The home of West Coast rock has always been the ocean.
From the Beach Boys to Pearl Jam to the Mermen, the lapping of waves on endless sand form a rhythmic template for generations of noisy melodic groups. Sonoma’s local variant is Evening Glass.
Zachary Carroll’s dreamy vocals ride the peaks of ultra-clean guitar and dips of flange-y noise to tell tales of love and surfing. And love of surfing.
The 2022 EP, Steady Motion, is suffused with imagery which exhibits that intimacy with the natural world that surfers have let sink deep into their skin from years of crashing into breakers at the break of dawn.
Sometimes that imagery is specific (“west of the 405,” “to Half Moon Bay”), and at other times Carroll paints a picture of the cycles of love and loss, or the flow of life, that resonates with the movement of the Pacific (“I hope you row back … cause I’m in too deep,” “at the bottom of the sea”).
The sound of the four-piece band is captured effortlessly in the record, so obviously recorded as a live group. A point of pride for the band.
In the midst of the pandemic, “We did a DIY recording of six songs all live [and] overdubbed the vocals,” said Carroll. “Then I mixed it with [drummer] PJ [Hakimi] and we put it out.”
The simple act of creation, such a globally shared story of the pandemic days, revitalized the band.
“I want to do some more recordings,” noted Carroll. “We have an hour and a half set and only recorded 10 of those songs. [The plan is] to keep recording and put out something else.”
No wonder that the EP was voted #4 best EP of the year by Janglepophub. It is more than a high pitched jangle record though.The band works hard to craft their sound, which carves along the edge of surf and noise, all at the pace of the sun setting slowly off the edge of the continent until the rush of the horizon accelerates to meet it.
“Well, I do play a little bit of flanger pedal,” said Carroll. “On that EP, every song that had a little bridge, I hit the flanger. The ’90s influence, like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Lemonheads, all that kind of like alternative sound, you know, that’s my root.”
In fact, the band has members rooted in four decades. While Carroll is in his mid-40s, drummer PJ Hakimi is in his 50s and guitar player Chris Miller is in his 60s, bassist Thomas (yes, just “Thomas”) is only in his 20s.
“It’s kind of funny to share influences and like turn him on to music that we may have heard, you know, 20, 30 years ago, [knowing] that he wasn’t even born yet,” laughed Carroll.
It all makes for a formula that has brought the group increasing recognition, including this year’s North Bay Music Award for Best Indie Band.
The indie scene in Sonoma is rich enough to draw comparisons between Evening Glass and other bands like The Flyover States from Santa Rosa and The Bumble and Bones in Sonoma.
In discussing contemporary influences, Carroll names too many bands to mention here (Sub Pop darlings Fruit Bats sticks in the mind). The unifying factor is the desire to hit a guitar like the face of a perfect swell and let it ring.
“All these like modern bands that I’m heavily influenced by [have that] full band sound,” said Carroll.
It’s all about two guitars and a rhythm section grooving along the coast in the fading light.
Evening Glass’ EP, ‘Steady Motion,’ is available on streaming platforms now.