The Growlers are an American band from Southern California. They began their career in the Orange County city of Dana Point, California in 2006. They are currently based in Costa Mesa. The band is currently composed of singer Brooks Nielsen, lead guitarist Matt Taylor and keyboard player/guitarist Kyle Straka. They have released seven albums, several EPs and a number of singles. The band's sound has been described as "a trademark style of music that somehow combines surf, pop, rock and beat" which has been labeled "Beach Goth".
Singer Brooks Nielsen and music director/guitarist Matt Taylor met in high school in the beach town of Dana Point, California, bonding over surfing, skating, and partying. When offered the chance to perform at a house party, the duo quickly wrote their first six songs in a single day, leading to the first incarnation of the band that would eventually become The Growlers.
After releasing a handful of self-recorded cassettes and CDs, The Growlers issued their first studio album, Are You in or Out? in 2009 on Everloving Records. Aquarium Drunkard described it as “consistent in sound and tone that is as enjoyable straight through or on shuffle… Taken as a whole, the record is a beautiful mix of late 60’s freak-out, folk calmness and surf rock.” Their second album, Hot Tropics, was released in 2010, also on Everloving Records. The band's third album, Hung at Heart, the first to feature Anthony Braun Perry on bass and Jason Kaiser on percussion, was released in 2013. The band originally worked with Dan Auerbach to record the album, but the finished version never saw official release. Instead the band recorded a new version of the album in Costa Mesa, CA with Mike McHugh at his Distillery Recording Studio, to get a more lo-fi sound.
Chinese Fountain, their new "more grown up, well polished" album was released September 23, 2014. This album was produced by JP Plunier at Seahorse Studios in Los Angeles, CA. While touring the album, the band expanded their live band with percussionist Nick Murray.
The band's fifth studio album, City Club was released by Cult Records on September 30, 2016, while they embarked on a supporting tour in the same month. It was the first Growlers album to be credited solely to Brooks Nielsen and Matt Taylor, as opposed to the whole band. Nielsen and Taylor wrote and recorded demos for the album over a span of 2 to 3 months with the help of Kyle Mullarky at his studio in Topanga Canyon, CA. It was preceded by the title track as a single produced by Julian Casablancas, who also owns the label. Neither drummer Scott Montoya nor bass player Anthony Perry feature on the album. On September 25, the band confirmed Montoya's departure from the band and stated that Perry was set to return in the near future. The band toured for this album with Brad Bowers on bass, Adam Wolcott Smith on keyboard, and Richard Gowen on drums. Whether their membership in the band is permanent is currently unclear.
The band released Casual Acquaintances on July 27, 2018, a collection of demos and unused material from the City Club sessions.
Allegations of misconduct
In July 2020, allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against the band, along with other artists associated with Burger Records and the Southern California surf and garage rock music scene. Arrow De Wilde, the lead singer of the L.A. rock band Starcrawler, shared a personal encounter on her Instagram. In her post, Arrow claims she was assaulted by a male stripper hired by The Growlers while they were on tour together in Australia. In a statement issued via Instagram on July 31, 2020, Growlers singer Brooks Nielsen took "full responsibility and accountability for the behavior of all Growlers' band members, past and present," and announced that Matt Taylor would temporarily leave the band. Additionally, former Growlers touring keyboardist Adam Wolcott Smith admitted to an incident of abuse on his Instagram, while on tour with his band Zen Mother.