|Free Track Release of Boomerenga on listendammit.com
The Cramps were basically a genre unto themselves, merging lo-fi garage-rock with greasy rockabilly, b-movie horror schlock and a generous measure of gleeful sleaze so well that nobody else really even tried to keep up. Lux Interior is gone now, but you’ve got to think he’d be proud as hell of Guantanamo Baywatch, a Portland, Ore., band that sounds nearly as unhinged as the Cramps did.
Formed in 2008 as a duo, the band released a now out-of-print LP and a couple of DIY EPs and singles, and expanded to a trio, before signing with Dirtnap Records last year to record the evocatively titled “Chest Crawl.” Debut single “Boomerenga” gives you a good idea what Guantanamo Baywatch is all about: surfy guitars with the treble and volume pegged til it hurts, drenched in reverb and undercut with murky, undiscernable vocals.
It makes for an unsettling thrill ride that seems certain to end with hunks of twisted, charred metal bent around a tree, and you staggering away from the wreckage, dazed, bloody and laughing your ass off. It’s that good. “Chest Crawl” is out May 22.
Burger Boogaloo 2012 part 3: Coathangers and Guantanamo Baywatch
Oh Rats! 7" Review
The sun never really shines in Portland, Oregon, but you would not know it by listening to “Oh Rats!”, the latest 7″ from Guantanamo Baywatch, the Bridge City’s best Rock and Roll band.
The record starts with a deep bass groove. Then a high pitched, reverb drenched guitar enters the mix. This track could easily be mistaken for a classic Link Wray or Dick Dale tune. The only clue that “Oh Rats!” is a modern recording is that it sounds far too powerful and heavy to have been made in the 1960′s.
The B side “A Boy to Love” starts with a sad and desperate sounding vocal and a soft, dreamy guitar in the background. After a minute the bass kicks in and the song jumps into a hard-driving, power-pop anthem. This track sounds like some of the earlier Hunx and His Punx recordings, but with a heavier punk-rock edge.
Review: Guantanamo Baywatch - Chest Crawl
Guantanamo Baywatch are a trio from Portland, Oregon who specialize in kitschy surf/rockabilly (surfabilly?) with dashes of madness that venture into Hasil Adkins territory. I’m talking about “Boomerenga” and the instrumental “Massage My Taj” (which appears as “Massage My Taj Mahal” on Postcard From the Tar Pitz), whose titles might as well end in no less than three exclamation points to capture the essence of their wild sound. The band’s new record, Chest Crawl, conjures up plenty of that vintage surf rock ‘n’ roll sound that refuses to die, not unlike the stuff you’ll find in the catalogs of bands like the Flat Duo Jets or Phantom Surfers. It tends to work no matter the time fame and, most importantly, Guantanamo Baywatch do it up just right in the most delightfully trashy of ways. Images of pin-ups, campy B-movies, greasy burgers and fries, tacky lawn ornaments, cheap motel sex, vibrant colors, and really sweet muscle cars come to mind—well, just take a look at their retina-igniting site and you’ll get the idea.
Sun and surf may be rampant on Chest Crawl, but not everything’s as wild and shakin’ as those aforementioned tracks. The sounds of “Frizella” and “Walking in the Dark” are dreamy, two charmers of doo-woppy kitsch à la Shannon and the Clams, making your heart ache a little for the summer.
Everything on the record pulls together to make a solid rock ‘n’ roll party. Put on “Piña Colada” and that’s exactly the drink you’ll want to accompany the record. And just imagine the fun live if you haven’t seen them already. If you’re heading to Austin for SXSW, they are playing a few parties, including our showcase at Spiderhouse on March 14.
Chest Crawl will be available in May on Dirtnap Records.
A few weeks ago we told you that Portland surf weirdos, Guantanamo Baywatch signed with Dirtnap Records to release their upcoming LP Chest Crawl, and now we have the first boogie down jam from the album right here for you. “Boomerenga” was initially on Reptile Roommate, long out of print, but will make a return on the upcoming LP. This version has been fleshed out, and is somehow grimier (dirty in a good way), but still retains all of the hoola hoop swingin’, surf guitar slingin’ aspects of the original.
Guantanamo Baywatch Sign to Dirtnap Records
Guantanamo Baywatch Joins Dirtnap
Portland's Dirtnap Records Signs Guantanamo Baywatch
Guantanamo Baywatch will release its 2nd album (first for Dirtnap Records) of sexy, sleazy, reverb'd out slime in May 2012. Guantanamo Baywatch was started by Jason Powell and Chevelle Wiseman in Portland about four years ago to an immediately enthusiastic reception, released a very well received and now out-of-print LP on Portland's awesome Hovercraft Records, as well as a couple of EP's/tapes. The band really came into it's own, though, in late 2010, with the addition of Chris Michael (also in BOOM!) on drums. Technically it joined the Dirtnap roster in June 2011, but it took its time recording its debut for the label, done mostly at home by the band itself.link: http://beportland.com/entertainment/portland-s-dirtnap-records-signs-guantanamo-baywatch
Chest Crawl sees the band working more vocal numbers into the mix, incorporating the usual surf/garage suspects (Cramps, Trashmen), more obscure 50's rock n' roll/RNB wildmen, as well as slightly heavier nods toward the young-oldies sound being popularized today by bands such as Hunx, Shannon And The Clams, Nobunny, etc.
Wildly popular here in Portland, and not afraid to tour, Guantanamo Baywatch are gonna be all over the place in 2012, starting with a two week tour with frequent bill-mates The Mean Jeans in March, followed by a solid summer of touring following the release of Chest Crawl.
A Gathering of Locals Goes Into the Woods
Guantanamo Baywatch: Looking somewhat like Blondie meets The Stray Cats, this band surely creates cognitive dissonance for the first-time listener, who may be surprised by the tight surf rock the band unleashes. Their instrumental performance echoes the spirit of their surf predecessors, reminding us why Dick Dale has never been uncool. But the greatest surprise arrives when the lead singer belts out his crazed vocals, an exuberant trill over plaintive howls. Think “Surfin’ Bird” in all its timeless proto-punk glory, mischieviously packaged with a postmodern wink. And it goes without saying that they have the best name around.
( link )
There is more to the prolific Guantanamo Baywatch than tastefully crafted, reverb-soaked, vintage surf rock. Granted, their throwback style could most definitely make Frankie and Annette cut a rug, but the local trio isn't merely mining the idyllic days of yore for material. Their raw sound is equal parts garage punk and the Cramps, and as they combine these styles it creates a sort of live-sound spectacular you won't soon forget. More importantly, Guantanamo Baywatch have been known to drop trou from time to time while onstage, and that's something you'd much rather see them do than Dick Dale. Trust me on this one. - EZRA ACE CARAEFF-Portland Mercury
Into the Woods
Afterwards the room was thick with warm sweat, smelling in equal parts sour and sweet--like a couple who fought then fucked to make up.
It would've been sloppy and crashingly passionate. Rolling through a mess of ashtrays and cardboard boxes full of old clothes, from the couch to the table, through towers of empty tall boys and pizza crusts to hit the floor with a thud--whooshing up a tornado of dust bunnies from amongst jewelery and knick-knacks long since lost or discarded. In the corner a mountain of old VHS tapes looms, a testament to a discarded yesterdays; except one is prattling away on the TV now.
The bathroom, an old mop closet, is separate from the scum-stained shower. Next to the toilet lies an empty bottle of El Timador tequila and some twisted, handmade acid art. Its bright colors and bloodshot eyes invoke Guantanamo Baywatch, their sound, their home and their art: scorched earth in neon.
Bassist Chevelle Wiseman is painted the same such loud, twisted tones. Green laces lash together a pair of purple Doc Martins. The croaked boots have seen the world--or at least the world's alley ways. With them she wears black socks, knee-high leopard print tights, and a form-fitting black dress with big gold buttons. Wiseman's hair is purple, and like her Doc Martins, the color has nearly washed out, a near desaturated grey.
It's a crisp, clear and frigid evening in this pocket of southeast Portland. In the yard of the dilapidated house sit two massive papier mache dinosaurs. On the porch and in the hallway there are more, complete with over-sized bones from the Flinstonian surf-party set they designed months earlier for TBA, a high-brow, stuffy arts festival for Portland's bourgeois. It's not the place one would expect to find a scummy surf-punk-throwback. But for Guantanamo Baywatch and their all-encompassing post-apocalyptic rainbows and inclusive sweat, somehow it works.
Packed shoulder to shoulder in the living room, the trio try to fire up a more technical, instrument-driven twanger, with Dick-Dale-esque picking around tight corners. But the engine coughs, sputters, and fails to turn over. It needs a few more kicks.
But their blood, like oil, would soon begin to warm and flow freely. Guitarist and singer Jason Powell began to emerge from under layers of coats and leather jackets, fallen hair and six days of stubble until only the requisite surf tank-top covered his spindly, meatless bones. Drummer Christopher Scott wore one too--Bart Simpson on neon yellow.
Now, on this icy evening, they were nearing a boil. Pushing into a swerving wobble, the cockeyed ballad " They Don't Believe You," they bubbled over. It was pure soul fire, through a twisted fun-house mirror. Eyes and ears pushed around the corners of adjoining rooms, wanting to warm themselves from the now searing heat. They were eager to share.
This is totally surf music, but it's a kind of evil surf music, like if skinny, weasley punk kids were surfers, and they surfed in sewers, and they had board fights, and they cut up actual rats to make Frankenstein-ized Rat Finks in tribute to Ed Roth. So, yeah, I like it.
- Rocktober Reviews
I came across this band several weeks ago when I was planning my trip out to Portland. This was the only band playing while I was out there that came up when I searched the term "garage". Needless to say, they did not disappoint. One bit. I would even say they exceeded my expectations. Initially I was drawn to this band for, well, the reasons are too many to list. But fuckit! I love garage. I love surf. I love garage-y surf. The kind found on some of the 50's & 60's comps I got at home, like Strummin' Mental, or Diggin' Out. I love the fun-first, irreverent, borderline offensive (but too funny to be) song titles, like Titz & Twatz, Clam Party, and Cum Fart Food. But most of all I love the fact that this band is TIGHT. This is a good band. And their recordings, while definitely for fans of the lo-fi, indie variety, showcase a band that not only brings it with the energy, but is capable of geetin er done in the studio as well.
So, on to Portland. I see them in the basement of an indie record store in Belmont (I think it was Belmont). They don't even serve alcohol in this place so I am nippin' it on the flask. The singer/guitar player gets on stage, takes his pants off, puts on a pair of short 80's beach shorts, and as he turns around a projection of a giant pepperoni pizza is shone on the backdrop behind (and on top of) the drummer. The pizza starts spinning around. I'm laughing my ass off. The bass player goes up on stage and I notice on the back of her guitar is a painting of the King! Amazing. Band starts playing, kids start dancing, faux-hawked lead singer/guitarer keeps tryin to come out into the crowd with his axe, these dudes were feelin it, and the kids were LOVING IT! Great energy from the band. Great vibes from the kids. Got to get these dudes out to New York.
So, what I have here for you is their tape, Reptile Roommate, on Gnar Tapes. Six succulent cuts of Sun, Fun n' Sleaze. Enjoy!
(Coming Soon: "Postcard From the Tar Pitz") Posted by Josh at 12:03 PM
- Posted on the blog Three Pipe Yarn.
[DIRTY, DIRTY SURF BEATS]
If the Cramps were still a going concern these days, I daresay the band might pass its curiously stained torch off to local trio Guantanamo Baywatch. Like Lux Interior and the gang, Guantanamo Baywatch plays a dirty version of rockabilly and surf that leaves no hotel bedsheet unrustled. And the local trio cap it off with deliriously filthy song titles and lyrics (let's just mention the song "Cum Fart Food" and leave it at that). I can think of no better way to shake off the holiday blues, and the presents you didn't get, by shimmying your Sunday night away with these crazy kids. ROBERT HAM. 9 pm. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. $5 advance, $6 day of show. 21+. Map
Article on MAD DECENT
Guantanamo Baywatch Bring the Beach Party
by Ethan Jayne
GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH Too busy hanging ten to bother cleaning up their room.
at PDX Pop Now!
Sat July 31
315 SE 3rd
WE PORTLANDERS are famous, maybe infamous, for complaining about the weather. So this past winter-that-shall-not-be-mentioned—the one that kept the rain coming well into June—it was quite refreshing to see a local pack of surf-scum come into their own as a band, shrugging off the downpour and forcing in the sunshine. Guantanamo Baywatch emerged seemingly out of nowhere, washing up grimy and mutated on the polluted banks of the Willamette, promptly running amok in the Portland punk scene—clad in sunglasses and howling at the moon—clearly having missed the memo that winter is supposed to be a bummer.
It was obvious from first glance that this overly sexwaxed gang was not your daddy's brand of surf rock. When Guantanamo Baywatch first started playing together in early 2009, the idea was to be "a trashy, high-energy surf band" in defiance of the weather. "Sun rules, rain drools!" as bassist Chevelle Wiseman so eloquently puts it. "I think what Portland needs is super rowdy, fucked-up bands to get people moving around, especially when it's shitty outside."
The trio of Wiseman, Jason Powell, and Devin Trainer—whose stage aliases of Chicky Baby, Pizza Eater, and Turok: Pussy Hunter one-up and out-punk just about everybody—sounds like they kidnapped the Ventures and made them play while dragging them behind jet skis through a toxic and twisted shark colony, where the mohawked great whites would just as likely shotgun a Sparks as they would chomp you in half. The resulting sounds are sick and skuzzy with generous dollops of reverb and rockabilly, plus scuttling, warbled vocals every bit as unpredictable and venomous as the Cramps' Lux Interior or the Gun Club's Jeffrey Lee Pierce. While they hang 10 like Orca Team, Guantanamo Baywatch's party-first-ask-questions-later attitude better puts them in the company of White Fang and the Mean Jeans. The band's rambunctious live shows, in all their sloppy, ecstatic glory, are the place to be and should only be tighter and altogether crazier after they get back from their full US tour at this PDX Pop Now! show."
-Ethan Jayne, Portland Mercury
PDX Pop Now!
Sat. 2:05pm — Guantanamo Baywatch, The Tumblers, and O Bruxo
by Chris Young on July 31, 2010
Chevelle Wiseman of Guantanamo Baywatch. Photos by Jon T. Cruz.
As the name suggests, Guantanamo Baywatch brought raucous garage surf to the first set on the outdoor stage. Trying to coax the sun out from beneath an overcast sky, the three-piece dressed the part of beach bums in their tanks and shorts, shaking the whole stage with their punky antics.
Squealing “Wipe out!” the crowd quickly warmed to the summery vibe, go-go-ing to Guantanamo Baywatch’s fuzzed out, sunny rhythms, lilting Ramones-esque vox, and Dick Dale guitars mixed with rays of rockabilly. A tune evocative of The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” conjured up the pure raw energy of riding a wave… or for us less talented surf-culture aficionados, at least romping by the sea in the sun.
Stripping the top of her leopard dress down to the naval, bassist Chevelle Wiseman exposed her neon lime bikini top as drummer Devin Trainer took a break from behind the kit to do some calisthenics during a grungy guitar jam.
Jason Powell of Guantanamo Baywatch
Brief hints of an Elvis-like croon from singer/guitarist Jason Powell encouraged shimmying from both the stage and crowd as Guantanamo Baywatch created a parking lot party, echoing their Facebook mantra: “We will play any party.” Just call.
Although the lyrics were unintelligible, the actual words weren’t necessary to broadcast the band’s vibe. As their brief set came to a close, one thing was certain: Guantanamo Baywatch has simple intentions, yet they’re simply infectious.
And of course, they succeeded in coaxing out the summer sun that we all desired."
Guantanamo Baywatch at the Works
Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 4:18 PM
* Photo by Wayne Bund/courtesy of PICA
Last night Guantanamo Baywatch transformed the Works into a prehistoric surfer beach party, bedecking the stage with a set that included volcanoes, palm trees, and a dinosaur with water trickling out of it. It was basically a garage rock show with a budget ("We spent $1200!" announced guitarist Jason Powell)—which might be kind of anathema to the whole garage rock aesthetic, but it was a memorable time nonetheless.
Bay area band Shannon and the Clams opened the show, clad in cartoon-caveman gear and one-strap fur skins. They stood on a riser on the right side of the stage, inviting people to come up and dance to their camp, demented retro-billy rock 'n' roll. And much of the crowd came appropriately attired, wearing beach attire or space clothes or weirder: some were in drag, and there were a couple zombie-Marie-Antoinette things that defy any sort of description. The dance party erupted on the stage itself, leaving the rest of the Works auditorium sparsely populated with folks who were either not into it, or were confused by the gonzo renditions of songs like "The Wanderer," or who were just plain tired.
And it did seem that—costumed revelers aside—the crowd was by and large experiencing fatigue. TBA has entered in the home stretch, but it's a marathon for all who take it seriously, and Thursday night definitely felt a sag in energy. I know that after going to the Works four nights in a row, I'm personally hitting a bit of a wall, and I wasn't the only one. Still, I'm also not the type of person to put on caveman-goes-to-the-beach clothes and flail around in a dance party with a bunch of strangers. That left me the option of sitting peacefully out in the theater watching from afar, and that's what I did.
Guantanamo Baywatch kept the dinosaur dance party going with their trash-surf with new drummer Chris (thought it might be the dude from Hornet Leg [UPDATE: No it is not, Guantanamo Baywatch's new drummer is Chris Scott]). Hula hoops twirled, and at one point a giant stuffed blue leopard-print shark was tossed around like a beach ball. It looked heavy. The band rocked some trash, played some punk tunes, and people danced. It wasn't art, but it was a good time, even from my comfortable perch out in the seats.
TBA 2010: Guantanamo Baywatch, Shannon & The Clams
Posted by: Anne Adams on Sep 17, 2010 at 01:00PM
If you’ve gotta have a gimmick—and gimmicks seem the single unifying factor for musical acts at The Works—you might as well COMMIT.
“We spent $1200 building this set,” Guantanamo Baywatch announced, indicating their multi-tiered papier-mâché beach-scape that seemed to have spewed right out of a baking-soda volcano, with tuffets of pointy cartoon foliage and a gritty “sand” floor. “You might as well come up here and use it.” And so we clamored onto the fake beach and boogied, alongside Tiki dresses and caveman costumes, while Shannon & The Clams, and then Baywatch, styled a punishing onslaught of nonstop surf-rock.
Surf-rock may be breezy, but it’s not easy. The responsibility of the genre’s musicians is to make those slides and runs look like a cakewalk, and both bands pulled off this illusion with flair. While their able fingers said “practice,” their gyrating bodies and O-faces screamed “PARTY!!!!”
This was not an experiment. Not an exploration. Literally and figuratively accessible, it pushed “pause” on PICA’s program of thought-provocation, and brought our strained sensibilities briefly back to Bedrock.
CARPET CULTURE: WHITE FANG, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, ORCA TEAM
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Living in Portland during the fall/winter/spring, one often finds oneself believing that life is perpetual darkness, coldness, and rain. Guantanamo Baywatch exist to remind us that there is a beach party somewhere out there and that, yes, there is a sun shining above it. It is a hard concept to grasp in our weakest moments but those who keep the idea alive should be commended for their efforts. Guantanamo Baywatch are a surf band in a beach-less world, a band that chooses to hold a throwback jamboree in the face of ultimate darkness. When you were a dumb early-twentysomething and moved here, this is what you came for. So buck up, get your ass off the couch, and brave the hangover 'cause this show is gonna be fun! MH
(Portland Mercury, April, 2010)
WHITE FANG, SHAKES, FUCK MOUNTAIN, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH
(Ducketts Public House, 825 N Killingsworth) I wish I knew what the White Fang boys were singing about on one of their latest tracks, "Portland Sucks." Unfortunately, the lyrics of these homegrown lads are indeterminably muffled among the mess of distorted guitar and frantic cymbal crashes. Well, that's just how they do it. With their excellent sophomore album Whatever, White Fang once again proves that satisfying chord progressions and adolescent angst are a killer combo. Joining them tonight are local upstartsGuantanamo Baywatch, who play a truly strange and wonderful brand of surf-thrash R&B, complete with a singer who sounds like the warbling tropical love child of Hank Williams and Lux Interior. MARANDA BISH
(Portland Mercury, February, 2010)
HEATSTROKE: GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, ORCA TEAM, DJ HOT AIR BALLOON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) If winter's gloom and doom is already bumming you out, thonight's a perfect opportunity to brush the miniature cobwebs off the swimwear you bought last June and cheer the eff up. Heatstroke may very well create a sonic wormhold to your favorite beach BBQs of last summer. Transportiong you out of December's tortruous murk is Guantanamo Baywatch, who channel Dick Dale to create a wah-wah-wah-wah "Wipe Out" version of the Black Lips. KP