Indie rock has become too cutesy for its own good these days–everyone’s gone the way of synths with honeyed lyrics and the occasional guitar riff and if they don’t fall into that direction, they’re borrowing too many pages from the surfer rock book. It’s more indie pop than rock, in fact. Does the music still have its merits? Sure, but the genre’s in serious need of stripping things back, which is why California Blonde is a welcome return to what indie used to be.

Fronted by Jake Brebes, the Los Angeles-rooted band isn’t as breezy as you’d think with a name like California Blonde–there’s no sugar sweet female on lead vocals and no multi-layered harmonies à la the Brady Bunch. Thankfully. The four tracks posted for listening feature plenty of cymbal crashing, guitar hooking that verges bluesy at times, and Brebes’ even vocal meanderings–he could easily fall into bluegrass or lean the side of classic rock. Either way, the tunes are funny and every song is simply fun to listen to–perfect for a road trip.

California Blonde can be found on Soundcloud.

Sal Christ is a writer with headphones glued to her ears. When she’s not indulging her musical gluttony, she’s usually kickboxing away the winter while daydreaming about a place that’s not so cold