"IF YOU'RE PUTTING something out, you want to put out as much as you can," says Brooks Nielsen, singer for Costa Mesa surf-country-party band the Growlers. Their forthcoming EP, Hot Tropics, clocks in at a whopping 10 tracks—enough for an album. "I'm still not sure what an EP is," admits Nielsen. "Other than 'extended play,' but I don't even know what that means."
Consider it generosity from a band that has accumulated a surfeit of songs, stemming from their Couples series of recordings, a string of limited-edition releases that came from a short, prolific period. "We were trying to make as much music as we could, because we felt we didn't have enough to be a band. So we made as many songs as we could in eight months," says Nielsen. Songs from the Couples series were cherry-picked for Are You In or Out?, a full-length released last year on Everloving Records. "It was too much to put out: 'Hey, check out our band for the first time, we have 50 songs!' So we pretty much made a mixtape of all of it."
Hot Tropics, due out in October, follows the trajectory of the Growlers' now quite extensive catalog: reverb-laden surf-country songs spawned from a punk-garage mentality, anchored by Latin-tinged riffs and Nielsen's braying, cucumber-cool croon. Recorded in the 2200-square-foot Costa Mesa warehouse where they all live and practice, its laidback beach-noir vibe is mellower than the Growlers' carousing live shows would suggest. "There's that weird aspect of being a performer where you kind of feel like a tool," Nielsen jokes. "It's just weird: When I perform, people are more stoked when I'm smashed. But I probably sound the shittiest, and I can't do that every day. But that's when they're the most pumped."
Meanwhile, the Growlers are planning to resurrect their Couples series, and continue recording as much music as possible in between surfing, day jobs, and boisterous live shows. "That's just what we're doing," Nielsen says. "We've got a term: 'Shit and keep running.' Drop some songs on the way."