Not all the members of Orange County garage band the Hindu Pirates are of drinking age but that hasn’t stopped them from getting into The Echo. The Huntington Beach quintet is holding down a weekly residency at the club every Monday in June, proving they've outgrown backyard parties and are stepping up to bona fide gigs.
Even before finishing college, the five musicians are making a name for themselves. With this month's release of their 7" single "In the Dark," the band blends playful blues-based rock with surf-rock riffs topping it all off with a dose of psychedelia.
Formed in 2009 while the members were still attending Edison High School, the Hindu Pirates started playing friends' parties in Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa. A year later they released their self-produced debut album Pelican Daze, 11 explosive, head-bobbing surf tunes highlighted by “Mr. Reaper,” in which lead singer Austin Ferreira’s raw, forceful voice is stressed to full capacity. At last year’s U.S. Open of Surfing they opened for Grouplove, and they’ve also been sponsored by Southern California clothing company Hurley for their four-track demo, the Hurley EP. This March, the Hindu Pirates made their first trip to Austin for South By Southwest, where they got a brief taste of the road life.
"[South by Southwest] was our first real, out-of-state, mini-tour,” drummer Ben Tinsley said. “We played a strong show at a bar called ‘Cheer Up Charlie’s’, and had a really great time. We played for about 100 people there.”
Since the release of Pelican Daze, their music has grown into a different sound that can’t easily be pegged as surf-rock or beach-pop. “We’re definitely not surf anymore, but we still have that feel,” said guitarist Casey Snyder. “We’re trying to make [our sound] bigger and more powerful.”
The efforts have paid off. On "In the Dark," recorded with L.A.-based label Near Mess Records, the Hindu Pirates display an upbeat, textured sound that highlights their musical chemistry. Rhythm guitarist Guiseppe LoBasso’s reverb-laden chords match up smoothly with Snyder’s melodic riffs while Tinsley’s free and easy drumming keeps Ferreira’s lyrics alive. With the year only half over, they hope to have at least one more record on the way this summer.
"We've been trying to find a place where we can record an album," says bassist Derek Bostelman. "We’re in the process of writing a bunch of stuff so that's gonna be on our minds pretty soon."
Tinsley revealed that along with the residency at the Echo, they're planning a late-summer release of an upcoming demo. After playing for a responsive crowd of about 280 people last Monday night, opportunities look promising. They'll also be performing at Echo Park Rising, a music and arts fest happening August 17-18.
The Hindu Pirates will close out their residency at the Echo tonight. You can also find them on Soundcloud and Facebook.