaintances’, consisting of demos, outtakes and less polished versions of surplus tracks from their previous ‘City Club’ record. It signals a return to the original, grittier roots of their formative sound, and also marks the first record on the band’s own label, the rather aptly named ‘Beach Goth Records and Tapes’. I asked Nielsen if the band felt a strong pull to bring things back in-house and return to their much loved early sound, after their recent flirtations with a more polished studio veneer and using a ‘name’ producer in the form of Julian Casablancas, of The Strokes fame. “What we did in the beginning was always what we wanted to continue to do. I dunno, people around you in the industry kind of want to convince you of their old dinosaur way of how things work. And we tried it for a long time. I’m now finally following my gut instinct on basically everything, which takes it back to doing nearly everything yourself. After so many years of doing what other people tell you to do or want you to do, I got kinda sick of it. I hear myself a lot louder now. For the time being everything’s going through strict ground control.”
The band have also just put out a banging new single,’Who Loves The Scum’, another track they had up their sleeves from the fertile ‘City Club’ recording sessions. It will be available as a limited run 7 inch vinyl single on their upcoming tour. The band will also be bringing along a stack of other cool, unique merch that Brooks was pretty excited to share.. “We’re gonna be bringing out some custom vintage merch and some custom surfboards and we’ll be doing a pop up show in Byron and Sydney that will have a lot of our home made art. Plus board shorts and posters..tons of stuff. We’ve been doing that here, and we were like – you know what, we’re jumping into summer in Australia, it’ll give us another reason to party!”
Be sure to get along and party with The Growlers when they bring their Beach Goth tour back to our locales on the following dates. And in another fillip, groovy psych-dreamers The Babe Rainbow will also be on the bill for the Miami Marketta and Brisbane shows. Wowzat!
Thursday, 10 January: Miami Marketta, Gold Coast (with Babe Rainbow and local support band)
Friday, 11 January: The Brightside, Brisbane
Saturday, 12 January: Villa Noosa, Sunshine Coast
Sunday, 13 January: Byron Bay Brewery