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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Garage Rock


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Growl debuted on the scene last year with Gallery, a six-song EP that “completely blew me away,” according to my review last summer. It’s interesting that listening to it now that I’ve been able to digest their upcoming album, No Years (release show this Saturday at Holy Mountain), Gallery sounds rather pedestrian.

Gallery‘s charm is that it sounds kind of tossed off. It’s the work of some uber-talented kids that got ahold of a four-track for a weekend and had to put their ideas down as quickly as possible. (Does that even happen any more? Or did I just make myself sound 65?) It was juvenile at times (“Girlfriend”), powerful at others (“Abbreviations”) and just downright excellent the rest (“Tell”). In short, it was everything you could ask for in a debut EP. And we ranked it criminally low on our year-end list.

No Years is exactly what this group needed for a next step. It is huge leap forward in two main areas: production and songwriting.

The production on No Years is astounding when listened to next to Gallery. Everything is crisp and shimmering, and it makes Gallery sound like a muddled mess comparatively (which is still, admittedly, part of its aforementioned charm). But when the power chords churn on the opening “Afra & Me,” they crunch with palpable power, like they could destroy anything in their path. This now sounds like those same kids got a record deal, were given the keys to a professional studio, and decided to make the next great Superchunk album.

None of that would matter without great songs, and No Years is littered with them. “Buffalo” is my early vote for a best single, with it’s great hook, incredible use of dynamics and classic, Weezer-esque guitar solo over the outro. Album closer “Rosie” is just a staggering leap forward in songwriting maturity for Growl. The contrast between the acoustic guitar and Vampire Weekend bounce of the verses to the massively distorted straight-ahead rock of the chorus is tough to pull off, but Growl make it sound like the most organic thing in the world.

I’ve talked a lot about Sam Houdek’s guitars, and this is undoubtedly a classic guitar record, but Santiago Dietche deserves a lot of credit for his vocals. He can pull off a classic rock yell, but often opts for an understated, laid back delivery that seems to alternately complement and contrast with the music at all the right times.

The increased professionalism on No Years does mean a loss of some of that looseness and adolescent charm on Gallery. The closest they get to that is on “RGK” (which stands for something I can’t quite make out), with its thrash-y punk chorus. Yet, it’s ultimately worth the shift in direction. Growl show here that Gallery was no fluke, and that this is a band with its eyes on the prize.

Again, you can catch them at their EP release show this Saturday at Holy Mountain with The Laughing, Milezo, and Young Mammals. - Ovrld

Has winter got you down? Growl’s upbeat and retro rock vibe will pull you out of your slump. Taking influences from surf, punk, and garage rock, the Austin based band has put together an impressive album. Gallery is chock full of fast and fun tracks that will have you singing along. - The Knife Fight

And so, while Growl’s second EP, Gallery, has been on my list to check out since its release in February, I only finally took a listen this week after they recently made it available on Spotify. On my part, the decision was pure convenience. Plenty of other local bands were on Spotify, catching my attention, and I could listen to them on my phone while I walked or drove around town. Thank God that Growl made their music available on Spotify, because Gallery has completely blown me away.

I’m a big fan of Los Campesinos, whom I love for their unabashedly joyous music, grand hooks and unison singalong choruses. Growl have employed all of these techniques to great effect on Gallery. It helps that the opening to the group’s “Halfway Home” almost completely bites Los Campesinos’ “You! Me! Dancing!” in all of the best ways. But all across these six songs, Growl burst at the seams with “hey”s, “whoa”s and “oh”s that are the only way to express the joy of life sometimes.

“Girlfriend” is the track that sticks out most immediately with its hook of, “Her boyfriend is dead now / And I could never be happier.” It’s funny and catchy, but it’s far from the best song on the record. My favorite at the moment is “Tell,” the opening track, with its insistent rhythm track – bass, drums and guitar all working together to drive the song forward. The arrangement is structured perfectly for maximum release after the lyrics, “Tell me all about it / Tell me all about it.” It’s invigorating and addicting.

And it doesn’t stop there. From “Halfway Home” through to the final, epic “Said and Done,” Growl never once lets up on the gas. Gallery is better than a sugar rush. It’s the kick in the ass that you need to enjoy the shit out of whatever it is that you’re doing. Check it out on your favorite streaming site. - Ovrld

It was like any other night at the 29th Ballroom. The same somber, generally unimpressed, middle aged gingers wandered around as Horti from Whiskey Shivers and his companion made lewd gestures at the high school students. But, when they realized the high schoolers were just Bobby Jealousy in marching band costumes, Horti and his comrade became despondent. However, the commonplace feel of the night changed as the opening act began. Growl, a youthful five piece, ripped through an amazing set.

Stylistically, Growl sounded like early Kinks, but structured with the mind of an older Ray Davies. While the chords are popy, the tone and manner in which they were played gives way to a more intelligent agent at work. Speaking with guitarist Sam Houdek after the show he said that the band is immensely democratic, with each member bringing his or her ideas to the table. The comparison to The Kinks took him by surprise, as none of the members “really listens to them.” Each member comes from a completely different way of music, stated Houdek.

With such a diverse mixture of ideas, it may come as no surprise that Growl is one of the more wholly enjoyable indie groups in Austin today. -Taylor Browne - The Deli Austin

Austin upstarts Growl just released their new EP, Gallery this past weekend, at what I heard was a riotous good time over at Hotel Vegas. We might have missed the show, but we’re not going to let you miss out on one of the city’s best kept secrets. Just because you feel like the band’s going in one direction, just wait a second, as they’re likely to switch it up to you. The songwriting reminds me of a more energetic version of Hollywood Gossip, one of Austin’s most missed acts (in my mind anyways). I’ve chosen this track to get you into the group, but I encourage you to travel HERE to pick it up! - Austin Town Hall

"The debut from post-modern, power-pop rockers Growl bubbles with youthful exuberance. The drums are quick and muscular, and the rhythm guitar circles the lead as it dances sprightly over repeated lines. It's the aural equivalent of a very fun college road trip." - Austin Monthly



No Years-2014



"GROWL is a band making solid indie rock that harkens back to indies infancy; the days of round-wound guitars, ride cymbals, shaggy haired dudes with no style or money or girlfriends, just a hard line on how to make a good tune." --Chris Galis, KINDFORM 
"They're the kind of indie band that any legit music town needs to have: full chord rock, melodies with words about fleeting moments, exposed youth and plenty of coiled tension. They've got a sound that makes you want to listen to their record collection" -- AXIS Productions

Growl was formed in mid 2011 by Santiago Dietche and Kent Hale from the ashes of their past project, Whoa Palomino. They set out to update the indie-rock they grew up on, pulling influence from bands like Weezer, Pavement, Built to Spill, Guided by Voices and Vampire Weekend.

They payed their dues in wednesday-night Elvis-themed dive bars for a few months as a three piece (Jon Lee, bass) before garnering the interest of Sam Houdek and Alex Cohen, who joined the band on guitar and keys respectively. It was in this 5-piece that they recorded their first EP, Gallery, which was released on 2013. Following their release, they toured around the US and played alongside acts like Dent May, Crocodiles, Baths, Diarrhea Planet, Winter, Sealions, and Darwin Deez, bringing their garage-pop inspired indie rock to stages all around the country.

Their debut full length comes out March 2016. 

Band Members