Eureka California- “Big Cats Can Swim” (2012, HHBTM)
Big Cats Can Swim is a deep and eclectic full length from Eureka California, who happen to be from Athens, Georgia. Their music falls in the murky water between punk and indie pop. Sometimes it’s bad when a band is able to genre bend, but this is not the case coming from this Athen’s three piece. Growing up in the south it’s easier to see how a band like this can cobble together a whole bunch of influences and create something beautiful. Even cities like Athen’s and Chapel Hill can have their occasional dry spells of ‘big bands’ touring through, but that is when you catch the true gems of punk, rock, and pop touring through playing kitchens, living rooms, dive bars, and all ages spaces…while all your friends might not be listening to the band…you go to the show and get blown away. You end up seeing genres that might not be your thing, but get a performance that is entirely unique and unforgettable. It seems like Eureka California probably play a lot of shows like these…where the bands are honest, performances are sincere, and the friends are unforgettable. This full length brings to gather some of the best aspects of rock n’ roll in a way that can only develop in a place where the scene is not dominated by a particular flavor.
The album and an undeniable West Coast feel for a band that comes from the South East. “My Kind of Battery” is one of my favorite tracks off the album where the band sheds their slightly fuzzy raincoat and heads into the clear darkness of night. It’s a darker track, but at the same time making me reminisce about the oldie station coming in on the FM dial as I scroll through the stations on a long drive. ” I will Control the Nation” and “Dos Hermanos” seem to throw nods to San Francisco in more of a Mikal Cronin way than Ty Segall, and Surfy bass breakdowns point rock and pop punk tunes to toward the ocean in a way that make you wonder how does this band live in a land locked city.
Big Cats Can Swim is an album that makes me long for the South, and while I won’t quite make it to Georgia at least a trip to North Carolina is in sight for me….at least I’ll get a road trip.
V/A MC12 a Cassette Compilation (2012, HHBTM)
MC12 is HHBTM Records. It’s a showcase of the talent that they have been releasing over years, where they came from and possibly where they are going. Jonna Grusome found a home for some of their first releases on HHBTM, and this compilation ends with one of their amazing tracks. Other favorites (on this tape, and all around in my life) include Orca Team, Sourpatch, Tunnabunny, and of course Eureka California.
This tape is showcase of Happy Happy Birthday To Me’s talented roster and longevity. The 21 track cassette is only $5, pick up a copy here.