I've spoken endlessly about my fortunate involvement with both Beaters and Ale Mania, both of whom sprung up after the demise of the Sess here in San Diego. Ale Mania's stellar debut LP, A, Who Sings That Beat?, was released over the summer, and Beaters debut LP, Fishage, is on its way. For a short time, order both LPs together and save some bucks, and stream both below.
Beaters LP/Ale Mania LP Two-Pack
San Diego CityBeat's review of the Ale Mania LP by Seth Combs:
ALE MANIA A, Who Sings That Beat?
A little more than a year ago, just about every indie fag worth his bespectacled salt (including myself) was creaming his pants over local garage heroes Beaters and their torrid single, “Fishage.” The core duo of that group (Jeremy Rojas and Andrew Montoya) made a huge buzz with their previous band, The Sess, before splintering off into Beaters and Ale Mania around 2009. But while Beaters’ “Fishage” made the rounds on the blogosphere faster than news of Thom Yorke’s latest bowel movement, the Montoya-fronted Ale Mania’s “Rampage,” released around the same time, went ignored. The promise I saw in that bass-heavy blast of garage pop extends into Ale Mania’s first full-length LP. The one-two experimental punch of “Submersed Space” and “United States of Abamonation” sounds like Cryptograms-era Deerhunter, while “LustFulFistFul” and “Tetherfree” manage to finally marry new-wave and no-wave, creating a highly danceable, almost goth-rock treat. A, Who Sings That Beat?’s greatest strength, however, is how well the group balances experimentalism with pop hooks. Similar bands often try too hard to escape their influences and end up sounding so different that they lose accessibility. It’s been a long road for Ale Mania, but the result is a group of mature and gifted musicians who’ve finally created what we all knew they had in them: a masterpiece. myspace.com/wearealemania.
From CityBeat's 2011 Best of Local Releases:
1. A, Who Sings that Beat?, Ale Mania (Volar): Some of the biggest buzz-bands in 2011 played it safe with nostalgic dance-floor fodder (Washed Out), wintry beardo ballads (Fleet Foxes) and sappy-sweet, Phil Collins-style sax solos that blurred the lines of irony and sincerity (Bon Iver, Destroyer). While some of it was undoubtedly good music, these bands also sounded rather tone deaf in the face of so much economic hardship and global protest. This year, I wanted music that was darker, more revolutionary, and I found it in this stunning album. In it, Ale Mania strikes an uneasy balance between finely honed songcraft and volatile performance, pairing deeply moving pop hooks with grimy guitars and half-yelled vocals in highlights like “Robust Universe” and “United States of Abamonation.” This album is a true classic—a radioactive stain on anemic indie-music trends, it’s surprising, poignant and terrifically dangerous.
CityBeat's Fishage LP review by Seth Combs:
I could argue that the long-awaited debut LP from Beaters has arrived too late for anyone outside of San Diego to care much and that it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a local equivalent of Guns N’ Roses’ decade-in-the-making Chinese Democracy. More than two years ago, Vice magazine wrote about the album’s title track and music website Stereogum praised the band’s self-described “mutant-punk” sound as “unrelenting” and “darkly atmospheric.” Any band with even a remote sense of self-marketing would have ridden that hype like a mechanical bull, putting out an LP forthwith.
But Beaters aren’t your typical band. To say what I just said detracts from just how good they really are. Frontman Jeremy Rojas and drummer / musical soulmate Andrew Montoya have always made fantastic music together, whether it was the brat-punk noise of The Sess or, more recently, the danceable new-wave of Ale Mania. While the former sounded like teenage nihilism and the latter was a step toward mature pop sensibilities, Beaters are a good dose of both. Songs like “Swine Gen” and “Contender” would please a youthful punk as well as an aging hipster. It’s grownup music, but it still has an exuberance that Ché Café kids can embrace.
So, has it been worth the wait? Kinda. At eight songs in a little more than 25 minutes, Fishage feels anti-climactic. Plus, it’d be nice to have heard more new material instead of a by-the-numbers cover of The Damned’s “New Rose” and remixed versions of the years-old “White Hate” and “Fishage.” But maybe the idea is to throw “Fishage” back out there and get critics and bloggers back on the hype bus. Hmm—that’d be some clever marketing.