Garble's chaos theory
Making sense out of the local band’s fuzzed out post-punk
Most of Garble’s debut EP, Encrypted Zebra, released earlier this year, rides a delicate line between noisy, abrasive post-punk and hooky pop melodies—except for a hidden track, which sounds just like plain chaos: a collage of psychedelic, structure-free, dissonant sounds.
The local band shot a video for the song, giving it the name “What Do You See?” In a way, this song—even more than any of the record’s so-called proper cuts—makes for a window into its unhinged, unpredictable live set: Garble opens every show with an improvised noise-jam that’s brand-new, improvised and, like the hidden track, chaotic.
“We are kind of feeling the room, feeling out everybody,” says singer-guitarist Stephanie Espinosa of the tradition. “It cleanses the room, It gets everyone in a good place.”
Garble’s other songs are more contained within traditional punk and rock ’n’ roll beats, but still push at the boundaries of feedback and tone in a manner similar to bands such as Sonic Youth and Fugazi. Live, the sound is high energy, abrasive and vigorous.
Crafting a vibrant, aggressive edge is the band’s top priority. Well-written songs are important, but the music also needs to grab attention.
“Rock ’n’ roll has gotten soft in the last 10 years. This crap you hear on the radio is super soft and lullaby-ish. I’m sick of that shit,” says singer-guitarist Jaime Espinosa. “We use a lot of fuzz and push it as far as we can go.”
The Espinosas, who are married and previously played together for nearly a decade in Gonzo, formed Garble after they started writing songs together. Bassist David Adams and drummer Frank Tuna complete the band.
Jaime and Stephanie trade off on lead vocals, and along with Adams, create a lush, sometimes dissonant wall of vocal harmonies. The resulting sound is similar to Gonzo’s fuzzed out, jangly post-punk sound but more nuanced and sophisticated.
In its enthusiasm to get off the ground, the band decided to self-release its EP, which it recorded last September in the Espinosas’ basement. It also launched a label, Eat Some Music, and Adams produced Garble’s aforementioned video and is currently working on other clips.
Although the band only formed last year, it’s already forged a clear vision.
“We treat it like work. We want to be able to make money off of the band so … [it] can continue to grow and grow in popularity,” says Adams. “We feel so confident about the music and the band, and our ability to play—that we have the potential to go on from here, and play internationally.”
There’s nothing chaotic about that ambition, actually.