We’ve documented, pretty frequently, the bursting neo-psych and garage (i.e. just plain cool rock ‘n’ roll) scene in San Francisco in all it’s sweaty, fuzz-toned glory. Now we’ve got another far-out band to add to that list, and they call themselves Cool Ghouls.
The Bay Area boys behind the band are bassist Pat Thomas, guitarist Ryan Wong, drummer Alex Fleshman, and guitarist Pat McDonald. Cool Ghouls released their self-titled, debut record in April 2012. Tim Cohen of The Fresh & Onlys and Magic Trick produced the album. The final product hits all the right Nuggets-y high notes (“Queen Sophie” is a particularly cool, old school track), but the Cool Ghouls add bits that make their sound all theirs. For example, in the album’s closing track, “Earthquake,” the wobbly, tremolo’d guitar line that drives the tune and the horns that come in just behind it, lends a 60s, snaking world-beat feel to the song before it completely shifts to gentle, skyward gazing psych-pop.
“Grace“–a stomping R&B ballad off their self-titled–is another demonstration that they ain’t your average garage act. The guitars are jangly, and the production is just lo-fi enough to add that perfect amount of grit (but importantly, not too lo-fi to render it offensive to the senses–a common problem among many of garage and neo-pych’s accolytes). But there’s a romantic fire in the bellies of Cool Ghouls. Any ol’ band can sweat out a punk set, but it takes care, talent and, hell, soul, to turn in a slow-burn number like “Grace.” Cool Ghouls may be far-out, but they’re still earthy.
Cool Ghouls play tonight (January 13) at Hotel Vegas. But before you head to the show, you can download their Song of the Day below, AND check out a video of them performing “Grace” while yer attit.