If you’re an LA denizen and you haven’t heard of Mystery Claws, you will soon. Comprised of rockers Julia Bembenek and Matt Kivel (Princeton) and featuring drummer Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), the band’s first single, “Flashlights” premiered on Stereogum late April and now their debut album Hydaspia (on Easter Everywhere Records) is on the market.

In the spirit of the season, band member Julia Bembenek was kind enough to throw together a BBQ mixtape for Tadpole Audio. I grabbed a meal with her a few days before their kickin’ record release party this past weekend at Pehrspace to chat about it…

TA : To start with the obvious, what inspired you about this theme?

JB: Well, most of Hydaspia was recorded during the summer last year, and it was a BBQ-heavy summer. Matt and I would record during the day and then eat some delicious grilled delights and talk about nerdy records we like. It’s fun being record pals with Matt – he’s got a rad collection and has definitely turned me on to crazy good stuff. I also enjoy driving him crazy with stereotypical classic rock. I think he secretly likes Ted Nugent and AC/DC as much as I do now.

Photo credit: Cameron Shaw

TA: Is that reflected on the album?

JB: The record is a pretty accurate reflection of our common tastes as well as our individual obsessions. Before MC, I pretty much played psych-rock and punky stuff. Matt’s got some serious Anglophiliac tendencies. We kind of threw the two together with some country/folky common ground and Hydaspia happened. I think we push each other into new territory.

TA: Most of the music on the mix is from the 60’s or 70’s and then there are tracks from Flying Lotus and Neon Indian. Do you see a relationship there?

JB: The older stuff on the mix definitely represents our base influences – the music we nerd out to. Most of the newer stuff on there comes from artists that seem to have a similar approach to appropriating and twisting their influences – Flying Lotus’s space jazz-y riffs and Neon Indian’s nerdy Todd Rundgren samples really become their own thing, which is a tricky thing to accomplish I think.

TA: Another one of the tracks is from the band Darlings, a relatively new band emerging out of NYC – how do you go about finding new music?

JB: Darlings are actually old friends of mine operating out of NYC. I really love their record ‘Yeah I Know’ and am psyched to get their new EP soon. It’s really great to have friends who are doing fun and interesting projects, plus it makes me seem cooler than I am when I slip them in the mix.

Well, I can definitely confirm that Julia is way cooler than I am. So without further ado I invite you to cling to the bliss of the weekend (or look forward to the next one) with BBQ Days – “the sounds and moods of the perfect BBQ in the Echo Park hills.” While you can listen to it anywhere, I highly recommend this mix is taken with veggie burgers, plaid and PBR.

BBQ Days by Mystery Claws by flavatadpole

Mystery Claws “Hydaspia” is now available on iTunes or vinyl – you can also find limited copies in local LA stores Origami Vinyl, Amoeba, Vacation Vinyl and more.  Check out “Flashlights” below.

And head to Serious Stache to read my full interview with Julia – she gives me the scoop on the East LA music scene, thoughts on the West vs. East Coast indie music scene, and where the name “Mystery Claws” came from.

Mystery Claws “Flashlights”
Mystery Claws – Flashlights by tadpole of july