San Diego indie rockers The Donkeys are tie-dying their T-shirts. “It just seemed like a good idea,” band member Timothy DeNardo tells EW.
DeNardo says there’s a hippie vibe to their upcoming West Coast tour, which stops in Eugene for a free show June 19 in the Hi-Fi Music Hall lounge.
“We’re playing a couple festivals and a show on the solstice,” DeNardo says, so tie-dye band T-shirts seem appropriate.
Early Donkeys’ stuff drew comparisons to hippie greats like The Dead, The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their latest release, 2014’s Ride The Black Wave, moves away from the ’60s toward straight-ahead indie rock, with an undeniably sunshiny So-Cal feel.
It’s hard to imagine San Diego’s weather making anyone sad. Nonetheless, The Donkeys undercut their easy-going rhythms, sweet harmonies and acoustic guitar with some Northwest-style melancholy that recalls The Shins. Title track “Ride The Black Wave” could be straight-off The Shins debut Oh, Inverted World.
On DeNardo’s favorite new song — the appropriately titled “Summer Daze” — vocalist Sam Sprague sings forlornly: “My heart keeps wondering/ Should I stay in California/ Should I move to France/ I’m tired of these sunny days.”
“I feel in places where you are forced to deal with more inclement weather, you also learn to make the most of opportunities when they rise in the form of sunny days,” DeNardo says. “Having such temperate weather here in San Diego, it’s really easy to become a little complacent, because tomorrow is gonna be just as nice as every day before it.”
The Donkeys’ ’60s influences do crop up on Black Wave: “The Manx” features a tubular surf-rock riff, “I Heart Alabama” is hippie country and the instrumental “Imperial Beach” is all incense and Beatles-esque sitar.
The Donkeys play with San Francisco’s Extra Classic 10 pm Friday, June 19, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; FREE. 21-plus.