A Coo Coo Bird, as defined by specialists of the species, is a type of rock n’ roll animal, “characterized by savage and loud behaviors known to incite frenzy in neighboring populations,” and is also known to be a feared enemy to human mothers and boyfriends. It’s no surprise, then, that San Francisco’s emerging rock getup, Coo Coo Birds, entitled their debut album Don’t Bring Your Boyfriends. Released on July 25th, the record is a party banger from the start, signaled by multi-instrumentalist Jonny Cat’s belting “Sake!”, until the last track, “Gato Malo”.
The Coo Coo Birds’ are comprised of three members, all of whom sing and play multiple instruments in the band. Ryan Zweng’s lyrics, heard somewhere on nearly every song but most noteworthy on “Rock n’ Roll Animal”, are characterized by his confident, high-pitched and breathy croon that carries an unmistakable air of new San Francisco style garage rock. The song is a carefully put-together mix of garage rock, catchy pop-like hooks and old-school psychedelic reminiscent of 60‘s and 70‘s rock bands like Jimi Hendrix or Iggy & The Stooges. The product is a track that would set the mood for a shindig populated by a crowd tired of electronic music and worn-out top 40’s hits that can be heard at most parties.
Charles Gonzalez, who can be heard singing on the tracks with Spanish vocals (“Mariposa Venenosa”, “Muchachita”, and “Gato Malo”) as well as carrying a low and steady garage rock bass line throughout the album, was also the lead producer of Don’t Bring Your Boyfriends album at his local recording studio, Radical Sound. The band chose to record the album all on analog 2-inch tape, a production choice that’s quickly becoming a trend among local bands of similar genre. Gonzalez has recorded an abundance of local Bay Area bands, including Oakland’s Rogue Wave, Sonny & The Sunsets, Blank Tapes, and The Jugtown Pirates, the band in which Jonny Cat formerly played. Zweng and “Cat” had played a few gigs together as a duo known as Coo Coo Birds, then Gonzalez stepped into the mix at one of their shows at The Condor Night Club in North Beach last December, and the Coo Coo Birds became official.
The group now resides in an historic, renovated convent house in Hayes Valley, where the inspiration for the cheeky song “Convent Girl” came from. It’s no secret that many bands and artists play music that mirrors their own lifestyles in sound and lyrics; on Don’t Bring Your Boyfriends, Coo Coo Birds invite listeners into their own kind of modern San Francisco rock n’ roll lifestyle. An earful of their world can be heard in the energy running throughout the album, the upbeat and authentically rock n’ roll vibes that conjure images of fast, spontaneous lives measured in bursts of creativity and good old fashioned SF-style community and love.
Coo Coo Birds aren’t afraid of putting a new spin on the roots of their sound, and invited Steve Mackay, the saxophone player known for playing on Iggy & The Stooges’ album Fun House, to join in on “I Got A Feeling”. Mackay plays a radical sax from the crescendo of the track throughout the slow beat ending. Macay’s cameo gives “I Got A Feeling” something that many psychedelic garage rock songs are missing – soul.
With such a comprehensive debut, and frequent shows around the city like a residency at Amnesia and performances at Cafe du Nord, Milk Bar, and so on, the Coo Coo Birds are already on the rise in the San Francisco music scene. Don’t Bring Your Boyfriends is available for download at a flexible cost allowing listeners to name their own price on the Coo Coo Bird’s bandcamp site.
Don’t Bring Your Boyfriends, Coo Coo Birds’ debut album, was released on July 25th, 2012. You can name your own price and download it here: http://coocoobirds.bandcamp.com/