If you like your riffs big and your guitars loud, chances are you’ll fall in love with PAPA. The Los Angeles-based duo of Darren Weiss and Danny Presant make the kind of bright, anthemic blues rock that put bands like The Black Keys and Cold War Kids on the map. On their debut full-length, the recently released Tender Madness, Weiss and Presant dish up 12 tracks that rumble to life with the help of some seriously toe-tapping drum work. More impressively, though, the album does legit justice to the pair’s live show, which is a sight to behold in and of itself. Despite PAPA’s small size, Weiss and Presant deliver a show that expertly navigates between high energy and intricate collaboration; it’s good, loud, sweaty fun, and it’s utterly danceable to boot.
Named for Weiss’s larger-than-life grandfather, PAPA pulls from places all over the music map. “[My grandfather] was a man who grew up with fire in his blood,” said Weiss. “By the time he was 13 his family had to move several times because people were out to kill him for getting into trouble and getting into fights with a lot of gangs in Chicago. There was no American identity for him to really latch onto.”
As such, Tender Madness feels like a referential ode to the American songbook. The guitar tones are garage-y and tinged with twang; the drums are tightly wound and kinetic; and the vocals draw fair comparison to crooners like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
This Saturday, November 23, PAPA returns to Santa Barbara in support of Tender Madness. The band pays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) at 8:30 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and info.