Night Riots Captures the California Alternative Sound with “Young Lore”

11 Jul

Night Riots is a fun, young alternative rock band with electro-rock tendencies, based in San Luis Obispo. Honing their craft on California’s Central coast for many years as PK and helped by Rolling Stone Magazine’s anointing of them as one of the top unsigned bands in North America, in 2013 the band changed its name to Night Riots and released the Young Lore EP.
While the band is clearly indie in the sense that they’re not with a major label (Young Lore is a self-release, with the help of crowd funding), the band members are hesitant to be grouped with a lot of the sameness of indie music today. In interviews, lead vocalist, Travis Hawley, has stated that the band has punk roots and one can hear some of that punk influence on the six tracks that are included on this EP.
But Night Riots is so much more than just another punk band trying to make it in today’s post-punk world. The band’s songs have phenomenally infectious melodies — intricately arranged and lushly layered — with sprawling synth waves and mesmerizing rhythms created by drums and compelling synth bass lines.
Hawley’s voice on the vocals is exceptional. On several of the songs, he sounds a lot like Brandon Flowers of the Killers. But the songs never feel like covers — these are catchy, original alternative pop-rock tunes that stand on their own.
“Young Lore” is an amazing anthem to the freedom and limitless future of youth. It starts with a few delicately played piano notes, then shifts gears and builds throughout with synth layers, rapid-fire synth bass, tom-toms, and soulful vocals imploring, “Live now while you’re young!”
“Back to your Love” is a smooth and slinky retro 80s tune with mellow, floating synths and a crisp beat. “Spiders” features a syncopated, march-like rhythm, with synthesized strings sounding like they’re being rapidly bowed, and the lead vocals soaring to the highest registers — with rich backing harmonies.
On “Remedy,” a driving, clocklike synth track is the perfect foundation for Hawley’s most Brandon Flowers-like vocals on the EP — accented with sharp guitar attacks and persistently good drumming.
Summer is one of the best times to be on the Central California coast. With endless sunny days and long warm nights, now’s the time to catch this California band as they travel all over the West and bring their great Cali music to a venue near you. And while you await the band, you ought to grab a copy of Young Lore.

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