Upstream: Hinds approach garage rock without a filter

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HINDS
HINDS are a surf-garage four-piece based in Madrid, Spain (Courtesy of the band)

Upstream is a new monthly series where The Current's digital producer Leah Garaas interviews and explores up-and-coming acts to fine-tune your music discovery radar.

"We're only planning to stop if we see a haunted corn maze or haunted hay rides hehe," write Hinds in an email to me, as we arrange an interview time. They're on California's 101 driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles for a gig at the Echoplex — not its sister room, the Echo, similar to First Avenue's 7th St. Entry — the big room, capacity: 700. Just four months prior, the Madrid-based quartet played one of Glastonbury's main stages, the first Spanish band to realize such a dream.

With only a few demos and The Very Best of Hinds So Far 10" to their name, how can Hinds already be selling out sizable venues and playing jumbo festival stages?

It's a combination of a few key traits: carefree attitudes, spontaneity, sincerity and an inexperienced approach to songwriting.

When Hinds first introduced themselves to the Internet a year and a half ago, they were a duo and went by the name Deers. Longtime friends Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote released a two-track demo via Bandcamp featuring the catchy-as-hell, bass-leaning "Bamboo," and the time signature-switching, classic "ooh-ooh" sing-along, "Trippy Gum."

In the "official and unique video" for "Bamboo," Carlotta and Ana match their sound with lo-fi footage. It's hardly esoteric: They strut the streets of Madrid with a 40-ounce and cigarettes in hand, give each other piggyback rides, bounce around a makeshift studio and ride free-handed on mopeds. By the end of the video, you recognize the Manifest Destiny of Hinds.

The band began 2014 with another two-track release ("Castigadas en el Granero" b/w "Between Cans"), this time backed by Ade Martin on bass and Amber Grimbergen on drums. Between recording and releasing a split 7" with "their secret lovers" the Parrots, Deers were forced to change their name to Hinds (the term for female deers) when a phonetically similar band based in Canada endangered the band with legal action (never mind the Internet).

All under the age of 25, Hinds don't have a significant amount of songwriting experience under their belts. Amber, native of the Netherlands, is the only seasoned musician in the band, having drummed for nine years. Ade was gifted a bass by Carlotta and Ana, enticing her to join the band. Hinds use their lack of proper music training to their advantage. "I think being the musicians that we are — young musicians — the writing is way different," explains Ana. "Our motto is 'Our shit, our rules.'"

And it's working for them. In their YouTube video "Hinds | a summer with us ☀," Amber forgets her drumsticks for their fourth-ever gig in London, where record label reps were scouting the band. At their fifth gig in Berlin, Ade tries to plug in her bass to a guitar amp, laughs it off and says, "God, I'm such a loser." At one point, the Parrots' Alex de Lucas demonstrates to Ana how to ask sound engineers for more reverb at live gigs. Later, the Vaccines' Arni Arnesson teaches Carlotta a chord from Thee Headcoatees' "Davey Crocket," which — despite never hearing of the song before the day it was recorded — has become Hinds' crowd-pleasing set closer.

Hinds' approach to songwriting, performing and being a band is fresh and in earnest. They dance on stage because to them, it's a party. They have an unfiltered voice across all social media platforms. They sing in English because the bands they listen to sing in English.

In spring 2015, Hinds were asked to play Burgerama, a two-day music festival in Southern California. Among the artists on the lineup: the Black Lips, Hinds' idols (after the Strokes). Hosted by Burger Records — the driving force behind one-of-a-kind releases, including Hinds' cover of "Davey Crockett" — Burgerama featured other artists Hinds adore: Shannon and the Clams and Thee Oh Sees. Not only did they revisit those bands' back catalogs, but also every single act on the 66-band lineup. "It was all ages, and we think that's really important and cool," maintains Ana. In Madrid there aren't any (legit) all-ages venues, making it difficult for kids in the music scene to see live music safely.

Hinds' sound and personality fit right in at the sun-soaked two-day festival of under-the-radar, current rock acts. At the same time, if they were around during Medway's heyday, they would indeed be filed next to Thee Headcoatees and Billy Childish. Somewhere at the headwaters of punk, Hinds melt the waves of surf-rock with modern-day garage.

After nearly a year on the shelf, Hinds' ripe debut full-length will finally see the light of day on Jan. 8, 2016, via Mom + Pop Records (also home to Burgerama alumni FIDLAR). Though some songs were written as long as a year and a half ago, the 12-track Leave Me Alone features all new recordings of previously released tracks (excluding the scuzzy, sure-fire hit "Bamboo"), making it a cohesive-sounding record while still retaining the brazen quality of the original takes. Viva Hinds.


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