French connection

Certain elements of garage punks Crooked Bangs might not be the ones you’d normally expect.

The trio has its roots down in the Live Music Capital of the World in Austin, Tex., but there’s a certain je ne sais quoi to what they do.

“People are like, ‘You aren’t singing in English, are you?’” guitarist Samantha Wendel said of the reaction to singer Leda Ginestra, who sings half of Crooked Bangs’ songs in French. “It’s really just a part of the sound and a part of the style of music, and people really seem to understand and enjoy that.”

The choice was one made in the earliest conversations about what the band would be, and it has become something of a signature edge in the ocean of garage acts out there fighting for their place.

“[Ginestra] had been to Paris and studied French in school,” Wendel said. “We just flirted around with that idea about what language the songs would be sung in, and I had always been a big fan of classic ’60s French pop, and it worked out really well. We’ve just run with it.”

Those songs made their way onto the group’s self-titled debut, released in the summer of 2012, with a new batch of songs pegged for an album due sometime this winter.

“We were just really excited to have the opportunity to get these songs out here,” Wendel said of the debut. “This next one is a little more thought out. The other one was kind of rushed, and we still like it, but this one is going to be a little more planned out.”

Mike McCarthy, who has worked with the likes of Spoon, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead and Patty Griffin, produced and released the debut through his upstart label Western Medical Records, with plans to do the same for the yet-to-be-titled sophomore record.

“He came to our show, liked us, and it’s become a great partnership,” Wendel said. “We love the casualness of it, and he’s a great producer. He works with us well as a team. He really lets us have the majority of the input, which you don’t always get.”

Crooked Bangs started work on the record before this fall tour, including a stop at The Blue Note on Wednesday, Oct. 16, and will finish up when they return to town.

“It’s darker. The last one was a little more garage, while this is a little more punk,” Wendel said. “We’ve grown as a band, and this record will reflect that.”

Crooked Bangs – Evil Eye/Le Mauvais Œil from Dirty Looks on Vimeo.

Joshua Boydston

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