Lolipop sock hop
Los Angeles label parks its garage in Chico
Lolipop Records has been cranking out rock ’n’ roll via the pure format of the cassette for four years now. These days the label puts out albums from dozens of artists of the garage-rock variety, including White Fang and even a cassette single from thee legendary Oh Sees.
Lolipop opened its storefront record shop in July of last year, located in the heart of garage rock’s sunny summer home of Los Angeles. And four bands from the growing roster will be making an appearance in Chico as part of the Lolipop Records Revue, a roving sock hop that’ll get even the wallflowers to the dance floor when it stops at the Maltese Bar & Tap Room Monday, June 23. Here’s a sneak peek of the action, with a few words from some of the players.
If I didn’t know these guys were in their 20s, I’d swear my parents probably grooved to Mystic Braves in Southern California circa 1966. Hailing from the hotbed that gave us the Seeds and the Electric Prunes, this Glendale four-piece sounds the part, they look the part, and they do it well. Mystic Braves just released their second LP on Lolipop, Desert Island, which is loaded with the kind of psychedelic rock ’n’ roll that made the girls squeal back in the day. The band recently opened for The Zombies (yes, the Odyssey and Oracle Zombies): “It was surreal in every way,” said frontman Julian Ducatenzeiler. “Met the guys and they claimed to love our sound. A friend of ours got Colin [Blunstone, Zombies vocalist] to sing a cappella with us—pretty magical. And we get to do it again in August!”
Simone Stopford throws all sorts of musical styles into her cauldron with Burning Palms, whose debut Church of Ra emanates mysticism from another time. “I’m pagan and I’m fascinated with Wicca, Egyptian magic, the occult … white magic,” she explained. “So the concepts and symbols connected to these themes usually bleed into our music.” The UK-Australian-South African citizen now resides in Tucson, Ariz., where she was drawn to the Saguaro Desert. You can hear the unforgiving terrain in Burning Palms’ music, too. What started as stripped-down murder ballads has turned into another creature altogether with the addition of a full band. “We’re now less about being morose, and more about jumping up and down,” Stopford said.
The Electric Magpie
Over the past decade the Bay Area has become a hotbed of retro rock, and San Francisco’s The Electric Magpie is looking to keep it that way, as fellow garage-rockers Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees have both recently fled the city for sunny (less expensive) LA. This five-piece keeps the hooks sharp and the attitude snotty, and you won’t hear a more fun song than “Airport Blues” from their new Lolipop release, Begins. “The rawness of our record was mostly because of the lack of funding,” explained vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Peter Maffei. “Songs like ‘Airport Blues’ have a clear garage influence, but as a band we are trying to move forward and add even more dynamics to our music.”
Another Southern California band that remains parked in the garage. There are hooks o’ plenty on Corners’ full-length Beyond Way, which singer-guitarist Tracy Bryant said began as an experiment on a Tascam four-track tape recorder. The power trio has since released a split 7-inch with fellow LA-LA-landians Dirt Dress. It’s garage rawk fun, but there’s plenty more to chew on. “We never found it difficult to stand out from the influx of garage rock bands,” Bryant explained. “We draw influences from late-’70s punk and many other things we’re inspired by, so it never felt like a chore to try to be different.”