Long Beach: City of oil rigs and Snoop Dogg--until Tijuana Panthers. The band that classifies its music as "barbershop surfpop" has been orbiting the Los Angeles music scene since approximately 2005 (give or take, I could totally be pulling that out of my ass) and making LBC quite proud. Chad Wachtel on guitar, Phil Shaheen on drums, and Dan Michcoff on bass comprise the sound of 60s surf music present on tracks like "Crew Cut" and "Redheaded Girl."
Tijuana Panthers affirm that their music isn't really all that serious, though I would say "Redheaded Girl" is a notable exception. Even as a non-redhead, this song is near and dear to me. Fueled by the opening bass line, the song wins you over right away and locks you in with the lyrics: "I saw you standing there, waiting in that line/You wore your favorite dress, you had your makeup done/You stood there all alone, you didn't have a friend/You know your only crime was having that red hair." It paints a rather bleak picture, doesn't it? Fear not, there's scads of other, more flippant fare, such as "Summer Fun," "Girls Gone Wild," and "Crew Cut," another personal favorite.
Another aspect of my recent fancy for this trio of surfpop revivalists is the fact that they exist within the limited bounds of L.A.'s musical compass, one that includes the likes of The Growlers, Blue Jungle (please release another album, by the way), and the perhaps more successful The Soft Pack, and the definitely more successful Nite Jewel. While L.A. has aspiring bands queuing outside The Echo en masse to get a gig, there is, to be blunt, too much shit to sift through. So I would like to think I've done some of the sifting for you, especially if you live in Los Angeles and are looking for a good show to attend. And, coincidentally, Tijuana Panthers have several shows coming up: May 21 at, what else, The Echo with Christmas Island, May 22 at the Silverlake Jubilee, and again at The Echo on May 24 with The Like and Dante vs. Zombies.
If you can't make it out, their singles are available on iTunes through 1928 Recordings and Toy Records (always show the label love) or visit myspace.com/tijuanapanthers.