According to Will Sprott, lead singer of The Mumlers, a San Jose-based alt-folk collective, it was skateboarding that initially brought his band to the attention of Greg Lamson and Thomas Campbell, co-founders of the Santa Cruz indie record label Galaxia
. “The people who run Galaxia are skaters and I grew up skateboarding,” Sprott says. “A friend of mine passed our first demo recordings on to another friend, who passed them on to another friend, and one day I got a phone call saying they were interested in what we were doing.” Exactly what Sprott and his bandmates are doing isn’t all that easy to define, and that, in part, is what makes The Mumlers’ music so good. Sprott’s nonchalant delivery and wry observations—“I came to this town / from beneath a hospital gown,” he sings on “Dice in a Drawer” from 2007’s Thickets and Stitches—fit effortlessly into the folky fabric of acoustic guitar plucking, squeeze box, horns, tambourine and simple drumming. Sprott and the rest of The Mumlers will bring their quirky, shrugging, backwoods jams this week to unveil new material off their just-released record, Don’t Throw Me Away. The singer says that on this newest release the band had a lot of time to get the mood it wanted. “We really got into the nitty gritty,” he says, “and found sounds we liked, used old microphones, preamps and tape machines. We recorded it in our friend Monte Vallier’s studio above a taqueria in the Mission district of San Francisco. It was just a very comfortable, contructive, relaxed place to do it.” Although the band hails from over the hill, Sprott says it feels right at home on the Santa Cruz label. “Santa Cruz is a beautiful place,” he says. “We’ve been swimming in the ocean there since we could swim. We have friends there. You can dig up sand crabs at the beach there. The whole town has been overflowing with vampires since the ’80s.”
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.