Teenage sibling trio Speed of Light have honed a garage rock sound laced with punky undertones that’s probably going to take you by surprise in its ferocity. In fact, the Santa Monica, California, band’s dirty, riff-filled rock meets grunge meets desert rock sound is absolutely filthy as hell.
Led by the incredible raspy vocals of Riley – who’s just 13 – along with her brothers Cameron (guitar, 17) and Tyler (drums, 15), the band fuse dirty riffs and old school rock’n’roll energy. And they’ve still not even released a “proper” single as such.
Indeed, the two tracks available on Spotify are recorded live tracks that go some way to bottling their intense live show. As Cameron explains: “We’re always experimenting on how to make a song more visceral. We’re a live band first, so it’s important for us to connect to the audience in a way you can really feel. If we’re doing it right, you should feel the song the way we’re feeling it.“
They sent us a live studio recording of Kill The Vibe, which was released last month and is an absolute banger. It starts off slowly with light drums and drawn-out guitar note, then launches into a big filthy riff. That quickly drops into a funky light lick, before Riley unleashes some raspy vocals that Kurt Cobain would be proud of. That feeds into heavy guitar chords broken up by little flurries of high notes in an energetic chorus led by heavy cries of “Kill the vibe” from Tyler.
Another verse of impressive vocals feeds into another huge chorus, and drops into rolling drums then an huge scream from Riley leads into a huge smash-up to bring this massive track to a close.
On the track, Cameron tells us: “The song came out of our experience in the LA underground DIY scene. I guess you’d call it a love letter to the scene. Like the lyrics say, we’re just ‘living the ride.'” Check it out in the live video below…
That was preceded by another live studio recording of Break, which opens up with a cool little guitar lick and building drums that explode into a cool opening riff. Slightly less intense vocals from Riley take over, then a cry of “I break everything” brings in a lively chorus.
Drawn-out guitar chords and rolling drums support Riley’s engaging vocals and feed into another heavy chorus. Palm-muted guitars take over with shouted vocals from Tyler and some funky little guitar noodling builds up to a big rock out section to finish the track. Check it out below:
Speed of Light’s music fuses together the three siblings’ varied musical influences. Cameron is into classic rock and stoner rock, Tyler’s more into punk, while Riley likes bands like Sonic Youth, The Cure and Radiohead.
And on their music writing, Cameron explains: “We write our own music and perform because we really enjoy the entire process, from beginning to end. It’s strange to release a song on Youtube or Spotify because we’re not connecting with the audience the same way we would if we were playing live. Strange is not necessarily bad, it’s just new.”
There’s plenty more to come from the band, including new music in 2021 and, hopefully, live music. As Cameron says: “We’ve managed to play a dozen shows in 2020 despite the lockdown, through livestreams or open-air secret locations, but it’s definitely not the same as the 70-plus shows we played the year before. No matter what happens in the future, we’re going to adapt.
“We’re just writing and performing music we want to hear right now. We’re learning a lot, meeting of lot of cool people, and having fun along the way.”
When live music is back again there’s no doubt that Speed of Light will be straight back into the live shows, and you’re not going to want to miss their show. We’re excited about this young band and, if Kill The Vibe is anything to go by, we can’t wait to hear what’s coming next. And for an extra treat, watch them rocking their track Underdog to little kids on an American kids’ TV show.