Something fearless perches atop the mantle of the Echo Park band Tülips, adorned with riot grrrl sensibilities and framed with an untethered joy. The obvious landmarks in Tülips’ world are the Sleater-Kinney overtones on faster tracks like Wait, where the guitar and drums crunch away with vocals from ferocious Angie Bloom. These play out with heart-on-sleeve mannerisms, jostling along with a tragic love story rhythm; it’s overly dramatic for the sake of moving along the song, sort of like burning a love letter that is never meant to be sent.
The other landmark on the Tülips’ map is the faint arrow pointing toward flourishes that remind of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The guitar work bends in unexpected ways and leaves off in strange, exciting places, a sort of parenthetical to experimenting on one’s instrument. These esoteric sidewinder solos land in the earlier Tülips’ track Rain Blame, making do with a less is more approach.
The group manages plenty of catchy hooks with split vocals from Bloom, Taleen Kali, drum work from Travis Barnes and Miles Marisco on bass. There are plenty of references to California on the group’s tracks, but it isn’t all sunny; more like washed out posters to old concerts that people can reminisce over while shooting the breeze outside of a bar. Forget post-punk or garage or any other title to describe Tülips.
It’s earnest and that is all that should matter.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.