Greer McGettrick pours my coffee some mornings at my neighborhood café-slash-video store, and she knows just how I like it (a 20-ouncer with steamed nonfat — don’t judge). She’s also been waking me up with her tunes, thanks to the Mallard cassette I’ve had on a pretty regular rotation for my daily AM nudge. By stroke of luck, she knows how I like that, too.
The Mallard — of which said barista is the principle songwriter and engineer for, as well as guitarist and vocalist — is raw, loud, and raucous, with the vocals so overdriven at times that it makes McGettrick sound like an insectoid creature straight out of a Japanese monster flick complete with a killer surfy, garage rock soundtrack.
While this multi-talented, monster movie, coffee slinging, rad chick has performed and recorded all of The Mallard’s songs thus far, she has assembled a live band — two musicians named Dylan — to bring the sound home.
I was able to catch their set, along with Woollen Kits from Australia (another band to check out — a very early Flying Nun sound), when they opened for Blasted Canyons at the Knockout last month. Drummer Dylan Tidyman-Jones pounds the skins while standing, offering background vocals along with a tribal, DMT-soaked vibe. Dylan Edrich coolly and statuesquely plays guitar and bass, while McGettrick shreds and snarls like she’ll bite your head off if you fuck with her. Luckily, she’s incredibly nice and probably won’t.
I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the brand spanking new Yes on Blood, The Mallard’s first proper full-length release, out now on Castle Face Records, and it delivers the same gritty and ear-splitting sound as the cassette and live set, while some tracks could ft right in on The Breeders’ Title TK. It’s too easy to write this band off as simply garage when it is so much more than that.
You can get your own copy of Yes on Blood at The Mallard’s record release party at Dreamers and Make Believers tonight (9pm, $3). Also playing is Asabov Sobelo, the solo project of Ryan Sambol from Austin’s Strange Boys.
Until then, read this interview with McGettrick and listen to a track from Yes on Blood:
TBB: How did The Mallard form?
Greer McGettrick: I moved to San Francisco from Fresno about 3 years ago and started writing songs. The band had a few early incarnations resulting in a solo act. Then, about a year ago, Tidyman-Jones moved from Fresno and I asked him to play drums for The Mallard. He’s an incredible guitar player, but hadn’t really played drums, so I thought it would give our sound something different. I met Edrich at a crazy party in Fairfax about eight months ago, she’d just moved here from Brooklyn.
TBB: What is your songwriting process?
GM: I don’t have a concrete process when it comes to song-writing. Songs come from just playing around from a riff, or sometimes I start with drums and then vamp it until it takes a form I’m happy with.
TBB: What inspires your music?
GM: I’d say other musicians inspire me the most. Going to see a band I like a lot live really motivates me to write songs. As far as cities that I’ve lived in, San Francisco has the most ambitious and friendly scene. It’s a privilege to live here and it’s a shame when people take it for granted.
TBB: What was it like making Yes on Blood?
GM:I recorded the album in September of 2011. I bought a 16 track 1/2″ reel to reel and borrowed some mics from a friend and then locked myself in my practice space until it was done. It took about a month to record, mostly because I could only record three days a week in half day sessions, which drove me crazy three weeks in.
TBB: How did you get hooked up with Castle Face, and what was it like working with those guys?
GM: John Dwyer and I met when I moved out of my place on 17th Street and he moved in. We talked about music and he gave me his singles LP and I gave him my cassette tape and he said he really liked it. He came to a show and asked us to record a full-length. He’s been incredibly kind and it’s also been great working with Matt Jones and Brian Lee Hughes. They work really fast. It’s intense and has motivated us to take everything more seriously
TBB: Tell me about your “band crush” on Blasted Canyons.
GM: Ha ha, I had said that when we played with them at the Knockout a few weeks ago. I feel like they’re a super group, they’re all awesomely talented musicians and write some fucking bad-ass, sick pop songs. Who doesn’t have a bit of a crush on Blasted Canyons?
TBB: What are your future plans for The Mallard as a band?
GM: It’s my goal to do two 7-inches and another full length this year. There, I said it. Now I have to do it. We’re going to SXSW in a few weeks, doing a little Northwest tour in May and then we’ll hit the road hard in the summer. We’ll see where that leaves us in the fall.