Winter weather go you down? Well, Fat Wreck Chords has good news for your seasonal blues: a sonic scrip called In This Mess from the California combo toyGuitar!
The band is built on the sunny vocals of Jack Dalrymple (whom you know and love from his long tenure in Swingin' Utters), who dragged his Utters cohort Miles Peck into the mix. The two eventually recruited their sometime Re-Volts bandmate Paul Oxborrow (“In the grand and time-honored tradition of band incest,” cracks Paul). To accompany the fuzzy vox, bouncy bass, and jangly guitars, the boys looked south from their Bay Area environs and pulled in the driving drum beats of Los Angeles sticks maven Rosie Gonce. Together, the foursome collaborated to churn out the most blissed out, full throttle album of beachy sounds you'll hear 'til spring.
When asked whether a summery, surfy vibe was the end goal, Oxborrow says, “I don't think there was anything intentional, but I will say that we recorded the album in the middle of July, on vintage-y Fender equipment, and heavily under the influence of fish tacos, so maybe some of that rubbed off.”
“Plus Miles's approach to those 'Mexi-solos' and Rosie's approach to drums,” adds Dalrymple. “It could also be my sea foam green guitar cuz that screams surf poseur too.”
Intentional or not, everything about this album—and this band—screams “fun,” right down to what Jack calls the “very not serious ring” to the band's name, which he thinks he may have stolen from former fellow “swinger” Spike Slawson...or maybe from NOFX manager Kent Jamieson. “It was soooo long ago,” he says of his long-forgotten nominative theft.
Paul agrees that the name fits the band's vibe to a tee, though. “When I went to see them at their first show—before I joined—it seemed like the name just fit perfectly,” he says. “Maybe because they were ripping so hard, so effortlessly, and having so much fun that they made their instruments look like toys? That sounds corny, I know, but it's true. It's never not fun playing with these ding dongs.”
Matching the carefree vibe of the music and the laid-back creative process the combo employ while writing together, the anonymous foot wheels on the cover of the album came to them serendipitously. “There's this dude on Instagram I follow, Travis Jensen,” says Jack. “He takes these really great pics. I saw those skates and it just kinda clicked: subject matter, roller skate fun, and crack!”