Psych of the Wood: The Growlers bring ominous surf rock to Asheville

Jack of the Wood is no longer just for bluegrass. The days of old-time and roots aren’t over, but the more traditional genres have some serious competition. Just in the past month, the downtown ale house hosted performances by surf rock legend Dick Dale and iconic blues guitarist Beverly Watkins, just to name a few. Tonight, Jack of the Wood presents its most rocking, psychedelic affair to date.

The Growlers are loud and rambunctious, steeped in sunny, ‘60s psychedelia. But lurking behind the walls of reverb, dizzying vibrato and warm organs is a dark and ominous foundation. It’s a world of delightful contradictions where bouncy rhythms propel dissonant chord progressions and infectious melodies carry melancholy lines like “The graveyard’s full / We’re running out of dirt / But we can use the bones / To build another church / Thick walls made of men / Whose souls have come and went.”

The California five-piece has dubbed its sound as “beach goth,” which seems about as accurate a label as any. But The Growlers owe to a long list of influences, including lo-fi garage, West Coast country and straightforward surf rock. And while it may be difficult to pin down, the sound is earning the band some high-profile fans. Its forthcoming record, due this year, was produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, and the band has already toured with acts like Dr. Dog, Devendra Banhart and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.

Live performances are known for wild theatrics (e.g., wigs, makeup and props), so do yourself a favor and don’t wait until next week to get into the Growlers.

Jane Jane Pollack opens. 9 p.m. $10.


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