The Mystery Lights
Founded in California and based in Brooklyn, the Mystery Lights play psychedelia-infused garage rock with a deep reverence for the sounds of the '60s but with a dash of contemporary cleverness and plenty of spirit. Full of guitars simmering in fuzz and reverb, vocals that plead or taunt, melodies that are both driving and trippy, and an abundance of lysergic sound effects, the group made their recording debut with 2009's Teenage Catgirls & the Mystery Lightshow, but they reached a larger audience with 2016's The Mystery Lights, an authentic-sounding effort in retro garage-psych. The roots of the Mystery Lights can be traced back to Salinas, California, where guitarists Mike Brandon and Luis "L.A." Solano formed the band while still in high school. Crafting their own distinctive take on a Nuggets-era '60s sound, they played around their home turf for several years, frequently revising their lineup and eventually releasing their debut LP, Teenage Catgirls & the Mystery Lightshow, in 2009. By 2012, Brandon and Solano had each made the leap to New York, settling in Brooklyn and recruiting new members Alex Amini on bass and Nick Pillot on drums. Further honing their mid-'60s Kinks and Easybeats-inspired sound and adding spacy psych elements, they began gigging around the city, recording a handful of EPs and singles before getting picked up by Daptone's rock imprint Wick Records in 2015. Their first release for the label was the 7" single Too Many Girls/Too Tough to Bear, followed in 2016 by a self-titled full-length LP. A second album for Wick, Too Much Tension!, was released in May 2019; by this time, Nick Pillot had left the group and Zach Butler had taken his place on drums. ~ Timothy Monger
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