Cool Ghouls
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Cool Ghouls

San Francisco, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Psychedelic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cool Ghouls Have Built a Working Time Machine for "The Mile""

There are bands that ape the past, and then there are bands like Cool Ghouls that sound like they just stepped out of a Delorean loaded with the flux capacitor. On "The Mile," the first single from A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye, the SF band touch on classic 60s rock like The Birds, CSNY, and more, astonishing their way through multi-part harmonies on the Sonny Smith-recorded (Sonny & the Sunsets), Mikey-Young-mixed (Total Control, ECSR) track. Check out "The Mile" below, due on November 11 via Empty Cellar/Burger Records. - Noisey

"Cool Ghouls"

hometown: San Francisco, CA
categories: Garage, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Psychedelic, Surf
for fans of: Foxygen, Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin
why you should check them out:
Jangling guitars, wailing harmonies, thrashing drums; just another day in sunny North California for psychedelic rock outfit Cool Ghouls. The group’s self-titled debut LP is a raucous journey through 60’s psychedelia, surf rock, garage and just about everything in between. 2014 is set to be a big year for Cool Ghouls, with a newly announced residency at Amnesia in San Francisco bringing their songwriting and musicianship to a growing audience.
background check:
Take a look at who Cool Ghouls have opened for and you get an idea of the respect they’ve garnered from their peers: opening slots include Mikal Cronin, Of Montreal, and The Fresh & Onlys, among others. It’s even more telling when these peers step forward to offer their services: Cool Ghouls’ recent LP was recorded and mixed by Tim Cohen of the aforementioned The Fresh & Onlys.

Though its foundation clearly rests on rock, Cool Ghouls’ sound can be hard to categorize under just one tag. Elements of surf, psychedelia, pop, garage, lo-fi, and more all blend effortlessly into a cohesive sound. On tracks like “Grace” it’s not hard to imagine the group playing to a dance hall full of 60’s R&B enthusiasts. That is, until your hear the howl of vocals, and you’re reminded that Cool Ghouls offer something more unique, like a rollicking combination of all those things you love about music. - mySpoonful

"Summer ghouls"

TOFU AND WHISKEY In these past three years, Phono Del Sol has built itself up into a tastemaker midsummer's indie music fest — and it's one to watch. It makes sense: the one-day fest is curated by on-the-pulse local blog, the Bay Bridged.

And beyond the interesting (and mostly local) band choices — the first year featured Aesop Rock and Mirah, last year the Fresh and Onlys and Mwahaha, and this year Thee Oh Sees, YACHT, Bleached, and K. Flay will headline — there's something about the approach and atmosphere that calms the nerves.

It's in the Mission's Potrero Del Sol park, a hilly, grassy area bordered by an active skate park. During the fest, skaters whizz by near the bands, and street food vendors offer salty snacks on the other side of the stage.

The event tends to inhabit a particular San Francisco garage scene vibe of yesteryear, apart from current complications brewing in the nearby neighborhood between the old and new, the tech workers and SF lifers.

One of the newest bands on this year's bill fits this feeling as well, the young garage pop four-piece Cool Ghouls. The psych-inflected group is relaxed and gracious, perhaps not yet jaded by the outlying music community or industry. And they'll be bringing a horn section to Phono Del Sol this year. (Sat/13, 11:30am-7pm, $20. Potrero Del Sol Park, 25th Street at Utah, SF.

Cool Ghouls, named after a phrase George Clinton used in a Parliament Funkadelic concert film, are a bit giggly during our conversation from lead guitarist Ryan Wong's Duboce Park area apartment. They seem new to this whole recognition thing, and thusly, speak candidly, and nearly in circles. Singer Pat McDonald, bassist Pat Thomas, and Wong all grew up in the Bay Area, attending high school in Benicia together, and met up again in San Francisco after college. Alex Fleshman met the others when he went to San Francisco State University.

They formed in early 2011 and began playing shows almost immediately — in early spring of that year, showing up at brick-and-mortar spots, house shows, even Serra Bowl before it closed, and at Noise Pop. That's where they first crossed my path, as they began popping up at shows on a frequent basis. "Now, we're being asked to play more local shows then we can play," Thomas says. "Pat McDonald seems to know a lot of people somehow, maybe it's his hair? Or he's just like, really nice."

Their self-titled debut full-length, recorded by Tim Cohen of Fresh and Onlys and Magic Trick, saw release this April on Empty Cellar Records. "We thought we could record a whole album by ourselves, so we recorded 90 percent of it on an eight-track recorder," Wong says. "We showed Arvel [Hernandez], who runs Empty Cellar Records...he told us 'the songs are really good but the recording is just shitty.'"

He enlisted Cohen to record it, and said he'd release it on Empty Cellar. They were ecstatic with the revelation, and excited to work with the talented Cohen. They spent a few days in his Western Addition home, rerecording the full album while crammed in Cohen's bedroom at the top of a towering Victorian near Alamo Square.

Cohen's since become a de facto advocate for the band, writing a glowing press release about Cool Ghouls and the album, in which he defiantly explains "First things first: Cool Ghouls are not a retro act... Truth be told, this being their first official release, they may even be a bit naïve in their dogged pursuit of the true-blue, home-spun, rock and roll lifestyle."

Though he later concedes, "If one were to ascribe to them a '60s-reverent description, as one often does in the case of San Francisco bands, one would most likely find an artistic kinship with some of the most inimitable, idiosyncratic, yet unmistakably influential bands of the retro-fitting oeuvre. The Troggs, The Monks, Sir Douglas Quintet come to mind immediately. (Save your Kinks and Rolling Stones references.) Like the aforementioned, the Ghouls are natural heirs to the folkloric lineage which precedes them, adding dashes of weirdness where needed."

The group laughs when I bring up the Cohen praise, "it's so funny things people take away from press releases...but he did a really good job of writing that, I didn't even know he understood us that well," Thomas says. "He doesn't give you that much in person, he's a pretty stoic guy, so it's been really cool to see that through all of that, he was digging us."

"We were all kind of intimidated, then that came out, and I didn't have any idea he was even writing anything," Wong adds.

The Ghouls are democratic, and all are multi-instrumentalists, with each group member writing songs and bringing the skeletons to the group to flesh out. And many of the tracks on the album do evoke that garage pop weirdness Cohen identified, and also a casual self-awareness.

Thomas wrote joyful first single "Natural Life" quickly and brought it to the band. The perfectly corresponding video by his film student brother Rob Thomas features the band frolicking in the Marin Headlands and Sutro Baths. "That whole organic approach, natural approach, putting your pieces in place and then just winging it, is something that we generally do — it keeps it collaborative," Thomas says.

Another standout, is mid-tempo "Witches Game," which singer McDonald wrote, starting with the fuzzy guitar riff that rides strong through the track.

Woozy, surfy "Grace" was one of the first songs they ever played together, and usually closes out their live sets. And they agree that jangly psych-pop "Queen Sophie" was one of the more collaborative songs. There'll be a proper video for that one out soon too.

"The whole album was a group effort. I think of it as a specific piece of where we were at when we recorded it," Wong says.

The album artwork is worth noting as well, a collage-painting made by Thomas with a big glittery sun, swirly watercolor images of clouds, snowy mountaintops, red-yellow fire, and a colorful rooster. The images weren't meant necessarily to reflect the songs on the album, but ended up having some meaning after the fact.

"I was just trying to represent what I lean toward anyway, like if it's a painting I make, it'll probably evoke the music I make, just because I'm making both of them," Thomas says. "But liked the rooster image because I was thinking about the way roosters strut, and this is our first album."

Wong pipes up, "I feel the way the album is with these songs, [it's about] the morning, and the ideas of the natural life. It's appropriate because it's our first album, but maybe I'm looking too much into it?"

Cool Ghouls will move on soon anyway — they're currently prepping new songs and plan to record a second album this August. - The Bay Guardian

"Cool Ghouls [CS/LP; Burger/Empty Cellar]"

I’ll never forget the way that little green turd from the cover of Ghoulies 2 stared back at me in the vibrant video-rental shops of Post Falls, Idaho; if movie covers could talk, that one would have said, “Good luck sleeping again, fucker!” That was then, this is now, and the Cool Ghouls are just like me: They wanna live a natural life. But what exactly does that entail in this day and age? (And are vinyls and cassettes ‘natural’?) Do we have to live in tents in the middle of fields to enjoy a consequence-free environment? I say no: Throw on Cool Ghouls and you can have your rock and beat it, too. Tuning in/out is easy when the chords swing in that psychedelic-rock ‘n’ roll style, the rhythms plod along satisfactorily, swimmingly you might even say, and the vocals, against all odds, hold up their end of the bargain melodically and lyrically. What’s amazing to me is how few comparisons I am ready to throw out there. Despite tiny pinches of this and that, Cool Ghouls’ sound is elusive. Production work from Tim Cohen is revealing, yet Fresh & Onlys aren’t what I would call a kindred spirit when the rubber hits the record. Some of those Nuggets bands possessed a similar guitar sound, and The Seeds/Byrds/Tyde certainly aren’t strangers to the CG abode, but I can’t in good conscience ‘name names’ beyond that. You’ll have to just trust me and the good people at Burger and Empty Cellar, reliable hands if there ever were ones. - Tiny Mixtapes

"Friday's Find: Cool Ghouls - s/t LP"

To listen to the new COOL GHOULS album is to be dropped right in the middle of the California Gold Rush. The San Francisco-based quartet has delivered a promising debut, picking up where their 2012 self-released cassette EP Alright left off.

Friday posts now coincide with Styrofoam Drone’s Friday Find on eMusic’s 17 Dots Blog. Head on over to 17 Dots right now to read more and listen to today’s post on Cool Ghouls: Friday’s Find #12 - The Styrofoam Drone

"Featured Artist - Cool Ghouls"

Perhaps it's due to the weather heating up, but something about the twangy guitars, harmonizing horns, and lo-fi recordings feels perfect for the summer, which is a nice segue to San Francisco's Cool Ghouls. Psychedelic surf rock seems to flow naturally and freely from the Bay Area, which houses talents like Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin. It's telling when Of Montreal and The Fresh & Onlys include them as their openers, and even Tim Cohen of aforementioned The Fresh & Onlys mixed and recorded their music.

Band members Pat Thomas, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald, Alex Fleshman have played all over San Francisco and have generated quite a following. Cool Ghouls touts multiple songwriters, yet their styles harmoniously blend into one another and create a very delightful blend of everything that was so right about the music of yesteryear with the modern twist of today's youth culture. The tracks are all relatable and can be enjoyed by a wide range of music fans.

Many have declared Cool Ghouls the torch bearers of psych rock, and when that praise has come from the likes of Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Mikal Cronin, and Tim Cohen of The Fresh & Onlys, you know the band must be on to something.

While many bands in San Francisco look to shake the idea of having their band labeled, what makes a successful band is when they are able to do that while giving the listener quite the conundrum in trying to figure out as to what to pin them. Combining rock, psychedelia, surf, garage, and more, along with hints of R&B horns, Cool Ghouls create a unique sound that ascends labels and makes for a great treat during the summer heat. - Sound Raid

"LISTEN: Cool Ghouls Show Us All a Little "Grace" (FILTER Premiere)"

Ahead of the release of their debut album, San Franciscan boys, Cool Ghouls want to let you know that they’re here! They don’t want to be seen as another SF nostalgic trip down 60’s lane; their music is aimed at living unashamedly in the now.

Their self-titled album which drops on April 23, 2013 via Empty Cellar is a concoction of an unlikely mix; drawing on psychedelic deliciousness, country style twang and even strands of feverish, pure pop to mash up a killer new sound. The four Ghouls democratically mix in their own sounds, managing to produce ambitious chord progressions and breath-taking vocal harmonies reminiscent of no one in particular.

Aside from their endearingly quirky name, borrowed from the great George Clinton, there’s nothing else reused by these San Fran anti-hip types.

The sound is fresh, the band is ripe and the LP’s just about ready to be plucked, so take a bite of their first single--"Grace"-- premiering right here and right now! - FILTER

"Cool Ghouls"

San Francisco's hills still seem ripe for the plucking, with no end in sight to the wealth of bands that spring up amongst the nooks and neighborhoods of its cloud-shrouded bay. Cool Ghouls seem to take a mainline to the city's heritage and the city's current wave and knock the mixture for a whirl with a splash of three part harmonies and some damn fine songs at the heart of their eponymous new record. Its no surprise that Empty Cellar has Tim Cohen throw some words of praise in the band's bio as they seem to share Fresh & Onlys sense of reverence for influences with an ability to consume and craft them into that kind of tip-of-the-tongue feeling that makes them instantly relatable. This one takes a tour through more than a few stops we've touched on in the re-released column in the past few years, roping some of the 60's finest underground miscreants into their quiver of touchstones, but I'll be damned if there isn't as much chance that there's a Dead fan among the Ghouls' ranks as a Count Five or Standells fan laying down some burnt sunburst soul on this one. What's it all mean? It means that Cool Ghouls have shot a West Coast classic out of the past and onto your turntable. They've time-traveled backward and forward to make a fine mash that yelps, jangles and throws down hib-toned and hip boned swagger in equal measure. As Cohen mentions, call it retro at your own peril because to do so is to discount the quality of the record the band has crafted together with a sly precision that dances. - Raven Sings the Blues

"Introducing: Cool Ghouls"

Cool Ghouls are a San Francisco-based four piece who, besides having an awesome band name, have the uncanny ability to capture the carefree spirit of summers of yore in their music. You remember those summers don’t you? Back before you had to worry about a job, rent and crippling student loan debt? Cool Ghouls released a self-titled LP in the spring but so far have had only limited exposure beyond the West Coast. However, with their breezy melodies and seemingly affable demeanor, they seem well poised to garner serious national attention. Check out their video for “Natural Life” above, which features the band kicking around the West Coast, or stream the track sans moving pictures below. - All Things Go

"Cool Ghouls :: Crusty Euphoric Rock 'n' Roll"

San Francisco four-piece Cool Ghouls dish out bursts of charmingly crusty rock 'n' roll in a timelessly recorded fashion. Like that batch of funky home-brewed beer your friend made in a cooler last summer, the flavors here aren't developed into any sort of crisp or refined massively appealing product—this shit is raw. But it's all the better for it, because you can hear every success, mistake, and personally delivered nuance in its honest and imperfect original shape: you can almost smell the stale bong water and musty carpetting; see the tangled mess of wires and piles of beer cans; and hear the strained-to-the-point-of-breaking hard-earned rasp of vocals and hot skipping mess of instruments trying desperately to produce something truly meaningful—and maybe even—great. And great it often is. When those horns first hit in "Spring Break Blues," which at first sounds like an Easy Beat-era Dr. Dog number, there's a sudden shift into a The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle-caliber bullet of sweat, steam, and honest-to-goodness rock 'n' roll euphoria. And "Grace," the first single off the band's forthcoming Tim Cohen-recorded debut LP, takes off right where "Spring Break Blues" left: horns, desperation, and bursts of sun-scorched vocals and sun-burnt guitars that will bust your gut, weaken your knees, and tickle your soul. - Everybody Taste

"[Review + Photos] Ranch Ghost w/ Cool Ghouls & Music Band | The Stone Fox | January 16, 2014"

Last Friday, I was ridiculously hungover. Meeting up with fellow No Country staffers Jacob Ryan and Jake Giles Netter for a rock show on a Thursday night is a sure fire way to get there. What led to this awesomeness of events? Ranch Ghost, Cool Ghouls, and Music Band were bringing some rock and roll into our lives at The Stone Fox.

Now, a little over a week later, we sit sans hangover wondering why we don’t do this more. Check our rundown of the night and some incredible photos by the always talented Jake Giles Netter below.

Music Band plays hard hitting straight up rock and roll that tingles with but far exceeds the playfulness of their most recent recording ‘Live At Wembley’. We came into this show knowing little about them (other than they probably needed our help to be found in a google search), but Cool Ghouls described them upon stepping on stage as “that shit was crazy”. Welcome to Nashville boys! And, a note to those not yet familiar with Music Band, in the week since seeing them we’ve told at least 30 people to put Music Band on their radar, because we’re moving them up on our infinitely long “must-see” list, at least 400 spots.

Cool Ghouls defy logic. In a similar manner to a band like Foxygen, they toy with genres, bouncing freely between surf rock and grunge pop. The only clearly defined sound that is embodied in them is that of the lately blooming San Francisco rock scene (Mikal Cronin, Ty Segall, et al.), if you can call that a clearly defined sound. Or, maybe they are just today’s mid-fi substitute for the missing Pavement in my life. After announcing Nashville as the coolest city yet on this tour, we hope to see more of the previous Music City virgins in the near future. I arrived with this being one of my most anticipated sets of early 2014, and I left fucking convinced.

Ranch Ghost… ah, Ranch Ghost. It is the spoiled Nashville music blogger that gets to compare a band like Ranch Ghost to the comfort of my favorite hoodie. They never cease to amaze, never cease to let up, never cease to surprise. In a set that featured a washboard getting beat to hell, Ranch Ghost put on a show that was fitting for a weekend headlining slot at Mercy…hell, Cannery. Yet, it was just another night for the boys of Ranch Ghost kicking the dust off The Stone Fox. - No Country for New Nashville

"Premiere: Cool Ghouls, "Queen Sophie""

San Francisco's Cool Ghouls bust out the extra track and train sets in the People Inc. video debut of "Queen Sophie". Following up those sweeping West Coast vistas of the Marin Headlands on "Natural Life", the world of natural living gets buck wild and weird in the apartment, SF style. Their Tim Cohen-produced self-titled presents a group who has contributed to San Francisco's indie rock fabric where the exhaled chord rhythms of yesterday ghost through the great tomorrow that never knows. Keeping 'the San Francisco sound' in full effect, it would not be complete without a soirée set up in a rented Victorian space.

Hop aboard the train, and ride around the physical bodies of the Ghouls and their friends as things get out of hand like a Fellini film set in a Duboce Park flat. Heads, hands, feet and a random scrotum hang about the toy tracks as the GoPro cam steers and and veers around bikes, cars, dart boards, trysts, Budweiser cans, PBR cans, bathroom shenanigans, quarrels, and smoke outs. The Casey Jones loco-motion of "Queen Sophie" could only be paced by the steady trucking steam engine moving on down the line in a residential environment of invited chaos. As Pat Thomas, Ryan Wong, Pat McDonald, and Alex Fleshman turn a lazy day into an all out hobby; their friends turn a 'no-rules' afternoon into a piece of pure debaucherous performance art. A few brave Cool Ghouls gave us a behind-the-scenes tour:

Pat McDonald: It got pretty buck as filming went on. We just tried to think of as many weird/funny things to do as possible. Everybody in the video is a close homie of ours, and they were all down to get weird and make it ridiculous. Therefore we ended up with people hitting each other, making out, people taking selfies while shitting, a chick popping balloons with her ass, Ryan dangling his nuts in front of the camera, Pat T being basically naked all day, etc (there's no nudity in the video though, by the way). And we were all at risk of getting mono that day, 'cause a couple people in the video were sick at the time. So it was also very high stakes. Haha."

Pat Thomas: Yeah the whole concept of the video was to have wacky stuff for the camera to catch as it rolled by on this miniature train track. So it was just us and our friends coming up with things on the spot. And most of the ideas involved drinking beer. So a few hours into the shoot, it got kinda tough to maintain focus. My girlfriend gave Alex a drunk haircut. It looked pretty bad.

Alex Fleshman: The idea for the video, with the GoPro taped to the train track and having it circle around an apartment, came from our friends Mel and Emma who are "People Inc." I did the soundtrack for a movie that Mel just made, so I had worked with her before with music and video and we knew we wanted to work together again because we so enjoyed the experience. The budget was basically them buying a model train, driving up from LA and back, and pizza that we bought for the shoot. So pretty much shoestring budget kinda thing. I did get a haircut during the video, and it did look pretty bad because Pat's girlfriend (along with the rest of us) was prettttty drunk at the time. It's funny too because you can't even really tell I'm getting a haircut; its not really in the frame ahaha. Mel and Emma did that amazing animation in it and I have absolutely no idea how. Pretty talented people.

Cool Ghouls' self-titled is available now from Empty Cellar Records.

Catch their performance this Saturday, July 13 at San Francisco's Potrero del Sol Park for Bay Bridged's Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival from 12:50-1:20pm. Tickets available here. - Impose

"Yours Truly - COOL GHOULS"

It’s almost like we were there—waiting for the last train, pacing alongside the Cool Ghouls in the dingy station light. We can imagine the look on Pat’s face when that girl asked to pet his luscious locks—a shy smirk beneath wide eyes, followed by a friendly fit of laughter. We know because we asked once, too. The Cool Ghouls are the kind of guys that make strangers feel like old friends; an inclusive crew that hugs you both hello and goodbye. They’re a rare breed who, when asked nicely, might let you braid their hair or borrow their parent’s dog—at least you know they’ll entertain your awkward propositions.

words by Amber - Yours Truly

"Cool Ghouls releasing debut LP on Empty Cellar, playing release party tonight at Brick & Mortar Music Hall"

San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls are gaining some serious momentum so far in 2013. Shortly after the New Year, they may or may not have played a brilliant gig in the Sutro Baths caves that yours truly and another blogger may or may not have attended. Next up was a Noise Pop gig supporting scene mainstays Sonny Smith and Tim Cohen at Bottom of the Hill. Now, the quartet is set to release their debut LP, a self-titled effort that is due out April 23 on Arvel Hernandez’s Empty Cellar Records, and they’re celebrating tonight at Brick & Mortar Music Hall.

The forthcoming record, Cool Ghouls, is a collection of tracks that had been played at shows before the band headed into the recording studio. “The recording process was essentially a matter of putting down the songs as they had already existed in a live setting,” bassist Pat Thomas recently told me over email.

The band’s three primary songwriters – Thomas along with guitarists Pat McDonald and Ryan Wong – all write songs on their own, and then bring their ideas to the group for the full treatment. “The ones that I sing lead on are the ones that I write; the ones that Pat and Ryan sing lead on are the ones that Pat and Ryan write,” Thomas wrote. “Most of the time, the songwriter has guitar riffs, vocal harmonies, drumbeats, etc. in mind before bringing the song to the band. But ultimately, the arrangement for every song is figured out as a group, jamming together in our rehearsal space.”

It was the band’s strong songwriting skills that caught the attention of some local mainstays, who eventually played major roles in the self-titled record’s release.

The album was recorded by the aforementioned Mr. Cohen (of The Fresh & Onlys and Magic Trick fame), who the members of Cool Ghouls met through their label’s founder. “Arvel hooked us up with Tim. We showed Arvel some recordings that we were hoping to press on vinyl (six of those recording ended up being the Alright cassette), and he told us he didn’t think they were vinyl caliber, fidelity-wise. Then he offered to set up recording time with Tim and release those recordings on Empty Cellar.”

No tracks off Cool Ghouls have been officially released yet, but you can still catch a preview of the record, a track called “Witch’s Game”, which the band previously included on their 2011 Sneek Peek release. It’s a proper dose of the band’s trademark ’60s-influenced surf/psych rock ‘n’ roll sound. Listen below:

Cool Ghouls won’t slow down after the new LP drops – no, they have already begun recording their follow up album. “For our next record, which we hope to start recording before the summer, the process will probably be similar,” Thomas said. “Ideally, I would like to have more experimentation/exploration while recording this time around. And these songs aren’t as developed/show-tested as the last ones, so they’ll be more malleable as we lay them to tape.”

The band already gave their fans a taste of their unfinished work on that next record, recently posting streaming audio of a song entitled “Insight”, another hefty serving of catchy garage rock with a side of ’60s psychedelia, rough yet still entrancing.

Cool Ghouls, “Insight” (demo)

Tonight at Brick & Mortar, Cool Ghouls will be joined by Meat Market, Buffalo Tooth, and Locomotives (in which Thomas plays drums). They then join Nashville’s Natural Child and Brooklyn’s Fletcher C. Johnson for a handful of Northern California dates, before playing The Starry Plough in Berkeley with Charts and Ash Reiter on April 11. But the band doesn’t have any further ranging tour plans at this point:

“No big tour plans yet,” explained Thomas. “We’ve played out of town a few times. Down to LA a couple times, Santa Cruz a handful of times, down to SLO a few weeks ago, up to Seattle and Portland this past January. We’ve booked all of our gigs ourselves so far. So the idea of booking a multi-week tour ourselves seems kind of daunting. Hopefully the record can lead to some kind of booking agent deal and we’ll be able to tour around this summer. Maybe a bigger act will wanna take us on tour with them. In the meantime we’re just gonna keep doing our thing. Playing locally and making little trips up and down the West Coast.”

Make sure you get your fill of this up-and-coming act before they leave to conquer the rest of the music world, and be sure to not miss Cool Chouls’ gig tonight at Brick & Mortar. Then grab their forthcoming self-titled debut LP, out April 23 on Empty Cellar (preorder it on the label’s website). Details on all of the band’s upcoming shows are below.

Cool Ghouls Tour Dates:
03/25 – San Francisco – Brick & Mortar Music Hall^
03/27 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Crepe Place@
03/28 – Sacramento, CA – Bows & Arrows*
03/29 – San Francisco, CA – Elbo Room*
04/11 – Berkeley, CA – The Starry Plough#
^ – w/ Meat Market, Buffalo Tooth, Locomotives
@ – w/ Natural Child, Fletcher C. Johnson, Bummer City
* – w/ Natural Child, Fletcher C. Johnson
# – w/ Ash Reiter, Charts

Cool Ghouls, Meat Market, Buffalo Tooth, Locomotives
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
March 25, 2013 - The Bay Bridged


  • Alright (2012) Hairgrowth Records, Under the Gun Records
  • Cool Ghouls (2013) Empty Cellar Records, Burger Records
  • A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye (2014) Empty Cellar, Burger



In the words of Tim Cohen (Fresh and Onlys /Magic Trick)...

"First things first: Cool Ghouls are not a retro act. If you seek musical salvation in the form of mop-topped mannequins with vintage riffs and hand-me-down rags, please stop reading. Yes, the Cool Ghouls borrowed their name from George Clinton's Funkadelic-era pre-show banter. Yes, they dwell penniless in the storied hills of culturally resurgent San Francisco. But these boys have their feet firmly planted in the soil of the now. They look not backwards for approving nods of hipster forebears, but rather skyward, hoping that the "supernatural forces" they yodel for, guide them to all corners of a half-deserving world. Truth be told, this being their first official release, they may even be a bit na誰ve in their dogged pursuit of the true-blue, home-spun, rock and roll lifestyle.

If one were to ascribe to them a 60's-reverent description, as one often does in the case of San Francisco bands, one would most likely find an artistic kinship with some the most inimitable, idiosyncratic, yet unmistakably influential bands of the retro-fitting oeuvre. The TroggsThe MonksSir Douglas Quintet come to mind immediately. (Save your Kinks and Rolling Stones references.) Like the aforementioned, the Ghouls are natural heirs to the folkloric lineage which precedes them, adding dashes of weirdness where needed. And despite their mid-fi leanings and natural fit within the current pantheon of San Francisco rock 'n' roll bands (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall), theirs is a timeless record, which will hopefully transcend the descriptors (garage, psych, etc.) that will undoubtedly plague it in the blogosfear. The reason being - they write good SONGS.

These young men have honed their three-headed vocal attack in front of ambitious and unexpected chord progressions, an unrelenting rhythm section, and a keen ear for harmony. Theirs is a trifecta of songwriting styles, ranging from the raspy, rambling psychedelic soul of longhair Pat McDonald("Grace"), to the high yonder twang of bassist Pat Thomas ("Natural Life"), to the boisterous, fever-pitched, perfect pop of lead guitarist Ryan Wong. Despite the seeming disparity between styles, the Ghouls make it work Theirs is a truly democratic song-making process, wherein all members are eager to contribute their most zealous performances. Hence, the debut record, an adventurous, colorful romp seen through the eyes of old-souled youths, feels wholly coherent and intentional. The self-assuredness of their songwriting is evident. And no, the Ghouls are not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves; this is partly what makes the record so digestible. It doesn't claim to be anything other than what it is; a record for now, a record for then, and a record for forever."

Band Members