- Bryon Harris
Young Beard - 'The Big September'
Young Beard is a rock band with a hint of psychedelic grunge and a whole lot more. Based out of Vacaville, California this father/son band is impressive. Young Beard was formed when guitarist Frank Garay III (Papa Frank) called his son, bassist/singer Frank Garay IV (Little Frank), and asked him to form a band. Soon after, childhood friend and previous band mate Kevin Escalante was recruited to play drums and the rest is history. Young Beard recorded with engineer and producer Robbie Gardunio releasing the EP, 'The Big September,' in August of 2016. The EP is not cookie-cutter. In fact, it is bands like Young Beard that put the “indie” back into Indie-rock because their sound is truly independent of anything else you’ve heard before.
The first track on their EP is the title track, “The Big September.” The song begins with a mellow guitar and Little Frank’s robust vocals. With the sparse entrance of just guitar and vocals during the first verse, “The Big September” starts the album in a subdued mood. Soon, drums lead us into the chorus and we are introduced to an electric guitar mimicking the acoustic while Frank chants “I’m so tired, I’m so weak, my eyes grow heavy and this life will take me to my knees.” After the chorus, the band breaks into a full out jam that’s sure to get you head-banging to a stellar performance by exceptional musicians. For the second chorus, Young Beard boosts it up a notch by layering the vocals. As we reach the climax of the song, the band breaks it down for us again and this time with a killer drum performance by Kevin leading into one final chorus; full of energy, drive and intention, “The Big September” is a great introduction to an EP that is full of surprises that you will love.
Next up is “Milk On the Counter,” showing off more of Young Beard’s unique psychedelic-rock side. Beginning with a groovy guitar line and entrancing vocals, this song definitely creates a mood and builds upon it. Although it starts off mellow, it isn’t long before Young Beard reminds us how much they can rock it out as they bring us full force into the chorus with heavy guitar and hard-hitting drums. Two songs into the EP and something is very clear- Young Beard's compositions are tight, but the band can also jam; the lyrics are compelling; the lead guitar can go from a smooth cry to swift riffs; the drums and bass are driving and crisp, and the vocals capture with amazing dynamic range.
Moving on to my favorite track, “Home Safely.” This is the first song on the EP that actually starts with a steady drum beat pulling us in. As the rest of the band joins, you are captivated before the first word is even sung. The sound created by Young Beard is mesmerizing. Once Little Frank comes in with “As the rain drums on the ground, we walk quietly” the song comes together perfectly. With a catchy chorus and great delivery from the band, “Home Safely” is a hit and sure to be a track you will remember.
“JG” is the next track on the album starts off with high energy, slamming drums, and distorted guitar. “JG” has a verse featuring just drums and vocals pulling off a unique touch before leading into the chorus where the band comes together in an all-out rocking frenzy as Little Frank starts screaming “J! G!.” About two minutes into the song the band transitions into a mellower section shifting the mood of the song before shifting back into the chorus. If this stunning transition wasn’t enough of a testimony to Young Beard’s skill as musicians then their final song on the EP “Black Mold” surely is. “Black Mold” is an instrumental track that shows off the chops of all members of the band, featuring shredding solos from Papa Frank, and even a bass solo at the end of the song to pay homage to Little Franks bass playing. This up tempo track will get you up and moving, or bouncing in your seat (if you can’t get up); it is exhilarating, a great way to end the EP.
Young Beard is currently out promoting the EP around Northern California and next Spring they plan on going back out to LA to finish their next EP with their producer Robbie Gardunio. Young Beard is currently running a special where if you sign up for their mailing list at http://YoungBeard.net, you get the entire EP free!