Irontom arrived with a roar on the L.A. scene about six years ago, indie-metal monster babies with rosy cheeks, menacing teeth and sharp claws. Owing mostly to frontman Harry Hayes’ onstage convulsions and wide-eyed Iggy stare, you weren’t exactly sure whether the quintet was going to play music for you or eat you. Riff-heavy bombast was the dish being served, not quite the clichéd Sunset Strip variety but certainly nothing that was buzzing in the Eastside clubs either.
What followed were two EPs, three singles, plenty of dues-paying and precious little decline in Irontom’s ferocity — all of which have led to “Partners,” the band’s debut album, out May 5. It nods to 1970s shredders and latter-day electro-rockers (Aaron Bruno of AWOLNATION produced), and finds Hayes and his mates — guitarist Zach Irons, bassist Dane Sandborg, keyboardist Daniel Saslow and drummer Dylan Williams — getting their hands dirty. “Someone once said to me, ‘If I was in a haunted house, this is the music that would be playing,’ and that works for me,” says Irons, the son of former Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons whose guitar mentor was John Frusciante. “The spooky-scary thing is what excites us the most, although we generally try to ride the line between dark and happy.”
Their recent single “Brain Go,” the most pop-friendly song the quintet has made, leans toward the latter. Not so with the first song they introduced from the album, “Hookers,” a flashback to the days L.A. rock bands wrote bawdy songs about street life. Their latest reveal is the searing “Be Bold Like Elijah.” The reference to a Biblical character is accidental — it is, in fact, a tribute to an old skateboarder friend. The song’s irrepressible swagger is vintage Irontom, little monsters who seem to have been born with it.
||| Stream: “Be Bold Like Elijah”
||| Also: Stream “Brain Go” and “Hookers”
||| Live: Irontom has 11 May dates across the U.S. opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers.