Moonhearts beam a hazy summer light on Total Trash Fest 3

Moonhearts work that distorted surf buzz.

In the Wed/3 Guardian you can read the tale of Total Trash Fest 3, and what exactly it takes to be a trash band. Here I present another example of the Total Trash type: Moonhearts.

The band includes vocalist-bassist Mikal Cronin, who also has a solo album out — he'll play two Trash Fest sets Sunday, August 28 (one with Moonhearts in the afternoon, and later that night by himself). On top of that, he occasionally tours with his friend, local garage rock wizard Ty Segall, who is in Traditional Fools, also set to play Total Trash. It's a freaky web those trash types weave.

"We've played with a lot of those bands [in the fest] before," Cronin says, adding with a laugh, “I guess we're pretty trashy, but we try to keep it under control."

But Moonhearts represents a newer side of trash, veering slightly away from the punk and more toward a dreamy California surf sound. (Don't worry, the band definitely keeps up the noisy garage ethos of the genre.) It's a modern, more distorted version of those psychedelic Nuggets box sets, which introduced a generation (whether it admits it or not) to bands like the Seeds and Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Some Moonhearts tracks, such as "I Said" off its eponymous 2010 album on Tic Tac Totally, evoke those bands more directly, while other songs veer toward a more straightforward Dick Dale and the Del-Tones style with the classic, wave-like reverb.

The trio grew up in Laguna Beach, Calif., discovering surfing first, and rock 'n' roll second. All three attended Laguna Beach High School and it was there that Cronin first met Segall. The pair started a band, a first for them both, which Cronin describes as a "Laguna Beach party band."

After high school Cronin went away to college in Portland, Ore., but returned to the coastal Orange Country town in 2006 and started up Moonhearts. "Growing up, we were all obsessed with surf records, so [our music] seemed appropriate. We've never talked directly about it, but it seems to permeate everything we do."

The band was originally called Charlie and the Moonhearts, after drummer Charlie Mootheart, the youngest member of the group, but it has since dropped the "Charlie." In name only, though — Mootheart, who now lives in San Francisco, continues to play with Cronin and Moonhearts guitarist Roland Cosio, though they both live in Southern California. That's about to change: Cronin and Cosio are planning to move to the Bay Area as soon as possible.

With Pangea, King Lollipop, and Si Si Si
Aug. 28, 2 p.m., $7
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, S.F.

Mikal Cronin
With Mouthbreathers, Cosmonauts
Aug. 28, 9 p.m., $7
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, S.F.
Facebook: Total Trash Fest 3

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