Why does the band Tulips, who are based in Echo Park, call themselves Tulips?
For one thing, says vocalist-guitarist Angie Bloom, she has a favorite sweater with tulips on it.
Also, “We’ve got two singers,” says Taleen Kali, who also sings and plays guitar. Not to mention, “two lips,” she says, pointing to her mouth. “And two lips,” she continues, pointing down to, well, you know.
They call their sound "riotgaze," and call each other "Doom and Bloom." Kali is "Doom," and she's the founder of Dum Dum Zine, which she started in 2011. She cites the Riot Grrrl Manifesto as a major influence.
You can find it at certain independent bookstores, as well as on the overflowing bookshelves of downtown DIY venue The Smell, most likely. It's the one that's tattered and falling apart from being flipped through so many times.
Kali and Bloom found another group member, Travis Barnes, when he applied for an internship at the zine in 2012. He eventually became Tulips' drummer.
They met the fourth member, Miles Marsico, after he hired the band to record the soundtrack to a film he was working on, The Pink Sorrys. Now, he’s their “temporarily permanent” bassist. One thing about him: He plays barefoot. “I just want the stage to feel like my bedroom,” he says.
They've been playing crazy shows for about two years now. They are, as Marsico puts it, “90% sweat.” Kali’s favorite onstage move is the helicopter. “One time I put the whole mic in my mouth,” she says.
Tulips is finally releasing a physical copy of their music: a two-song cassingle, mixed by Brad Laner of Medicine at his Granada Hills home studio.
Kali’s track “Hotspur” was inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV. “The character commits himself to so much depravity just because he doesn't want to accept fate. I personified him into a lover.”
Bloom's track "Wait" is a tortured break-up song
"These songs have these different kind of polarities, where they lean one way or the other so there will be kind of a tension," says Bloom. Kali channels '90s grunge rock, while Angie is heavily doo-wop influenced.
"I think collaborating was the best possible idea for us. We've tempered each other's tendencies to gravitate in a certain direction,” says Kali.
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"We're learning from each other," says Bloom. Kali adds with a laugh, "It's worked really well to rip off each other."
Tulips' cassingle release/ tour kickoff show happens August 29 at Pehrspace