Hosoi Bros. singer-guitarist Severin Allgood has a neat way of summing the dichotomy at the heart of his band. "We make stupid music for smart people," says Allgood.
On Friday, Hosoi Bros. will play a release party at the Hi-Tone Café to celebrate its latest single, "Snorlokk," and debut its accompanying video by director Wes Williams.
An Atlanta native, Allgood moved to Memphis from Portland in 2007. After playing bass for a time in local pop-punk combo Lover! he ended up forming a metal band called Evil Wizard Eyes. The group featured Allgood and Drewbie Crenshaw (bass) and Shawn Apple (guitar), as well as drummer Zach Payne.
"I met them all randomly," says Allgood. "We're all around the same age and grew up with the same records. So there was a good base for where we all come from musically."
After a couple years of making noise locally, in 2009 Evil Wizard Eyes split when Payne moved to France. The remaining members tapped Jimmy Blasingame, a veteran of numerous local outfits including Noise Choir and Reginald, to take his place, and re-christened themselves Hosoi Bros. after skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi.
The reconstituted four-piece also decided to change their musical approach, as well. Initially, they were aiming for the angular posthardcore of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes.
"But after about the second practice we started playing some ZZ Top riffs and we ended up jamming on that for about an hour. We thought 'This is a lot more fun; let's just do this,'" says Allgood. "So we basically tried to write stupid ZZ Top type riffs. Pretty soon that progressed into something else."
That something else was a hybrid, merging the larynx-shredding vocals and high-watt riffage of umlaut rockers like Motörhead with a propulsive punk pace and occasional left turns into hard-core.
This past February the band released its debut single, "Wine Witch," b/w "Yellow Fever" (a funny, gory George Hancock-directed video for the first track can be found on YouTube). Recorded at Ardent studios — coincidentally, the longtime recording home of ZZ Top — with producer Alan Burcham, the tracks offered up a template for the Hosoi's sound, which reviewers have since taken to calling "party thrash."
This past spring the band reunited with Burcham, this time at the producer's own The Secret Team Headquarters studio for another session. The result is the new single, "Snorlokk," b/w "Amberlamps." Both tracks find the band refocusing on its more aggressive metal roots. "We've sort of progressed into back being a heavier band," says Allgood.
Local Hosoi Bros. gigs have been fairly infrequent affairs by design. Mostly, Memphis shows have seen the band sharing stages opening for nationals like Skeletonwitch, The Sword, and Torche. "When we play in town we generally play with a bigger band. We sort of prefer to play for people who may not know us, rather than be real ubiquitous and constantly play to the same crowd of people you know or friends."
This week, however, the band will headline its own set for the release concert, along with Special Agent Cooper, a local "Twin Peaks"-themed instrumental metal outfit.
In December, Hosoi Bros. plan on returning to the studio to complete work on a full-length album with Burcham. Allgood expects the band's debut full-length to be out next spring.