Low Flying Owls

    So you missed Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on their last San Diego visit. Or you’re not feelin’ the new Spritualized album. What’s a lover of drug-addled rock Œn’ roll to do?

    Appearing seemingly out of nowhere (but actually from Northern California), Low Flying Owls are turning the slowly-moving heads of stoner-rock lovers as they make their way down the West Coast. The band’s sound lends itself to comparison to quite a number of currently hyped bands, but hype is a funny thing. They might “”fly”” under the radar unnoticed, or they might outlast their strung-out counterparts. Only time will tell, but in the meantime, the 21-and-over crowd will have some sweetly stark tunes to accompany their night at the Casbah.

    Formed in 2001, Low Flying Owls has quickly developed a reputation for their darkly atmospheric music. They released the debut Take the Scenic Route in 2001 to some critical attention. The album was nice enough but lacked a fully-formed sound, drawing too much from Radiohead-ish soundscapes and not paying enough attention to the songcraft. Since then, the band has shared the stage with an impressive list of artists such as Clinic and Mike Watt.

    Late last year, the band released its sophomore album Elixir Vitae, a sonically superior album to its predecessor which finds the band (surprise, surprise) taking more of a garage-rock approach. The change suits them, and the band has been successful in marrying its mellower leanings with its desire to rock out. The new album has everything you might look for in a psychedelic rock band ‹ pounding drums, pulsing basslines, snarling vocals, sludgy riffs ‹ plus a more polished form of the ambiance created on their previous album.

    The band also doesn’t skimp on songwriting. Even at their most trance-inducing, the Owls have a knack for sticking surprises into its complex songs. “”Looks of a Killer,”” one of the band’s catchiest and most haunting songs, continues past its expected ending with stopping and restarting drums. “”Strange Connection”” starts off deceptively with glossy acoustic guitars but suddenly develops an offbeat pop hook worthy of an early Pink Floyd tune. It’s that sound of a band constantly thinking and putting the extra effort into its songs that makes people take notice and come back for more.

    Low Flying Owls will play with newly reformed 1990s alt-rocker Urge Overkill at the Casbah on Jan. 15.

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