When I saw this picture…
…and read the band’s name, Dios (Malos), I was definitely intrigued. I just knew there was no way this investigation wouldn’t pay off. Turns out they’ve been around for a few years. Originally called Dios, they changed their name after a threatened lawsuit from the, ahem.. great… Ronnie James (coming clean, at one time I did have a Dio concert t-shirt!). Since then it looks like they’ve changed their name again, and are now known as We Are Dios. It also appears that they have an upcoming album under this name, which can be sampled on their myspace page. But with their stated disdain for the ‘business’ it looks like they are currently without a label, so who knows when it will be released.
Their bio indicates a definite punk-rock aesthetic. From LA’s South Bay area they cite Black Flag and the Minutemen as influences. But musically, they are more in line with a different band from their hometown of Hawthorn, the Beach Boys. And more specifically the studio experimentation of Pet Sounds. They write catchy, clean pop songs which then become the basis for exploration. Impressively though, they don’t lose sight of the main piece while exploring, which means you find yourself happily lost in these tangents, not bewildered about what just happened. So if you like your beach pop with a detour, these guys may be for you.
Live tracks, like those from their sessions for Daytrotter, are understandably more direct. My favorite from this sampling is Some Alcohol, but DJEddieO might prefer the cover of Paul McCartney’s Let Me Roll It (link to the original).
If you like Dios (Malos), but want a little more straightforward SoCal beach punk, try The Underground Railroad to Candyland. Dios guitarist, singer, and primary songwriter Joel Morales is also in this band, but seems to be mostly in a supporting role. The standout song for me is Livin’ In A Straw, whose video captures their vibe pretty well.
Finally, sticking on the SoCal coast, Japanese Motors probably have the best chance of being found on a radio sometime soon, if not already. There’s no doubt where their roots are either, Single Fins and Safety Pins could be the beach-going punk’s answer to Roadrunner. Throw in a Strokes and Lou Reed/Velvet Underground reference and you get an idea of where they stand. Perfect summer soundtrack… I don’t care if it is autumn in New England.