Photograph by Brandy Bell
The Kabbs were surprised by their own success: “We honestly thought we would just play house parties.”
“We got lucky right off the bat as far as playing shows. We honestly thought we would just play house parties,” says singer Brian Clinebell, whose band the Kabbs was about to celebrate a decade of local gigging when the pandemic shutdown happened. “Our friend Tyrone Taylor introduced us to touring bands that would stay at his place, like Jay Reatard or NoBunny, so it was pretty cool hanging with these guys. Ryan Rousseau from Destruction Unit asked us to play with them at the Ken Club after we did a little house party. I think the scene was really good back in the day, a lot of bands hung out at the same spots so everyone kind of knew each other. I think that helped us open for a lot of bands in town, and touring ones as well.”
Clinebell notes that things were already getting more cutthroat before the live gigs stopped. “The scene was a competitive one, trying to put together a good show or get on a bill with some up-and-coming touring bands. It felt like a lot of us were all trying to jump on the same shows.”
The Kabbs spent around a year working on their new self-titled full-length, recorded with Mike Kamoo at Earthling Studios and mastered by Rafter Roberts. Featuring a lineup of Clinebell, guitarist-singer Ryan Combs (Oh, Spirit), bassist-guitarist Kyle Whatley (Tropicle Popsicle), and drummer Tyler Ward (Oh, Spirit and Exfriends), the first single is called “Something to Lose.”
Says Clinebell, “The lyrics probably have the feel of breaking up with a girlfriend, or maybe the start of a relationship and blowing it at the start of something good. Also, it was the economic downturn as well, from what I can remember. I think I got laid off my first really good gig out of college as a graphic designer, so I had a ton of emotions going on when Kyle and I first wrote it. We introduced it to Ryan and Tyler when we were coming up with new songs for the record. They listened to an acoustic version Kyle had on his phone and they came up with something that same night in the studio.”
“Brian did the cover art and design for the record,” says Whatley. “We’ve been wanting to use this for so long. Brian created it for an art show a while ago, but I think us demoing a handful of songs out in the desert and this mix of psych, punk, and different melodies created a nice chaos where the artwork compliments the vibe of the record.” An orange vinyl edition is also available.
“We have another video in the works for the next single, ‘Spectrum.’ Our friend Lucas Allen, a New York City-based designer, does some great motion graphic work, so the next one will be animated.”