Review | The Reigning Monarchs - Black Sweater Massacre


[L]os Angeles’ reigning surf-punk band The Reigning Monarchs are back with a brand new collection of instrumental rock n’ roll good enough to make me want to grab a board and hit those waves like a pro, even though I can’t swim and am deathly afraid of sharks! That is the awesome, will-bending power behind the band’s sophomore album, Black Sweater Massacre, released September 24th thanks to a spectacular fundraising effort through IndieGoGo. It was clear the fans wanted new music when the band asked for $10,000 to help fund the album and received triple that request. Now that’s love!

The Monarchs came to be in 2007 when stand-up comic/author/guitarist Greg Behrendt asked his pal Michael Eisenstein to produce a musical number that he had written for his comedy tour. As he was a founding member of the fantastic Boston band Letters to Cleo, Eisenstein knew a thing or two about putting a song together. The following year their self-titled debut album was released and the band played live show after live show, amassing a huge fanbase and creating a stir for new material. In 2010 the duo recruited drummer Blair Sinta and bassist Dave Hawkins, and together they released a 3-song digital EP titled All Summer Single. The guys continued on as 4-piece and work on the second full-length would begin in 2012.

Now I simply must warn you, when you press play on Black Sweater Massacre you will want to get up and dance, or pretend you’re surfing, either one is perfectly fine. From the album’s opening fanfare, “It Might Be Perfect Now,” to the jitterbug groove of the closing track, “Blood Red Metal Flake,” you are swept up in a whirlwind of machine-gun guitars, frenetic drums, and enough brass to make Herb Alpert take a bow. The title track, “Black Sweater Massacre,” kicks in with that instantly identifiable, rapid tremolo picking, synonymous with the surf-rock sound. Among the other highlights on the 12-track album are the first single, “Murder Your Summer,” the slow-rolling, saxified, “Frankenstein Ska,” and the dreamy ode to a dreamy New England muse, “Tanya Donelly.”

Black Sweater Massacre is just what the doctor ordered for us East Coasters as we begin to deal with the unwelcome advances of old man winter. Keep this album on a continuous loop and embrace the warm sounds of the California surf emanating from your speakers… snow and ice will soon be a just a fading memory. The single, “Murder Your Summer,” is posted above for your listening pleasure. Do turn it up!

Buy Black Sweater Massacre

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