First off: Who says all the good band names are taken? Ladies and gentlemen … Turtles on Speed.
Now: Who are Turtles on Speed? They are Dash Hutton on drums and vocals, Brandon Rauch on bass, Devin Johnson on guitar and synths and “honorary member” Brandon Intelligator on guitar and background vocals — all guys who have played in a slew of other L.A. bands, here combining their punk pasts with an affection for the melodic, guitar-driven rock of indie greats. It’s like Teenage Fanclub getting a high-five from Redd Kross — lovable reprobates making thoroughly likable music.
It was Hutton — known for his work with HAIM, Weyes Blood, Mini Mansions and, back in the day, Wires on Fire — who came up with the name. The story goes that he was showing bandmates how to play one of songs he’d written. “It’s like The Turtles … on speed!” he said, to which they responded, “A-ha!” Maybe you had to be there.
Anyway, the project started last year amid what Hutton calls an early 30s existential crisis. “It was me, a Marshall stack and an electric guitar in my recording studio in Laurel Canyon,” he says. “I was trying to get to the core of what I make so that when I go out on stage I can just be myself.” Not that anything was overthought: After only three rehearsals and one show, the band recorded 11 songs, co-producing with Mike Pepe.
And speaking of lovable reprobates, there’s the video for “High With You.” Directed by Kevin Hayes (who did Dawes’ video for “Things Happen”), it features Ross Murakami and Ison Van Winkle (both of YIP YOPS), Holland Deschuymere, Jazz Owings, Sergio Brito and local celebrity Tommy, the Canyon Country Store legend. Follow the urchins as they skip school, shoplift, score weed, dodge the cops and make friends. If there’s a new anthem for just playing hooky, this is it.
||| Watch: The video for “High With You”
||| Also: Stream “Cemetery of Love”
||| Live: Buzz Bands LA presents Turtles on Speed’s release party on Thursday at the Hi Hat. The Tracks and the Premonitions also perform, and it’s free. Info.