If you have yet to hear the rockin’ group Cool Ghouls live, do not miss their performance at the 2014 Noise Pop Festival next Wednesday, Feb. 26th at Brick and Mortar Music Hall.
Folk, psychedelic, surfer, and 60’s garage rock are a few of many genres used to describe the sound of Cool Ghouls. The band manages to create a unique medium between old and new influences by drawing from each members’ musical capabilities, whether it be yodeling in songs like “Supernatural Forces” or 60’s garage rock, guitar riffs from the song,“Witch’s Game.” Each song draws from various influences making the Cool Ghouls material easy to differentiate between other San Francisco garage rock bands. Their unique, raw sound comes from the three vocalists, Pat McDonald, Pat Thomas, and Rayn Wong. McDonald’s groovy and soothing voice takes over in songs like “Grace”, while Thomas’ surfer-rock voice is dominant in the summer tune, “Natural Life.”
Having met in high school, the band finally decided to act on their music abilities in 2011 in the rolling hills of San Francisco and form Cool Ghouls. In December 2011, the ghouls released a “sneak peek” of three songs featuring the popular hit and splashin’ summer tune, “Hot Summer.” Eight months later, digital album“Alright Cassette” was released with six tunes and a sharp west coast influence. Following the release of “Alright Cassette” was the drop of its self-titled album on April 23, 2013 with ten songs full of twang, excitement, yodeling, and psychedelic pops.
Cool Ghoul’s later received praise from its song, “Hot Summer”and was included in the polyvinyl compilation, “I Need You Bad,”(released Nov. 26, 2013) featuring other acclaimed garage-rock bands in the San Francisco music scene. Pitchfork writer, Evan Minisker said, “I’d highly recommend ‘Hot Summer’ by Cool Ghouls, a jangling surf tune that you’ll want in your backpocket come beach season.”
Old influences from the 60’s like Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, as well as fresh San Francisco acts like The Fresh & Only’s and Thee Oh Sees, are a few of the many bands that inspire Cool Ghouls’ old and new sound, that is far from “retro.” In an interview following the release of “Cool Ghouls” with bestnewbands.com, the band said, “That whole sound informed us, or we kind of pull from it. We share a lot of common ground in terms of rock and roll standards.”
For Cool Ghouls, San Francisco plays a vital role in its process of making and performing music.
“In a way it’s a power source. A lot of our heart and soul and inspiration for the band come from where we’re from,” the band said. “I don’t know what it would sound like if we were doing it somewhere else.”
Cool Ghouls last appeared on the stage on Feb. 5 at The Milk Bar on Haight St. playing along with opening bands, That Ghost and Midnight Sons. Fans gave the band a warm welcome after its one month U.S tour in January, headlining music venues in Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama.
“I felt like I was brought back in time watching them play,” Huong Duong, a San Francisco community college student, said. “It was nice to see a band that is doing something different. Their sound differed in each song…creating a great atmosphere for a fun concert.”
When asked what concert-goers should expect at the next Cool Ghouls’ show, Wong said, “Its only going to get way cooler. It’s going to get more vibrant.”
Visit coolghouls.tumblr.com for some tunes and information about upcoming shows.