San Antonio Music Awards 2014 Current’s Choice: The Bolos

San Antonio garage act the Bolos plays a fuzz-enthused twang-infused brand of boozy blues that really crackles and cooks. With strong East Texas roots, these boys are drawn to the blues—particularly in the style of Howlin’ Wolf, Ledbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Junior Kimbrough—before anything else. On the other hand, as aficionados of garage rock old and new, the Bolos also manage a gritty, raw, reverb- and hiss-drenched sound. The foursome, whose name was inspired by a particular piece of a Roy Orbison Halloween costume once worn by lead guitarist Thomas Knierien, recently finished up recording an EP with Gary Reinsch at Upper Room Studios in Sugarland, Texas.

Of the Bolos fairly recent genesis, Knierien tells the Current that they started with no serious intentions at all, going out to party on the Strip and meeting up to jam as a kind of nightcap. “We’re all just really into garage music, blues music, psych rock, et cetera, and at some point our drunken jam sessions just turned into a band,” Knierien explains. And, as one might expect, this fast and loose origin story has translated into the band’s delightfully sloppy sound.

As Knierien notes, the Bolos are all about having and facilitating fun: “We want to have a good time and make people have a good time. When I go to a show I want to be covered with sweat afterwards because I’m exhausted from having such a good time.” Knierien aptly sums up the band’s sound as “cowboy garage blues” and singer/multi-instrumentalist Osita Anusi adds that “somehow we ended up getting this mildly twangy country sound that was unintentional, but we like it.” So do we. In fact, if the Bolos’ live shows and scant demos are any indication, this EP could turn out to be one of the best local offerings of the year.

We asked Anusi and Knierien to name three things that they’d like everyone to know about the Bolos. They hardly missed a beat, coming up with a kind of mission statement that ties the band’s sound to its personality. “First: We like to go fast. Second: If you see us, buy us some Fireball. Third: rock ’n’ roll.”

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