With visions of Mickey Mouse wearing a flannel shirt while riding on the back of a turtle, I know I haven’t taken any psychedelic drugs since my college days. However, after hearing about Charleston band Heyrocco, I may be having flashbacks. Their name was inspired by bassist Christopher Cool’s turtle, Rocco, and Heyrocco’s influences include The Cure, Radiohead and The Strokes, though they also lean toward Pavement and Dinosaur, Jr.
Heyrocco’s sound has been described as Disney Grunge, even though the three bandmates met in Jazz Band in high school. Back in 2009, guitarist/vocalist Nathan Merli, drummer Tanner Cooper and Christopher Cool started playing in Cool’s garage where they fine-tuned their playing and writing. The band released Comfort, a collection of demos in 2012, the Mom Jeans EP in 2014, 2015’s Teenage Movie Soundtrack and their latest release is Waiting On Cool.
In 2014, Heyrocco played their first show in England and have since played in Germany and the Netherlands. Heyrocco sold out a show in London at KOKO in 2015, where they headlined. They also toured Europe again last year supporting Grouplove, and returned to the US to tour with So Pitted and The Garden. And now they’re playing in Myrtle Beach on Friday, March 31st at Bourbon Street.
I don’t know about this whole “Disney Grunge” thing, but it is the last term I would use to describe Heyrocco’s music. They know how to put together some damn good pop songs. I guess you could say that “Virgin” could be considered Heyrocco’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” “Mom Jeans” is one of those great songs which is as complex as it is simple, with a nice groove from Cooper and Cool. It’s definitely a wistful, warming song with lyrics like “I kind of like the old you, better than the new you.” “Elsewhere” is also on 2015’s Teenage Movie Soundtrack with a video that has cats in the background and a great mix of bass, guitar and drums with a rhythm similar to early New Order and definitely The Strokes. “It’s Always Something New” is on Waiting on Cool, where they rhyme “doofus” with “what the truth is” quite brilliantly. Nathan Merli’s vocals are both sweet and cynical. The band also can play sweetly and rock the heck out, which is something I admire.
Heyrocco is definitely a band that deserves all of the positive attention they’re getting, and if they keep up the awesomeness, I’m sure they will be bigger than the bands they’ve been opening for. You can find their music in fine local record stores, or on their website www.heyrocco.com, and follow them on twitter @heyroccoarmy, on Instagram @__heyrocco__ and on Facebook and bandcamp. But I would strongly recommend seeing them on Friday, March 31st at Bourbon Street, 5307 N. Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, while you can still see them in a small club. If you’re closer to Charleston, you’ll want to catch Heyrocco with Dumbest Kids In School, Ivadell and Them Oh’s at Stonerfest I at the Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive on, you guessed it, 4/20.