The term “garage rock” has become so ubiquitous in recent years that it’s easy to overlook the bands that honed their craft rocking in actual garages. One such band is LA’s Blacktop Queen, a trio of friends who spent countless hours of their youth pretending that their parents’ garages were sweaty rock clubs. “When you are 15 years old in a garage with your friends,” explains vocalist/guitarist Evan Ambrose, “there’s no thought to pleasing, no thought to fear of approval, just the unadulterated desire to play your ass off.”
Ambrose and his bandmates, drummer Nate Lotz and bassist Omar Ahmed, founded Blacktop Queen as a way to recapture that same desire as working musicians. The early returns are promising, to say the least; the Echo Park-based trio has already drawn comparisons to Cage the Elephant and local alt-rock legends Weezer.
Listen to the band’s debut single, “Spiderbite”, and those comparisons will start to make a lot of sense. Blacktop Queen’s garage rock roots are evident in the distinctly live sound of the recording, but it would be hard to find a stadium — much less a garage — big enough to hold this song’s punchy, anthemic chorus. If all that bigness doesn’t impress you enough on its own, maybe this will: The track was self-produced and recorded in a single take.
“We don’t want perfection in the recording process,” explains Ambrose. “We actually love and invite human error and spontaneity when we play. It evokes emotion when things mold and change in the tracking room.” There’s plenty of emotion to go around in “Spiderbite”, a song whose theme revolves around “those poisonous relationships that keep killing you but you just can’t keep away.”
This single probably won’t kill you, but we’re not making any promises. Listen in below.
“Spiderbite” single artwork: