Collection: Cool Ghouls

The San Francisco garage rock quartet Cool Ghouls mix the raw, primitive crunch of acts like the Troggs with the harmonies and sophisticated harmonies of the Association. Their early records -- like 2013's self-titled album -- careen with the energy of kids hopped up on reverb and fuzz as they romp through Nuggets and Pebbles reproductions. Buried in the clanging echo and enthusiasm were songs that edged toward maturity, and the group slowly expanded their sound to include country rock on 2016's Animal Races, then pushed the vocals to the fore on 2021's sophisticated take on folk-rock-inspired garage At George's Zoo.

Founded by former high school friends from a Bay Area suburb, the band consists of guitarists Pat McDonald and Ryan Wong, bassist Pat Thomas, and drummer Alex Fleshman, with Wong and Thomas sharing lead vocal duties. Their first release was the six-track Alright Cassette in late 2012. They quickly gained admirers in San Francisco and beyond with local hero Tim Cohen (the Fresh & Onlys) jumping on board to both champion the band and produce their 2013 self-titled full-length. Working quickly, they returned a year later with 2014's A Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye. For their third album, Cool Ghouls invited songwriter Kelley Stoltz to produce the sessions. Stoltz also played guitar with the group in the studio, as did pedal steel guitarist Tom Heyman. The album Animal Races was released by Melodic in August 2016.