Formed in 2010 following the dissolution of electro-dance band The Analog Society, The Echo Bombs aimed for a more lo-fi approach, a la Best Coast. Now they're switching gears again with their first full-length, King of Uncool. It's more primal and creepy as fuck, with sludgy garage-rock riffs that typify characters with "blue skin, hands of a dragon" and "like the taste of teens."
"We were going for minimalistic and energetic like Pixies," lead singer Eddie Horn says. "Sex Bob-omb [from the Scott Pilgrim movie] was one of our big inspirations as well, even though it's just a movie band."
But despite being around for four years, The Echo Bombs haven't released much. After frontwoman Cecilia Olea left the band to focus on her work in Sedusa, the Bombs restructured themselves and completely changed direction and the result is the darker, grittier King of Uncool.
So what exactly does that mean, to be "King of Uncool?" Horn says the album themes were inspired by shows at the now-defunct Parliament and feeling alien even in the fringe culture for which it was known.
"We definitely feel uncool in both the traditional shallow meaning of being 'cool' and popular and also in an awkward out-of-place kind of way," Horn explains. "Often I would end up [at Parliament] alone and it would be an awkward affair of arriving too early and being that weird, quiet kid waiting out front. Between the sets everyone would go outside to form their small groups of friends and smoke while I just lingered by the door."
Eventually, Horn was approached by Gage Olesen, co-founder of Rubber Brother Records, who told him how much he appreciated his consistent support at these shows.
"It helped me turn something that felt unnatural and odd into a badge of pride," Horn says. "In my head it became 'Screw these other kids. I'm the King of Uncool. I uncool so hard it's cool.' And that's a good summation of our band. We're dorky, passionate, awkward, opinionated dicks, and we strive to make music that's honest to that."
Even for a three-piece, Echo Bombs show a lot of range. Self-described as "psycho surf," the band mixes the lo-fi edge of garage rock with a grungy aggression. They get swampy on "Creeper" or blast melancholy crescendos on "Summerlong" while "Tear It Down" takes Dick Dale and the Deltones to a scuzzy truck stop restroom and gives it a flushie.
Rubber Brother Records will be releasing the album, mixed at Audioconfusion (responsible for some recent Andrew Jackson Jihad and Playboy Manbaby releases) by Jalipaz Nelson, who the band credit as taking a big role in its production. But this is only the beginning (a new beginning?) for The Echo Bombs.
"We are planning for a West Coast tour around spring break," Horn says. "We have about half enough songs for another full release, but I think we will maybe hold onto those for a split with some buddies or maybe release them in little bite-sized installments."
According to the Bombs' bassist Daniel Endicott, Echo Bombs will be working with a PR company starting January, hoping to land some radio and TV play.
"We're very excited about the music were making," Endicott says. "[We] think that we'll get a good response once it's out there in the proverbial ether."
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