You can take one look at California band Mystic Braves and see the 1960s oozing from its members — from their shaggy bangs to their fashion sensibilities, which include everything from colorful striped pants to swirly paisley and floral-print shirts.
The look is surely what helped inspire their landlord to dub the group the "Mexican Beatles," which they think is appropriate given the heritage of most of the group's members.
"Four of the five of us are of Latin descent," singer and guitarist Julian Ducatenzeiler says. "I'm Argentinian, Tony Malarca [bass and vocals], Shane Stotsenberg [guitar and vocals], and Ignacio Gonzalez [organ and tambourine] are Mexican."
"Oh," he adds, "And we've got Cameron Gartung [drums]; he's our classic gringo."
The clothes aren't the only thing about these guys celebrating the bygone era of the psychedelic '60s. Mystic Braves' sound has plenty to do with it, too. It's a trippy, kaleidoscopic blend of pop, surf, garage, and psychedelia played with a subtlety that locks the doors on you before you realize you're going on a long, strange trip. And once you're on the journey, you don't mind at all.
Psych-pop-rock legends the Zombies invited the band to open for them in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. It was a sign the band might be on to something. Ducatenzeiler says for Mystic Braves it was "definitely a dream come true."
The group's throwback sound isn't anything new for the members of the band, just another step in their musical evolution.
"We had all been in bands previously, and our groups shared bills together," Ducatenzeiler says. "Everything we were all doing was rooted in an older sound, so it made sense for us to go the way we did when we came together to form Mystic Braves."
They feel their sound combines their love of the styles they play and is reflective of their California upbringing as much as it is of the past, but they don't mind that it's often mentioned.
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"There are a whole lot of 1960s-esque bands out there making music these days, so we don't at all mind being credited as one of them that are bringing the sound into the current mix of things."
As for what the future looks like for Mystic Braves, the band is looking forward to dropping a new full-length; this one will be its third. It doesn't sound as though there's a title yet, but the band is thrilled that it's being produced by Rob Campanella, who has worked with the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dead Meadow, and Beachwood Sparks. Ducatenzeiler also has a solo project called Little Girl Blue, and Stotsenberg and Gonzalez are in Creation Factory, for those who want to see what else these guys are up to musically.
Right now, though, Ducatenzeiler says they are just focused on enjoying Mystic Braves' tour.
"We are glad that everything is going smoothly and that we haven't had too many run-ins with authorities in states known for being less than liberal," he says. "We also like motels and eat a hearty breakfast each and every day."