Top Five Must-See Shows in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

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Saturday, January 5: The Growlers @ Crescent Ballroom

Go ahead and call The Growlers "beach goth." It's not only an apt term that hints at the Orange County band's sound -- dark psychedelic rock with a slacker, surfer edge -- but when The Growlers put together a big homecoming show in October, they called it a "beach goth party" themselves.

Like fellow road warriors Dr. Dog, The Growlers find a way to take a rock-history lesson's worth of influences and spit out something unique. That's on record. Live, the band is a bunch of costumed firecrackers, plugged into some weird cosmic energy. The band's third album, Hung at Heart, will be released January 22 on Everloving Records. At 15 songs and 50 minutes, it's a sprawling statement of inclusiveness for The Growlers, but the songs of Brooks Nielsen and Matt Taylor always maintain some core of poppy magnetism.

"Someday" and "Pet Shop Eyes" are hum-alongs that start with a bit of country, while "One Million Lovers" sounds like a long-lost Kinks tune. The Growlers' label calls them a "band of merry menacers," which is certainly true. But those menacers have already hit the stages at Coachella and Lollapalooza and are poised to be one of the early breakout bands of 2013. -- Eric Swedlund

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