The first time I heard The Aquadolls, I thought I'd stumbled on an unheard gem from the 60's surf movement. Their songs are filled with tales of broken hearts and pop melodies that would have The Shangri-Las and Beach Boys wide-eyed in wonder. Hailing from Seal Beach, California the band (with Melissa Brooks on vocals/guitar, joined by Ryan Frailich on vocals/guitar, Christian Karapetian on drums, and Kailee Westwood on bass. ) recently decided to change the name of their band to Melissa Brooks, the charismatic lead singer's name. Since their formation in January of 2012, they have released a plethora of songs on Bandcamp and are releasing an LP entitled, "Stoked On You" in early 2014.
The band was kind enough to share the first single from the new album, for free. "Wander is a song I wrote a year ago, right after I met Ryan. The song is about taking chances, questioning doing things outside of your comfort zone, and then deciding to take that chance and "trip out". Wander is about finding yourself through experimentation.", said Melissa whilst describing the song.
The band is just one of a wave of bands from southern California that have been championed by Burger Records. The label specializes in music that leans towards a lo-fi, surf and pop sound, releasing records on vinyl and cassette. The likes of The Growlers, The Audacity, King Tuff and Mikal Cronin have released music through the Burger label, making them a highly influential label in the U.S..
While Melissa Brooks shares something in common with the other bands that started with Burger Records, they have definitely have created a buzz that doesn't depend purely on the label for support. The band makes their own videos, releases their own music and manages their own publicity. Their sense of fashion has been the subject of blog posts and Melissa's desire to break down the male dominated rock world have added to the band's reputation.
Melissa Brooks has managed to meld a love of music, fashion and female empowerment to create an image that rings true with their fans. She described her vision by saying, "We live in a world where rock music is male-dominated. By making music, I want to inspire people to not care about what other people have to say about you, or what you're "supposed to do".
The group recorded their last EP with Joe Cardamone of The Icarus Line and Lucy Miyaki from the band Tashaki Miyaki. Miyaki's sound shares many of the same dream pop elements of Melissa Brooks and clearly the pairing worked for the band. "Lucy was a blast to work with and really helped us hone in our sound. She provided awesome vintage equipment like really rad old microphones and fuzz pedals that like Neil Young used or something.", said Melissa.
With the release of the new album scheduled for early 2014, the band is clearly aiming for greater heights. With a slew of videos, plenty of music issued via the internet and the band's ability to create a buzz on a shoestring budget, it seems reasonable to assume this is a band destined for great heights.
To read the full transcript of the interview along with exclusive photos, visit The Dumbing of America!
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