Saturday, August 6, 2016

Outside (B-side version) by Shallow Halls Is Embryonic Garage Rock That Feels Punk / Proto and In It's Own Way Perfect

photo by Joanna Bautista 

The wonderful thing about social media is how you can effortlessly stumble upon musical gems.
Shallow Halls is from Santa Fe Springs, California a pretty small city roughly 9 square miles plopped about 20 miles or so south of LA. It's borders reach out to Whittier, Pico Rivera and La Mirada. I grew up in East Whittier, a stone's throw away and worked in SFS for well over 10 years. It is full of industry. I remember frequenting McMaster Carr and the kind of iconic Oxman's Surplus that people think is in La Mirada but it is not. Santa Fe Springs sounds like a tourist destination. I mean it has the word "Springs" in it's name but for the young there is not a hell of a lot to do there and thus it is the perfect place to fuel garage rock.

When I first heard the track "Outside" (B Side Version) despite the spartan sound I thought of Thee Oh Sees. Maybe it was the pumping drive of the bass and drums or the Dwyer-esque guitar squeaks and sure the sound is smaller but I love the tones. The proto punk feel is royally solidified by the caterwaul vocals that have this retro punk posture. I always, always love these kind of vocals that hinge on that weird kind of dramatics that harkin back to that new wave punk aesthetic that is occupied by singers like Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) or Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo).  Yes "Outside" is embryonic stuff by a young band and in that rawness feels perfect to me. Great track and full of promise. The kind of promise often times stewed in hot sweaty garages in suburbia. Shallow Halls is George, Diego and Gary. That is all I know and I want to hear more.
Robb Donker

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