One Man Band Series: Virginia Teen Julian Earle’s Lo-Fi Garage Rock Crackles on Debut EP, ‘Eat Me’

julianearleeatmeFrom the bedroom of his parents’ home in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Fairfax, Virginia, 16-year-old DIY guitar-slinger Julian Earle writes and records blaring, fast-driving and heavily distorted lo-fi garage rock with muffled, barely audible vocals. It’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

Last August, Earle dropped his homemade debut EP, Eat Me. From the first track, we were immediately struck by the utter rawness of distorted, gritty guitar playing, accompanied by a frenetic, and kinetic, blast of noise. Unrefined and in your face, the untamed track, “Monsters,” is a captivating expression of teenage angst and the often confusing and chaotic transition into adulthood.

Monsters” – Julian Earle from Eat Me E.P

“Monsters,” which is a appropriately named because of its beast-like persona, is basically an instrumental with the exception of a few moments when you can hear Earle almost howling, which instantly reminded us of Brooklyn musician Brad Oberhofer‘s (prior to the formation of the band Oberhofer) first demos that he sent IRC for a 2010 One Man Band profile – months before Oberhofer really took off (apparently partly due to his IRC profile) and started showing up on late night TV shows (like Letterman) and big-name music festivals, not to mention signing with a label and touring endlessly.

While Earle’s songs, including the more tame, but still blazing, track, “All Alone,” reminded us of early Oberhofer, the songwriting, playing and vocal work, as a total package, is uniquely Earle.

“All Alone” – Julian Earle from Eat Me E.P

While there is perhaps room for improvement in sound production quality (or maybe it’s just fine as it is?), the fact that Earle is only 16 years old, totally DIY, has admittedly cheap recording equipment, no outside help, and yet obviously has raw talent and his own style, is all impressive, especially if you like unrefined, full-throttle lo-fi noise.

That said, there are plenty of artists over the years who have started out with rough, lo-fi demos and go on to tour to sold out crowds in venues across North America and Europe. The bottom-line is that more people need to hear these tracks and make up their own mind.

“Overload” – Julian Earle from Eat Me E.P

Earle told IRC: “I am a teenager from around D.C just trying to make my contribution to the garage scene that I love so much. I make lo-fi music in my room.” Hopefully we are not the only ones who see that Earle has already made a contribution to the D.C. area garage rock scene. Perhaps in coming months, the D.C. scene, and beyond, will embrace his sounds and see the potential that we see.

Earle’s musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Smiths, Black Flag, The Descendents, Ty Segall, Wavves, Jay Reatard and The Black Keys. He clearly has good tastes in bands from the classic rock era right up to present day garage rock movement, so it’s easy to see where he gets some of the fury evident in the tracks on Eat Me, which is also available on his Bandcamp page. This is his first profile, that we know of, on a widely-read music blog.

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  1. I think the music has way too much distortion. I can’t even understand what the singing is saying. I guess different strokes for different folks.

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