When listening to a record for the first time, I can usually tell within the first thirty seconds of song one if I’ll want to hear it through, skip to song two (or deeper) in search of the chords and vocals that will connect with me, or stop it and never look back. There are also occasions when song one gets repeat playback because it’s so good. And then the same happens with song two. And song three. Music lovers understand this “Eureka!” moment.
Maybe Someday by Tombstones In Their Eyes was my 2019 “Eureka!” moment.
Comprised of John Treanor (vocals/guitar), Josh Drew (guitar), Mike Mason (bass) and Stephen Striegel (drums), Tombstones In Their Eyes is a band from Los Angeles that appeals to fans of psych, noise, shoegaze, alternative, and even sludgy doom metal. James Cooper, an old school friend of Treanor’s now living in New York, is also considered a member as he helped start the band and works with him on song creation. The band released a number of EPs, including 2017’s Fear which was my first introduction to their signature melodic yet crunchy sound, and 2018’s Nothing Here.
On November 15th, 2019, Somewherecold Records released Maybe Someday, and what could be described as a well-polished, cohesive collection of gritty psych-infused noise rock songs.
There is an immediate feeling of immensity on album opener “Open Skies” and the tangibility of this “bigness” caries throughout the title-track and “I Want You”, amplified by the swirl of guitars and the drone of Treanor’s ethereal vocals. Bass lines and drums are clean and not overstated, effectively complimenting and driving forward the wash of sound enveloping them.
“Down In The Dirt” has a decidedly sludgier feel to it that fans of Philadelphia’s Nothing will appreciate and is a personal favourite, of many favourites, on the album. Coming in at just shy of six minutes, it’s best played loud, with eyes closed and head bopping.
When listening to the “The One”, it’s not at all surprising that Treanor listed Electric Wizard as one of his favourite bands in our 21 Disarming Questions interview. It’s a dark and heavy stoner rock song, yet feels not at all out of place on Maybe Someday. Like “Down In The Dirt”, it pushes the six minute mark, but I’d welcome an extra long extended version of this one. It’s that good.
Another shift in direction happens on “I Believe”, the most upbeat song on the album and closest to a “traditional” alternative/psych song before we slow down and slide back into the fog of “I Can’t Feel It Anymore” and “Up And Down” that fans of The Black Angels will surely enjoy. We leave Maybe Someday with “Dreams”, an aptly-named soundscape of surreal fuzzed-out guitars, vapory vocals and keys.
Tombstones In Their Eyes manages to interlace so many sounds into Maybe Someday without defining the album as any one genre nor lose the mood set out from the album’s opening notes. It’s a perfect balance and pace and warrants repeated play through from start to finish.
Easily one of the best albums released in 2019 was Maybe Someday by Los Angeles psych shoegazers Tombstones In Their Eyes released by Somewhere Cold Records. We’ve been fans of the band since they first caught our attention back in early 2018 with their release of their Nothing Here EP, and the new record delivers more of the noisy droning melodies we loved from the start. Fans of The Black Angels and Nothing will definitely dig this band.
We asked vocalist and guitar player John Treanor our 21 Disarming questions about music, art and life in general. This is what he told us.
DISARM: What are you listening to right now?
John: Soundtrack of our Lives – Broken Imaginary Time
What was the first LP/tape/CD you remember owning?
The Kinks (can’t remember which record, but it was from the mid-60’s with some of the great stuff on it). Bought it at a garage sale and thought I was buying The Beatle’s Magical Mystery Tour because that’s the sleeve the record was in, haha. The 7-year-old me was very confused.
Vinyl or CD/Digital?
The cool answer would be vinyl, but I am on board with digital. I get to play my favorite music from my laptop (or the cloud, really) through a great pair of Sonos speakers via Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, Pandora and my own music collection online. So I sit and listen in the living room all day while I work. And this brings up a point about me as a music listener. I’m really a song person; there were days when I listened to whole albums but mostly I look for the song or songs that really do it for me and then put them in a playlist (remember mix tapes? – god I loved making mix tapes).
Editors: Mix tapes were everything!
What are your favourite bands?
A lot to list. Old Rolling Stones, Spacemen 3, Pussy Galore, Butthole Surfers, The Cramps, Black Flag, GBH, Elton John (early stuff), Aerosmith (same – early), Germs, Devo, Beach Boys, Interpol, Turbonegro, Built to Spill, The Byrds, Ministry, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Rammstein, EyeHateGod, Dandy Warhols, Metallica (early) Songs:Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. “Newer” bands that are faves: Jesus on Heroine, Guitaro, Frankie Teardrop Dead, Power Trip, Electric Wizard, The Black Angels, Magic Shoppe, Film School (only their first ep, though), Rev Rev Rev, Chatham Rise. I could go on and on.
Editors: The latest from Rev Rev Rev is a favourite of 2019 too!
Why do you live where you do?
Good weather, although I complain about the heat sometimes. Friends. Good music scene. Work. Nice little house with a nice wife and 4 dogs/4 cats.
What is your favourite journey?
New York. I go at least once a year by myself to visit my friend James (who founded the band with me) and just soak it in. I get my own place and just dig the city. No plans, no tourist junkets, just whatever I want to do each day. Oh yeah, and comedy shows. New York is great for comedy.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
No work. Time to go down to the basement and try to write a song/riff or two. A nap in the afternoon with the 4 dogs all around me. Hanging out with my wife, Karin, in the evening and watching something good.
What essentials do you take on a plane or tour bus?
Kindle. Music. Toothbrush/toothpaste, haha.
What is your dream vacation if money was no object?
It was Hong Kong, but I don’t know about that now. Maybe Japan.
What do you do with 4 hours to yourself in a new city?
Good coffee. People watch. Read the local papers, if I can understand the language. Walk around and do more people watching. Find an interesting part of town or maybe a museum.
What inspired you to take up music
Music has been critically important to me since I was very young. My father took me to see the Rolling Stones in 1975 when I was 10 and was very into music himself. Punk rock changed my life musically and opened me up to so much new music (not just punk rock, whatever that means now). I had to be around music and started little bands, managed a friends band on some tours and finally got around to learning to write songs of my own. I came into it later because I had some “substance abuse issues” standing in the way, but once I got it together enough to keep a guitar out of the pawnshop I just kept doing bands.
What was your most memorable day job?
Working at my uncle’s auto wrecking yard when I was in my late teens. It was a crazy, lawless scene down by the border of San Diego and Baja Mexico. Full of speed freaks and weirdness. Crazy time.
What advice should you have taken but didn’t?
Tell my mom I wanted guitar lessons instead of piano lessons. I still can’t play guitar worth a shit, but enough to write songs.
What should everyone shut up about?
I’m a live and let live type, just keep it out of my face, haha.
Who’s your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would the menu be?
James Ellroy, steak at the Pacific Dining Car in downtown Los Angeles.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
I like spies, but not the James Bond type, so I’ll say George Smiley from the LeCarre novels.
What was the best live gig or music festival you attended (as a fan or artist)?
Rolling Stones 1975, Capitol Centre, Maryland – changed my life. Last year, Power Trip at the Regent in downtown LA. Those guys are on fire.
What are your “must” read magazines, news, websites, blogs?
I read the NY Post and Daily News every day, haha, for my taste of NY city life, and the NY Times, LA Times, Guardian. Dangerousminds.net, Please Kill Me Online. Brooklyn Vegan. Slate, especially Dear Prudence. A little Daily Beast and Buzzfeed. Digg is a good source of some excellent reads from around the web. And one of my most relaxing reads is Ask A Manager (askamanager.org) – I can’t explain that one.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art.
For me it’s all the music I listed earlier and the shows I saw as a kid. Going to see the Cramps in a small hall in San Diego when I was 16, The Gun Club, Stranglers, Christian Death, Black Flag and many more shows that I can’t remember now. That stuff literally altered my mind. And the most mind blowing day of all was when I went down to Licorice Pizza in Pacific Beach (San Diego) and picked out two records based on their covers – The Germs (GI) and Devo’s Duty Now For The Future. My mind was blown when I played those records at home in my bedroom. The Germs were so dark and harsh and Devo just did what they do and it really opened me up to a whole new world.
What does the next 6 months look like for you?
We are currently rehearsing for our first show in a while – a vinyl release show. The vinyl is coming in soon and it looks fantastic. Then, once we’re up to speed and I know the songs, haha, probably some more shows. And at the same time, we want to record 4 more songs to put on Side 4 of our planned vinyl compilation – we’re going to take all the earlier EP’s and singles and put them together on a double record set. Those songs deserve vinyl. Then there is a possible rumor of a European tour but that’s more than 6 months away.
Which musician rule do you agree with? Always meet your heroes or never meet your heroes?
I would say always meet your heroes. It’s okay if they’re dicks sometimes.
Thanks John! Go get Maybe Someday on CD or digital download from Bandcamp today, and coming soon to vinyl.