Cobalt Cranes

Published on March 7th, 2015

Cobalt Cranes

Cobalt Cranes

Cobalt Cranes

If we can just be simple about it, Los Angeles’ Cobalt Cranes are a great rock ‘n’ roll band: a couple of guitarists/vocalists, drums, bass, nice and loud. Alas, rock critics aren’t simple, which is why we developed microgenres within subgenres within genres, and Cobalt Cranes harkens back to a few of them—Spacemen 3’s druggy space rock, the expansive shoegaze of Ride, the jangly alt-rock of R.E.M., and Nuggets-era garage rock—while creating one of its own: California Grunge.

“’California grunge’ is taking elements that have a very California sound—12-string guitars, harmonies—and blending them with rough, dirty, raw sounds that are grungier,” says guitarist and vocalist Tim Foley, who formed the band with bassist/vocalist Kate Betuel in 2010. After recruiting a second guitarist and a drummer, Cobalt Cranes released its punky debut Head in the Clouds in 2013. The “California Grunge” aesthetic didn’t take hold until the group’s sophomore LP, the exceptional Days in the Sun, released this year by Lolipop.

“We have always had ‘California’ elements in our songs, and have been fans of different types of grunge, but I never really thought about blending the two styles in the way that we are doing now,” Betuel says.

March 27 at Propaganda

March 27 at Propaganda

The result is a gritty, ominous record that is, paradoxically, also sprightly and florid. “Flowers on Your Grave,” the album’s leadoff track and single, is emblematic of this approach, visually as well as aurally: A couple minutes into the song’s music video, flowers sprout from the musicians’ instruments and pulsate to the rhythms, ushering in a kaleidoscope of primitive, psychedelic special effects.

“The more low-budget the effects, the better it is if you can pull it off stylistically,” Betuel says. “My father is a science-fiction writer, and I’m definitely inspired by him. I always think cinematically.”

Indeed, visuals matter for Cobalt Cranes, down to their onstage attire, which, oddly enough, can conjure the sequined sport coats of “Rhinestone Cowboy”-era Glen Campbell.

“I like the idea of having a stage wardrobe that’s a component of your music,” says Kate, who runs a vintage clothing business by day. “It’s a subliminal part of music when you see it performed. Visuals, while listening to music, can impact the entire experience. And besides, it’s fun to dress up.”

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Cobalt Cranes perform:
March 27 at Propaganda, Lake Worth w. Sweet Bronco, Whorish Boorish and Hypoluxo   |  RSVP 

See Photos from the Propaganda show by Monica McGivern HERE!

March 28 at Churchill’s, Miami  w. Sunghosts, Free Pizza, The Gun Hoes,  Seafoam Walls  |  RSVP

~John Thomason

“A fierce grunge slice of garage-punk. My ear buds are smitten” -BUZZBANDS LA

“Of the new local bands, Cobalt Cranes are one of the few fit to be Sherpas for the rock ‘n’ Roll world.”-LA RECORD

“We play ‘Picture In The Snow’ over and over, reveling in it’s distorted fuzz heartbeat and picturing ourselves sauntering the streets of LA.”-THE FADER

“Grooves right into a garage shoegazer vibe with out the art school trappings.”-MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL

“Cobalt Cranes have stepped out of the garage and into a world that’s as sweeping and sprawling as LA itself. They are operating with an acute awareness of what goes into a great song” -LA WEEKLY

“Kate Betuel and Tim Foley trade vocal duties, though never does this sound like one of those guy-girl clichés, as they pound on the lo-fi rock. Fuzzy LA post punk. ” -PITTSBURGH DAILY NEWS

“Their songs conjure images of L.A. punks in bold shades blasting noise in dirty clubs.” -VOLCANO WEEKLY

“Are California through and through, from their washed-out, surf-rock undertones to their utterly unperturbed lyrical tone” -CMJ

“LA duo pops out left coast sun psych with it’s Head In The Clouds”-AUSTIN CHRONICLE

“Rising LA duo go full throttle” -MTV HIVE

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