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Crystal Antlers

By Carlos Ramirez

Crystal Antlers: Wild at Heart

Any band can take a kitchen sink approach to songwriting but the ones who can truly craft something of substance out of it are few and far between. Long Beach, California's Crystal Antlers pull from a sonic palette that includes everything from 1960s styled psych-rock and Stax soul to Sonic Youth informed noise tapestries. Despite their wide-eyed writing style, drummer Kevin Stuart tells SESAC that things happened in a completely organic way, "We were all in punk bands that broke up around the same time, and were all looking to do something new. The sound that we have developed is just what happens naturally when we play together."

To say that the band's self-released EP (2008) caused a stir in the indie world would be a tremendous understatement. Everyone from the famously fickle Pitchfork Media to the tastemaking blog CokeMachineGlow.com sang the band's praises with Prefix Mag gushing, "...there is a single-minded energy to this music that takes it out of the realm of self-conscious science and into the bodily graininess and grandeur that, if you like rock music, you instinctively know and need." Riding the momentum, the band signed on with indie rock institution Touch and Go Records and released their debut album, Tentacles, in the spring of 2009.

"There are times we will work on a song idea for months before we can figure out what to do with it. There are normally several different versions of most of our songs with alternate arrangements and instrumentation that we will write before we decide on what we think is the most interesting."

Whatever their formula is, Tentacles garnered more of the same critical adoration that their EP enjoyed and with a crammed touring schedule and new listeners discovering their intoxicating sound daily, Stuart assured us that their wild spirited modus operandi will remain unchanged. "We are going to try and surprise you."

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