Venturing frequently from their home bases of Santa Barbara and Bakersfield, alt-rock trio Arlington understands the power (and sacrifice) of commuting. Formed out of the ashes of their former outfits — False Puppet and Hello Friday — members Tyler Benko (lead vocals, guitar), Channing Peake (bass) and Grant Whitson (drums) deliver a buzzworthy sound and style that's a culmination of their collective DIY pasts honed by a serious attention to detail.
Anticipation runs high among the trio as they eagerly awaiting the release of their full-length debut, “A Walk Through Jackson County,” out Oct. 26 on the Rise Records imprint, which is also home to acts At the Drive In, Tiger Army, Les Butcherettes and Dance Gavin Dance. Can you blame them?
“After we formed in 2016, we had only played a few small shows at bars and parties when our (then future) manager Kristen Taylor contacted us on Facebook because she was looking for an up-and-coming band to get involved with,” recalled Benko of the band’s start. Whitson, who had been a close associate of Benko and Peake during their False Puppet years and who had also acting as the band’s tour manager during the Warped Tour, eventually found his way behind the drums.
“Our first show ever was in the middle of nowhere in the desert on a piece of wood at a really shoddy festival and for some reason there was a group of fire dancers while we played,” recalled Whitson, who still resides in Bakersfield. “That was an odd one.”
A year may seem like a short time to get signed, but between the collective years the trio has spent together, their combined experience made for a perfect collaboration waiting to happen. Add in Taylor’s persistence as a manager to seal the deal and it was off to Seattle for recording.
“We like to call ourselves alternative rock or blues rock,” said Peake. "A lot of blues purists might scoff at that label, but our sound is really influenced by classic blues-style guitar riffs and vocals.”
Sounds like rock 'n' roll to me.
“In a general sense, we all collaborate on the direction of Arlington,” Peake said of their style. “When it comes to the music, Tyler is our songwriter and lyricist. That being said, the three of us balance the songs with our individual influences and tastes. Our opinions mean a lot to the group effort.”
Currently there are three songs available for preview from the new album online: “Don’t Mind,” “Hollow Moon” and “Mud.” Each a strong, confident representation of the group’s new sound. Whitson looks forward to the album’s full reveal later this month.
“My favorite changes every day but I’m really excited for a track called 'Halo' to be released with the album. It’s the ballad of the record. We recorded the instruments in a single take with all of the guitars, amps, drums and microphones in the same room, and then Tyler recorded his vocals after that. We wanted it to sound as if we were playing it in the listener’s room, and the recording technique captured that vibe perfectly.”
At the onset, listeners may catch a sonic glimpse of early Arctic Monkeys, but depending on where your familiarity is with False Puppet, you may hear shades of their False Puppet past threaded in, with Benko’s unique voice a strong point and a big reason you’ll place all three tracks on repeat.
Another reason to be enthusiastic is the band’s video for the song “Hollow Moon” released on YouTube last week. Opening with the band standing outside what looks to be their white tour van awaiting the arrival of a young lady (Iona Catherine Small) who, freshly released from jail, joins the band for a road trip into the desert for some mischief.
“The original girl bailed on us the morning of the shoot, so Miguel Barbosa, the director, called up Iona on a whim and she ended up having the exact look we wanted to begin with, so it worked out,” said Whitson.
Wise choice. It’s Small’s natural playful charm that helps keep the short from being "just another dude adventure." No offense, fellas.
“We shot the initial jail pickup scenes in Los Angeles, and then filmed our drive to Barstow’s Coyote Dry Lake, which is where we dug the giant hole. Miguel’s great at getting performances out of his actors, we never had to do more than two takes for any shot, so the whole process was really smooth.”
You’ll have to check out the video to see what happens next.
While there are no immediate plans for any Bakersfield bookings, the band will be heading out on an upcoming national tour with bands Hands Like Houses, Emarosa and Devour the Day that kicks off on Nov. 10 in San Francisco.
“We’ll have something here after the tour wraps up,” assured Grant.
We’ll hold you to it.
Amanda Miguel and Diego Verdaguer, 8 p.m. Saturday, Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $25-$125 plus service charge. 324-1369.
This best-selling Argentine-Mexican husband-and-wife duo has been making chart-topping hits for more than 30 years, both separately and together. Diva Amanda Miguel burst onto the scene in 1980, and her work since has spanned the spectrum from traditional Mexican music to ranchero music and glossy pop.
Her songs “El Me Mintio” and “Mi Buen Corazon” remain radio staples. Diego Verdaguer, a noted trumpet player and band leader, also has been a familiar face in Latin music for years, with hits like “Corazon de Papel” and “La Ladrona.”
A rare opportunity to catch these global superstars just a few blocks from home.