the atolls–who shouldn’t be quiet

so, recently, i was asked to refer a band for an arts event, but the truth is, while i’ve interviewed plenty of muscians and have reviewed a kabillion songs, i didn’t actually have anybody local to refer. the husband, though, did. of course he did! he, the pre-eminent music snob in the household, is more knowledgeable about these things. i mean, dude is pretty hard to stump when it comes to music. for example: random song on the radio–what is it? he’ll know. inside a store, an intriguing song comes on. does he know it? of course. we also have the cd somewhere in the garage (i kid you not, one entire wall in our garage houses cds).

yet i digress.

the point here is that he summoned up a name of an indie-rock band one town over called the atolls, and lo-and-behold, the band was actually able to play the event. which was awesome! because we totally were looking forward to hearing them play, especially the husband who’d reviewed their album favorably (go HERE to read his original review). they’re a bit eclectic, at times introspective and at others youthful and silly.

but the show so didn’t go down the way it should have. and here’s why.

the arts event was held in claremont (for those of you out-of-towners, it’s a small college community outside of los angeles that shockingly goes quiet and calm early in the evenings) at a place that, upon first glance, seems like a quirky yet ideal location for a band to play a small set. but . . . then it was decided that the band had to dampen their drums, because the establishment didn’t want to annoy its neighbors.

okay, said the band. and they did. the first song started off the way you’d expect a live band who isn’t playing acoustically would (as they’d not been asked to go acoustic ahead of time). loudish (not too loud, though) and filled with energy. half-way through the song they were told they were too loud.


so the poor lead singer, daniel martin, took a few steps back from the mic and tried his best to sing quieter and play his guitar more muted. and i mean, it was bonkers, because their set list was blown out of the water with the duo scrambling to ascertain which of their songs (after joking with the husband and i earlier in the evening about how loud their new stuff was) would be appropriate and easy to convert into softer songs. my heart went out to them, it really did, because the atolls have a vibe about them that practically shrieks fun and loudness, and here they were, dripping wet from the bucket of water dumped over their heads.

when they got around to their set closer, a nearly impossible to neuter tune called older nazi boyfriends, it was make or break time. the band (and i think the audience?) were sort of like, screw it! let’s go out with a slightly diminished bang (because, hello–they’re nice dudes who were still trying their best to meet the sound requirements). so they played a wee bit louder, and the audience was totally into it. it was like a light was turned on in everybody, and there was this general sense of YES, YES, WE LIKE LOUD(ISH) MUSIC! AND IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT! LET’S ROCK! but, as i’m sure you can guess, somebody came racing in to say AHHH!!!! QUIET! QUIET! NO LOUD(ISH) MUSIC FOR ANY OF YOU!

which was hilariously sad. i mean, the band sort of was like, uh, seriously? and the audience was like, ARE YOU KIDDING US? and the song was pretty much cut off with a, “thanks for coming and listening to our crazy-ass set that so didn’t go the way we thought it would?”

it’s safe to say that the husband and i were like, oh, man, these dudes must HATE us for recommending them for this gig! but of course, the duo, the aforementioned daniel and drummer chris barela, were totally gracious about it afterwards.

so, since that went horribly awry, i’m gonna recommend them here to you all. here’s what you ought to know about the group: they don’t completely stick to one genre, which makes them interesting to listen to. and martin has a voice that reminds me of musical theatre, all rich and deep–like you can imagine him belting out those show tunes but at the same time completely buying him in an indie band, too.

tangles, the first song i want to share with you all, is appropriately quiet. i totally dig this song. it’s got this nice, muted guitar line that’s reminiscent of shoe-gazing, in a way, only the song is so not shoe-gazing. what it is, though, is a sad song (and oh, how i love me the sad songs)–all achy and bittersweet, about wanting more but having to accept what you have if you want to keep it at all.

tangles of wire tying you to the floor
your tangled bracelets follow me to the door
the perfect reason, if only a reason

find you by the river, impressions in the sand
you found exactly what you always wanted
hidden in your hands

tangles of branches, lifting me to the sky
your tangled fingers touching me up so high
the perfect lover, if only a lover

find you by the river, i’m sorry that i stare
you know how to make it look so easy
it’s more than i can bear

find you by the river, impressions in the sand

listen to/download the song for free below:

and, of course, i must share the turn-me-up, punkish older nazi boyfriends. it’s also a not-so-happy tune, about domestic violence, but day-um, is it infectious.

she said i’m only as wet as you make me
so i made her cry
she said you shouldn’t break my teenage heart
you’d like her to die

but that’s what you get when you mess with
older nazi boyfriends, that’s what you get when you
don’t shut your pretty mouth

she said i gave you everything that you wanted
so why aren’t you happy now
i said no
i know that your thoughts can’t turn me down
i wanted it now

but that’s what you get when you mess with older
nazi boyfriends, that’s what you get when you wear
your collar like a crown

but if he gave you all the thoughts that keep you
up at night, and if he said the meanest things and
didn’t treat you right, then girl go get your daddy’s
gun, put up a real fight, yeah!

that’s what you get when you mess with younger
beat up girlfriends, that’s what you get when you
beat on pretty black eyed girls

that’s what you get when you mess with younger
beat up girlfriends, that’s what you get when you
don’t shut your fucking mouth.

both of these songs are off of a self-entitled EP that you can grab for free off of the band’s bandcamp site. go HERE to do so. while you’re there, you can also grab their recent LP, get popular, for free, too! go HERE to get it.

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