Soggy winter rains have steeped Grizzel Toe, the latest project featuring Green Flash alums Raya Heffernan and Peter Wallner, throughout its gestation period, saturating life into the underground duo in preparation for a spring sprig to sprout. Seething in the clammy distortion of a washed-out ’90s shoegaze sound garden, Grizzel Toe echoes gritty EVOL-era Sonic Youth with an innate punk intensity that will leave any audience aching in admiration after being walloped by their wall of noise. “Our music is the color of bruises,” Wallner, who plays guitar and vocals, relents, “an eyesore you can’t stop touching, but want to.” With performances alongside the Growlers, Religious Girls, and Man/Miracle under their belts, Heffernan and Wallner have bled into the local circuit and are ready to take it to the studio for a four-track EP that should be out around May. For the duo, memories of growing up in Santa Cruz have filled the well from which Grizzel Toe dips into for inspiration, the vibrant teenage crusades of years past quenching today’s thirst for amplified wistfulness. “We’re about expression in general, an escape,” Heffernan, who plays bass and vocals, reveals, adding that the group is “coming from a place of extreme nostalgia, paying ode to the days when we were 15 trying to get beer and hanging out at the trestle.” Impressions like these mold the sardonic melancholy Grizzel Toe’s compositions emote, exemplified in tracks like “Alien Love,” where Heffernan belts the heartache of forlorn love between a human and alien next to Wallner’s garbled chords. In the background mulling through the group’s grunge is an MPC 1000 sequencer Wallner primarily commands, layering raffish drum tracks atop the duo’s live set. For now, this setup functions well, although Heffernan “wishes Grizzel Toe had a live drummer and [machine] beats” in a hybrid set that would pummel audiences with rhythms from all angles. Still in its developmental stages, Grizzel Toe is looking toward the future with recordings, shows, and a potential relocation to Brooklyn on the horizon. Budding with a dark, electric energy, the duo offers “an open invitation for people to immerse themselves in sounds and come hang out,” Wallner professes. Check them out before the party passes.
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