LA’s Cat Scan have grown their fan base by performing in plenty of festivals and shows in SoCal. The high energy post-punk outfit consists of David Evanko, Quincy Larsen, Ian Waters and Jeff Goodhart. Their debut album In Nature was released on September 6, 2019 via Volar Records and is one huge ball of energy, clocking in at a whopping 25 minutes for 12 songs. Their initial songs were recorded by Mark Rains at Station House Studio in Echo Park.
In a podcast for Desert Daze, the band shares about their laid-back songwriting style. From the sounds of it, Evanko came up with a handful of songs and the rest of the band collaborated for the rest. They use voice memos and group chats to share song ideas, and were really inspired by punk bands coming out of Oakland like Andy Human & The Reptoids, The World, Marbled Eye and Rays. Although the band’s sound veers strictly punk, they also talk about their obsession with Afro-beat, prog rock and synth-boogie, citing influences from The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to Can and Fugazi.
They’ve played major festivals including Desert Daze and smaller, local fests like Echo Park Rising and Happy Sunday. They’ve also opened for San Diego rock icons Hot Snakes. My first experience of them was seeing the quartet perform at Long Beach fest Happy Sundays in a packed Alex’s Bar in 2019. They fed off the energy of the crowd and vice-versa, as their entire set was filled with playful moshing.
Their instrumentals are much more complex than just strumming chords: they’re big fans of barreling guitar riffs over their pang-y guitar sound, pulsing drums and shouting vocals. Songs like “Upstairs Downstairs” bring to mind bands like Omni with fast-paced guitar licks and build ups. The alternating vocals between Evanko and Larsen create a contrast in their sound and songs. Larsen is also involved in local post-punk band Sextile who are equally great but currently on hiatus. Evanko is also a photo journalist and can be spotted in the photo pits at Desert Daze each year.
Here are a couple of my favorite tracks from their debut album In Nature that’ll help you get into Cat Scan:
“Upstairs Downstairs” is catchy and repetitive, with these fun guitar licks and a crisp sound that allows no instruments to hide.
Cat Scan channel serious Parquet Courts vibes with speak-singing and bursts of screeching guitar in “Commodities,”
And here’s a video for their 48-second song “N.R.A.” which I can only describe as “quick and queasy”: