The Donkeys

The Donkeys

Lens Mozer

Friday, October 26, 2018

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:30 pm

Soda Bar

$15.00 - $18.00

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

The Donkeys
The Donkeys
“...there is no culture in California, only trash.” – Philip K. Dick

In early 2018, California trio the Donkeys, made up of Tim Denardo, Anthony Lukens, and Sam Sprague, found a notebook in an Adventureland trash can at Disneyland. Waterlogged and covered in churro dust, the book turned out to contain whole worlds, flights of teenage science fiction fantasy. Those half-finished wasteland musings inform the Los Angeles/San Diego trio’s fifth album, an apocalyptic surf saga, an endless irradiated summer: Sun Damaged Youth.

Part lost radio transmission, part interplanetary concept album, the record takes its cues from classic FM compilations and surf records, interspersing the Donkey’s signature choogling pop with deejay banter and reverb-drenched instrumentals. Part The Lonely Surfer, part Music from Big Pink, the LP channels the feverish energy of found object outsider art, paying homage to the classic West Coast melodicism of the Beach Boys and the Grateful Dead with the California skate and surf punk of the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Adopting a series of fictional surf band guises – the Coffin Nails, the Savage Detectives, the Divine Invasions – the band plays in the weird space between fact and fiction, conjuring up a series of true stories, some of which might have actually happened, and many which probably didn’t.  It represents a demarcation point for the band, reconciling the grown-ass responsibilities of its members navigating marriage and fatherhood with the sunbaked enthusiasms of young adulthood. “Watching the bills just pile up/Oh man, I think I’ve had enough,” sings Denardo on “We Are All So Young,” balancing sun-shiny pop with the bittersweet recognition that you gotta grow up, like it or not.

Sun Damaged Youth was recorded over the course of a year by Denardo, Lukens, and Sprague with engineer Jason Quever of Papercuts, who produced the band’s 2004 self-titled debut. Following a string of releases on Dead Oceans (Living on the Other Side (2008), Born With Stripes (2011)) and Easy Sound Recording Company (Ride the Black Wave (2014), 2016’s Midnight Palms), it’s the band’s first self-released effort, the inaugural release by the band’s own Flop Records imprint.  Founded in 2003, the Donkeys have spent much of the last decade and a half on the road with bands like the Hold Steady, Magnolia Electric Company, Deerhoof, Cass McCombs and others. In 2009, the band provided the music for Geronimo Jackson, a fictional band featured on the science fiction drama LOST. Since forming, the band has collaborated on stage and in the studio with Hold Steady guitarist Steve Selvidge, Jason Begin of Vytear and Octagrape, and producer Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Fruit Bats, Devendra Banhart).

The first 500 vinyl copies of Sun Damaged Youth come packaged with a recreation of the inspirational found notebook. Like the band’s cross-genre sound – equal parts Paisley Underground psychedelia, rustic folk, and warbled surf – the record blurs the lines between fantasy and fact. In its sun-warped grooves, “Kool Kids” make it in spite of themselves, stoned teenaged “Summer’s Dreams” maturing into something worth holding on to forever. Here come the waves.  
Venue Information:
Soda Bar
3615 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA, 92104