On Thursday, April 17, the tightly packed crowd at Mar Vista club The Good Hurt waited in anticipation for Sputnik Monroe. For five years, the band, whose members hail from Santa Monica, Culver City, and Marina del Rey, has been making waves across the Westside and beyond utilizing vintage keyboards, computers, and violins in addition to the usual guitar-bass-drum combination. And at just after 11 p.m., when the band took to the stage, the sound it emitted was almost too large for the tiny club, a dense onslaught of music that stirred onlookers.
“It’s really a hodgepodge,” says Kevin Netzley, singer and keyboardist of Sputnik Monroe, of the band’s sound. “Spacey rock is kind of the best but doesn’t really explain what we do. There are a lot of noises, a lot of sounds, but not in an ambient band kind of way.”
He adds, “We definitely have melodies and movements to our music. We try to bring in a lot of different sounds.”
No matter how one chooses to describe Sputnik Monroe, the band still produces an intricate, blissful sound that crosses generational lines.
“It’s easy for us to peg people’s generations or what they do by what they say to us afterwards,” says Netzley. “Someone younger will tell us that we sound like [experimental rock band] Deerhunter and someone older will tell us that they are reminded of Pink Floyd. I think it’s because we do incorporate, cull from so many influences.”
The show at The Good Hurt was the launch pad for Sputnik Monroe’s nine-day, seven-show Southwest tour, which would take the members to Austin and back. It was also a celebration for the band’s latest EP We’re Doomed, the follow up to the 2006 debut album Wake the Sleeping Giant.
In 2006, when Sputnik Monroe decided to record its debut album, the band traveled to Seattle with enough savings to create an 11-day recording budget to produce 10 songs. With just enough time to lay down a song a day, Wake the Sleeping Giant sounded “as good as it possibly could,” Netzley explains.
“Two years later, after we finally felt like we toured and sold enough to warrant letting go of [the album], we did the exact opposite,” says Netzley This time around, the band members stayed local, found a friend who could engineer the recording sessions, and took their time.
“We spent a month and a half doing five tunes,” Netzley says of the recording process.
Sputnik Monroe plans to return to the studio later this year to record another short collection of songs.
“This EP is purposely a part one,” says Netzley. “Hopefully, six months down the road, we’ll put out part two and we’ll hopefully be fresh and not have to play the same tunes two years later.”
We’re Doomed is available at selected independent and online music retailers. Go to sputnikmonroe.com for more details.