Published Jul 23, 2009The name Ganglians sounds like a discriminatory race of ugly aliens from Doctor Who. Or, you know, a nasty cyst. But they're actually a bunch of hairy dudes from Sacramento, CA that sound like the Beach Boys - had the Wilsons been holed up in unexplored caves instead of pretending they were surfers on American Bandstand. After signing with spectacular upstart Woodsist, the band have released both an eight-song twelve-inch and a full-length of "pure, naïve headphone acid pop." The self-titled mini-LP takes cues from surf rock, droning bedroom experiments and sublime chamber pop but sent through a grinder that results in a lo-fi seesaw battle between bedlam and sedation. Far less shambolic is the Monster Head Room LP. Still interested in pushing their psychedelic limits, Ganglians' objective is a stronger focus on finding harmonies. The compositions are still jumbled but there's greater cohesion in the band's arrangements, best felt on "Violent Brave," as we're taken on a hallucinatory journey that peaks with tribal grooves and soaring falsettos. "The Void" could even be their attempt at their own "Surf's Up," were they beamed up by aliens and probed with their mics left on. Ganglians take you on a weird, strange trip but it's one where you hope the flashbacks stay with you forever.
Is your name any kind of reference to the ganglion cyst? Or aliens?
Ryan Grubbs: I've always been described as tall and gangly but I like to think about it as a gang of aliens, definitely, which is what we really are: out on the fringes of society, in our mannerisms. We found out about the cysts later. It's a bundle of nerves that basically functions on its own, as a parasite, the nerves have a means of perception.
What do you mean by "pure, naive headphone acid pop to drive to"?
It's naive because we had zero dollars, five days with the house to ourselves and our friend Andy Morin to record it. I didn't know what other chance we would have to use more than four tracks so we immediately proclaimed it as our "experiment" at '60s studio pop.
There's quite a difference between the twelve-inch and the full-length.
A lot of it overlaps - some songs on the twelve-inch are our first songs but some came during and after the time we made the album. Monster Head Room was always the nurtured pop opus and the self-titled record was all about playing live and loud. (Woodsist)