There’s a roaring return to 90’s garage rock and vintage footage-Vimeo vids invading the nation. I’m not opposed, seeing as how I spent many of my long bus rides up Western Avenue to babysit and do office work all throughout high school were I bobbed along to grungy bands, looking towards black and white, silent cinema for an escape from the trite entertainment industry’s listless attempts to sway me from artful consumption. That said, the convincing style exuding from The Quiet Americans takes me back to a hopeful place with their Fresno-local cassette collective, Coattrack Records released debut, Medicine. The frizzed out echoey nature to this band makes my a little dizzy. Like, hearing Frank Zappa for the first time.
There’s something very familiar and familial about this release. Turns out Eli is married to singer/songwriter Luke Giffen’s sister and, Lukes lil bro Ross pitched in with some moog synth work on Medicine. Their live set expansions include the talented contributions of Simon Smeds (bass), Steve Loveless (organ). But, the carnal drum-work of Eli Reyes is where my beat seeking senses, definitely honed in on first.
“Be Alone” has a Smells Like sTeen Spirit meets a twangy-folk rumble that pleases and retreats into ruckus delight. The roaring delirium on numbers like “Weird Mountain” give more of that menacing milieu, screaming of basement jam sessions and angry parents, wishing their deadbeat sons would move out of the basement and get nice jobs, wives and houses in the suburb. But, Quiet Americans are more than just Cali-cool kids, their music is rampant with an earnest emotion. The noise is pitch-perfect. The rumble, satisfying. The feedback, electrifying. But, just listen to the driving-drum intro on ditties like “Selia,” and you’ll understand why I jumped at the opportunity to have a little exchange with this Fresno-frenzied rocker, the all-star drummer, Eli Gomez.
This is my first listen to The Quiet Americans and I have to say I’m struck by the name. Being quiet and being American is hardly synonymous. Tell us about a time you wish you’d kept quiet…
Honestly, there are quite a few times in my life where I probably should have kept quiet mainly to avoid putting my foot in my mouth. A lot of those time had to do with me being an awkward guy around the females, but luckily I think I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut at the right times.
What can you tell us about Fresno? I’m intrigued by small scenes and that whole part of the world’s seemingly foreign style of life…
Fresno is a great place that often times gets a bad rap. It’s a large city full of great folks doing rad things. The music scene here (much like any other scene) has a ton of great bands and musicians making really good music, but with that there can also be a lot of fragmentation that tends to give the scene a cliqish quality. However, that seems to happen no matter what city you’re in.
Favorite film growing up?
My favorite film growing up has to be the original Transformers movie, however Beautiful Girls, Empire Records, and Mallrats became favorites in high school.
Favorite TV show?
Favorite tv show has to be How I Met Your Mother, Man Vs Food, King Of The Hill, or Pro Wrestling. Let’s just say I have lots of favorites.
Two artist you’d like to see duke it out in a boxing match, and why?
If I could see any two artists go at it, it would have to be Axel Rose and Fred Durst. First off Axel is one crazy dude, you know he doesn’t fight fair, and secondly, Fred Durst just deserves an ass kicking for creating a generation of backwards hat wearing douchebags.
Do you think the world’s coming to an end? If so, what 3 CD’s, tapes, or vinyl from your collection would make it into your bunker, assuming it’s simply a zombie invasion style demise verses meteoroid Dinosaur extinction…
Well, I was raised in an evangelical church growing up, so whether or not I want to I think I do believe in the end of the world. Assuming it’s just zombie takeover and I finish my bunker the three records I would take are, Red House Painters’ Song For A Blue Guitar, Morrissey’s You Are the Quarry, and The Lemonheads’ It’s A Shame About Ray.
Your life’s philosophy?
My life’s philosophy? “Try to be better.”