Cardboard Houses perform at The Colony in Sacramento Ca. January 20, 2018. Photo Heather Uroff

The Sacramento music scene has always been a great place for creative bands to come together and make some noise. Lately, teens like the members of Dog Party and Destroy Boys have made a splash by starting small bands, playing all-ages venues, and developing a following, all in hopes of having some fun – and getting big.

A young band with great potential is Cardboard Houses. This power trio, consisting of Jake Hall on guitar and vox, Blake Eitel on bass, and Ryan Keeley on drums, helps define an up-and-coming Sacramento sound – what the band describes as “psychedelic-indie-pop-rock.” The band’s sound is defined by their great ability to come up with strong, catchy melodies while laying down a solid indie rock groove.

At a recent show at the Colony, the band spoke to TUBE. about how much fun they have performing. They seemed to truly enjoy being together and that translated into their playing, especially in a few spots where the band extended songs and jammed out.

The name Cardboard Houses comes from the realization that “there is no real substance in suburban homes,” says Eitel. The three are all originally from the suburb of Cameron Park but play most of their shows in the Sacramento Area.

Hall and Eitel started playing music together in 2012 when Hall was only 12 years old. They were a two-piece metal band until they found Keeley in 2014. Eitel and Keeley formed a jam group called Girl’s Luggage and later added Hall on guitar. They went through different names such as Broken Branches before finally deciding to go with Cardboard Houses.

The band experimented with many different genres before evolving into their current sound. Their self-released four-song EP Cardboard Houses released December 2016  has a surf rock sound that fits well on many bills in the local scene. A non-EP track released on Soundcloud, “Waking Up (Surf Rock Song)” is a prime example of their sound with its beachy guitar tone and fast beat drumming. Off their EP, “For Better Or For Worse” shows off a catchy chorus in a surf-rock relationship song.

For some bands, playing music is a hobby and not their professional focus but these three want to take the band somewhere. Eitel points out that “indie rock or I guess what we make, isn’t the [main sound] of what everyone our age listens to,” but they are hoping to make careers out of it anyway.

Hall writes all of the lyrics and says they are “pretty metaphorical.” The three of them write the melody together but also separately come up with different riffs to bring to the group.

Their next EP will be coming out sometime soon with entirely new tracks. They’re unsure of the release date but say it will be sometime this year. They have been playing most of the songs that will be included on this EP in their shows so, they say, it won’t be much of a surprise to folks who come out and see them play.

Words: Sullivan Hargrove.

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