This Growlers/Thee Ludds split 12” is yet another release from Palmist Records. The record label has already put out 5 releases in such a short time and the Growlers/Thee Ludds split marks their 6th. The album artwork that is attached to all Palmist releases has become a trademark and this time around, we’re graced with a light brown cover. Both Growlers and Thee Ludds are bands that are hard to pin down with Growlers being described as “goth surf” and Thee Ludds as “astral punk” which proves for two very distinctive halves of the split.

Growlers are an LA based band that channel old psych rock inspiration into a new age gothic spirit with song names such as ‘Graveyard’s Full’ and ‘Sea Lion Goth Blues’, the latter aptly describing their eclectic music which also incorporates 60s blues elements. It proves for quite relaxing listening despite lyrics like “I wonder if I get killed/I wonder who’ll bring roses to my grave” which features on ‘Sea Lion Goth Blues’. Growlers’ music reminds me of a mix between Deerhunter and White Stripes if Jack White didn’t have such a loud yappy voice and turned the volume down a bit.

It comes as no surprise to me that Growlers are from LA, as they share similar aesthetics to fellow LA band Ariel Pink’s Haunted graffiti, their lyrics also deriving straight from the past, making you a bit confused that they’re a current band, when they’ve so brilliantly recreated past sounds and made them their own. Their half of the split sounds like it could’ve been on the Ghost World soundtrack, and that is by no means a bad thing.

Things take a turn for the lo-fi on Thee Ludds’ half of the split with a more scuzz infested guttural punk rooted offering. Their garage rock punk is headache inducing with fuzzy guitars and reverb disguised vocals. ‘Feeding Time’ wastes none of your time by thrashing around straight away with shouty vocals and a ridiculously up-tempo guitar riff, definitely something to wake you up on those difficult mornings. Thee Ludds are definitely not for the faint hearted.

You can see similarities between the two bands though as ‘Jagged Prowl’ has a psych rock guitar riff and they’ve both strived for a unique production style. Their distinctive past influences manage to sound refreshing instead of pastiche which makes them bands to pay attention to. Another triumphant release for Palmist.