If thumping, cacophonous percussion and hauntingly narrative lyrics are your thing, then, boy, have we got the show for you. This Tuesday, the San Diego rockers of Writer make a stop at Muddy Waters Café to headline a night of artfully distorted music in support of the band’s soon-to-be released full-length, Brotherface.
As indicated by the album title, Writer is the namesake and creative project of brothers Andy and James Ralph. Together, the pair dishes up a twisted and surprisingly inventive mix of grinding guitars, vintage organs, and smartly delivered speak-sing vocals, all awash in a blur of lo-fi production tactics. On record and in person, frontman Andy Ralph immediately calls to mind former Pedro the Lion frontman David Bazan, with emotive and resonating lyrics and a subtle but striking aversion to choruses. Orchestration-wise, the band mixes pointed and plucking guitar work with buoyant breakdowns (“Miss Mermaid”), found sounds (“North Park Fairies”), and, at times, even tribal-inspired drum and tambourine work (“Hot Days”). But what might sound mismatched on paper translates shockingly well in recorded form, resulting in a sound that falls somewhere between an emo-infused Local Natives and a hard-rocking, fuzzed-out Weezer.
Better yet, Tuesday’s show also boasts sets from local (and semi-local) favorites House of Wolves and The Spires. Former Coral Sea-er Rey Villalobos has been fine-tuning his sometimes-solo House of Wolves project in recent months, and is now touting an impressive debut full-length. Titled Fold in the Wind, the album is a warm and lyrically haunting exercise in what we S.B. dwellers have long known to be Villalobos’s strengths. (Read: subtle and hushed guitar tones, ’50s pop influences, and a high-register vibrato.) In turn, Ventura’s The Spires have delivered some of our all-time favorite live sets. The three-piece prides itself on its guitar work, and frontman Jason Bays can most definitely deliver the distortion-heavy solos. Add to that a penchant for Pavement-style lo-fi, and you’ve got the makings for a rocking good time.
Writer, House of Wolves, and The Spires play Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.) this Tuesday, July 26, at 8 p.m. Visit clubmercy.com for tickets