Atta Boy

Resurfacing like cicadas, L.A.-born Atta Boy has never been in a hurry. Instead, responding to some strange seasonal instinct when it comes to recording, their unique, beguiling, comforting, and yet aching blend of pop-Americana seems to arrive in waves, well-formed, fully-gestated, yet hungry and soul-searching. Mixing indie influences with coffee-shop confessionalism, the quartet first found eachother in the hazy days of high school. Navigating the high-strung emotional peaks and valleys of American adolescence, this close-knit crew shaped those experiences into a considerably mature debut, 2012's Out of Sorts, to be released before they were old enough to order a drink. And then they disappeared.

The lifelong friends recorded a steller introduction, then, like dandelion tendrils tossed to the wind, dispersed to discover themselves. "I didn't think of myself as in a band," recalls lead singer Eden Brolin, "we'd recorded a record." But the four kept in touch, and the record began to make the rounds like a lazy '78 discovered in a dusty basement, evoking a warm nostalgia that would come to mark the band's particular style. In time, word-of-mouth would carry their debut like a rumor. Evolving from a whisper in first period to an anthem by last-bell, and the fans sprouted-up like wildflowers.

"It was almost like we were some urban legend," muses keyboardist Dashel Thompson, “the album existed, and we existed, but Atta Boy was hibernating." While the group was collecting themselves, they remained in close contact, and eight years later, drummer Lewis Pullman sought to recapture that first spark like a lightning bug in a mason jar with a rousing group text reading: "Alright gang… we've got money in the bank, we've got songs unsung, strings to strum, and a summer that's begging and pleading for us to make something of it."

"We should make a record. Easy peasy lemon motherfuckin' squeezy." And it was settled.

Returning in 2020 with their follow up, Big Heart Manners, Atta Boy skirted the sophomore slump by delivering yet another wise-beyond-their-years collection of warm, inviting, and at-times even raucous tunes that built up from breezy pianos and shuffling riffs into explosively evocative crescendos- capped by Brolin's sweet, sentimental, and slightly strange lyrical stylings.

"Given everything going on, the moment, with so much sadness, we felt weird releasing new music, but we didn't want to wait around for a perfect time that would never come," guitarist Freddy Reish relays. "Fans were reaching out, they had been reaching out, and it's so amazing — if our music could help even a little bit, we wanted to share."

And the fans responded in turn. Without even a single tour, Atta Boy's fan-base had swelled and the demand was palpable like summer heat radiating off warm asphalt. Compared to their first hiatus, their third record has mercifully followed so much faster.

Glowing with the (nearly) all-analog production tone that has become Atta Boy's signature calling card, 2022's Crab Park inhabits an even deeper spiritual groove — that embodies the honesty, openness, and accepted vulnerability you can only find among a group of real, old friends who managed to find some weird way to actually go home again.

"Home… domesticity… it's there in the record… but I think it's more about the idea of elemental particles breaking down and reforming." Ponders Brolin. "I think we were responding to the idea of milestones, the past and the present, how far we've come. How much has changed, and how much hasn't," agrees Thompson.

Lyrically, title track CRAB PARK, speaks to the somehow shocking comfort found in a mutual communion between lovers, not only with each other, but with a place, and more than a place, but a place and an idea. "And I never ever thought it would be me and you at Crab Park/ With the bittersweet and final spark of Firework Friday/ Can't explain it if I wanted to… " Brolin coos as she explores the intimacy of a delightfully discovered, unexpectedly perfectly-imperfect reality.

Yet here they all are again, the old friends with new stories to share. Back-end barn-burner, BOYS, also captures this catch-me-up energy. Holding court ahead of the record, Brolin brought out a notebook and asked each bandmate for five things that make them happy. "I wanted to check-in with the boys, and bring their experiences together into the album," she explains. Still, even this happy homecoming is tinged by the bittersweet; lyrically leading to questions like, "What's home when home's where everyone's gone/ and a bed is made in every town?"

Finding themselves between the nostalgic interplay of roadhouse piano and barroom balladeering, Atta Boy still comes off mostly upbeat and endearing. Their inventive song structures and swelling melodies reveal a bolstered confidence that, coupled with toe-tapping tempos, charmingly carry listeners through thoughtful meditations that just can't help but reveal a hallowed hollow for that which is lost, and that which is yet to be found.

In their most contemplative moments they aren't afraid of wandering the halls of memory. Single DEEP SEA LADDER puts this knowing form of nostalgia on full display as Brolin belts: "I know this house is sinking, every shingle out of line/ But this house is mine." It's a neat trick she somehow pulls off over and over, both owning the moment and admitting to only a transient and groping apprehension of the tiny gestures that make up a whole, beautiful life.

All that to say, this band of old-neighborhood besties aren't at all naive about the pitfalls of the past. Atta Boy willingly acknowledge the honeytrap of the good-old-days and evoke a wisened awareness of their still rising trajectory. As seen on the mean memory-trip that is SPRING SEVENTEEN, a touching little ditty wholly embracing the saccharine reality inherent in wonton reminiscing, Brolin soulfully sings, "Lost in a brief memory/ like a song you get used to/ loosen the grip of reverie… I don't know you like I used to."

It's in this spirit of entropy and negentropy that Atta Boy have once again found themselves coalescing around a shared, collective pang that drives their collaboration and their joyful celebration of all things living, dying, dissolving, and reforming — like a perennial posy pushing through the underbrush to bloom under the first shouts of springtime sunshine, beautiful and golden. Again. And again.

Upcoming Shows


Nov
6
th
7th St Entry
Nov
6
th
7th St Entry

More Shows

Aug
30
th
Schell’s Stage at Schilling Amphitheater

First Avenue Goes to the Fair

with Al Church and The Congregation
Aug
31
st
Schell’s Stage at Schilling Amphitheater

First Avenue Goes to the Fair

with Al Church and The Congregation
Aug
15
th
Turf Club

RVSHVD

Nov
2
nd
7th St Entry

Zero 9:36