Name a band whose name riffs on an NPR host. Here, let us help you: Cherry Glazerr.
The California DIY power pop band loves garage rock and In-N-Out as much as it loves cracking witty jokes. When the group dropped its first release in 2013, it needed a moniker, so it riffed on the name of KCRW host Chery Glaser, the Morning Edition host for Southern California listeners. Some months later, she found out, and the band came on the show for a lengthy, buoyant interview—how could they not?
The four piece—singer-guitarist Clementine Creevy, bassist Sean Redman, guitarist Sasami Ashworth, and drummer Tabor Allen—are just as silly when we speak over the phone as they were three years ago. Maybe it’s the natural result of being confined to a tour van. Maybe it’s their peak sugar-rush hour. Maybe they’re naturally that fun. I vote for the latter, but then again, I’m biased. Less than 20 seconds after answering my call, Creevy begins singing a playschool rhyme modifying my name (“Nina! Nina, Nina, bo-bina, bonanna fanna fo Fina…”) and addresses the “irony” of the call given her recent contribution to Seth Bogart’s new song, “Nina Hagen-Daaz” (“I sing, ‘Oh Nina, where are you? Where have you goooone?’ and I thought of that when we thought you dropped out.”). During the whole minute-long, jumbled rant, her voice never drops below a chipper high note. Yeah, they’re definitely this fun around the clock.
Musically, Cherry Glazerr’s music runs the gamut. Lyrics dance with the melody on softer cuts like “Teenage Girl” and spike toward a drugged-out punk anthem on “White’s Not My Color This Evening”. No matter what, there’s jagged guitar at its heart. It all comes back to Creevy’s guitar playing. Her board is lined with pedals, pairing distortion pedals with delays, carefully building up a sound that’s distinctly hers. Mellow bar-chord verses roll through three-chord progressions, usually employing pentatonic scales. “People focus on my singing, my songwriting, my haircut, but they rarely focus on what guitars I’m using or the pedals I’m using and what chords are on one song,” she says. “That’s stuff I want to talk about more but people rarely ask about. At the same time, you’re supposed to keep it secret so no one robs your style.”
Last summer, Adult Swim Singles released the group’s new single, “Sip ‘O Poison”, for free. It’s a total shift into high gear with spastic drums, thunderous bass, and vocals on the brink of a mental breakdown. Put simply, it’s hardcore punk à la Kathleen Hanna. Turns out their upcoming album may be more in line with that style than their older material.
“It’s a hard-hitting rock record,” says Ashworth, “and it really makes the kids, uh—”
“Boogie!” Creevy interrupts. “It’s gonna make ‘em boogie.”
“It’s less lo-fi jangle pop and more of a hard-driving rock record,” she continues. “We actually re-recorded ‘Sip ‘O Poison’ to be on the album… with a guitar solo!” They go back and forth about the progress of the yet-untitled record—it’s 60% done, and if all goes according to plan, it may come out this fall—with a slight bit of nervousness. All that’s left is overdubbing, mixing, mastering, and organizing the artwork.
“Last record was a bunch of demos that I strung together as a 14-year-old girl who didn’t know they were going to get popular,” says Creevy, who is now 18 years old, whereas the rest of the band members are in their mid-20s. “So I had no goals then, no ideas, only hopes and dreams. These days, we definitely have an idea set in place of what we want to do. Essentially, I want this next record to look like the full album experience with a cohesive message. What that message is depends on the listener. I think it will be interpreted differently to each listener, though it’s definitely harder and rougher than before, partly because we recorded it over five days. It’s a lot of rawness mixed with stamina.”
A huge part of the new sound comes from the departure of drummer Hannah Uribe this past fall. “I guess I’ve been preparing for this question for months now,” Creevy laughs, a bit nervous to answer. “I love her; I always will. I fully support her with her future music-making, and I’m sure that’s vice versa, but people grow and evolve and change. Even though it’s jarring at first for an outsider to take in this change, it felt naturally internally. It felt like this had been harder work for me. Now I’m not carrying a weight anymore. Every member of the band carries their own weight and then some. It’s different and more collaborative now. Sasami and Tabor are professionals,” she says, pausing, and then letting out a giggle. “Sean is cool, too.”
After discussing favorite restaurants and ideal “final meals” should they end up on death row—for the record, they all had excellent choices: a slice of New York cheese pizza with garlic powder for Ashworth, four carne tacos with extra cheese and avocado hot sauce for Redman, tofu and vegetable stir-fry with black beans for Allen, and chicken parm for Creevy—it’s clear they’re dreaming of lavish foods the way all bands on tour do. After all, they’re still a small band, even if they’re opening for beloved acts like Best Coast and Wavves. Their last stint in Boston drew a poor crowd. “It’s crazy because Boston is known for that gnarly noise scene, but people seemed bored at our show,” says Creevy. “Maybe it was us. Also, it was a Monday and we played at like 8 PM. And it was 21+. I guess that makes sense.” Thankfully, their upcoming shows are almost entirely sold out. This time, Boston won’t settle for anything less than a rowdy night of energy that won’t let up.