Four college friends from Southern California, The Smiles began in 2009 when songwriters Will Sturgeon and John McGrath met at the University of California. There, huddled in their dorm rooms, the duo began writing their first songs together as The Smiles –– sunny, hook-laden 'beach rock', sharply written, energetic paeans to surf and sand and California.
In September of 2009, Brendan Kirlin joined the duo on guitar and Mark Edwards joined them on drums. Will picked up the bass, and together the foursome started playing house parties at USC, becoming one of the 'go-to' bands on campus, and eventually becoming the only student band to play KSCR’s annual music fest. They also landed a spot at one of UCSD’s biggest music festivals, Muirstock. As The Smiles grew together over the next few months, they started recording their debut EP, Hermosa, raising the funds for recording themselves online in under 24 hours.
Recorded by a friend in his basement, the six-track Hermosa EP –– named after Hermosa Beach, where it was recorded –– came out in May 2010. Hermosa's six short tracks (the ep's longest track clocks in at a touch over 3 minutes) offer a perfect introduction to the quartet's instantly likeable, sun-drenched sound: the winding interplay of Sturgeon and McGrath's vocals, the bright jangle of the guitars, the buoyant rythms, the sharp lyrics.
Informed by the godfathers of Californian pop, The Beach Boys, The Smiles' prove that music can be unashamedly direct and sunny and fun, while also being smart and sharp and surprising, tinged with the neurosis and doubt that play at the edges of even the finest summer. This ain't one-dimensional surf music: this is summer music as it should be.