socal sounds: 3lh

Written by Sarah Ramirez

Performing together as early as 2013, 3lh has been combining sounds of ska, alternative punk, and surf rock into insane melodies and nostalgic rock. This Orange County based band got their start playing in high school and uploading school performances of original songs outside their classroom to their Instagram. Before adding a rhythm guitarist, 3lh was composed of three friends in school together looking to get their talent out into the world. 3lh, short for “three legged horse,” which comes from the original high school band and there being only three members in it, and thinking a horse would be a cool mascot.

This Latinx trio creates a seamless yet eclectic sound for those looking to expand their music taste. Heavily influenced by Green Day, Sublime, Rancid, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 3lh is a mixture of different eras and genres. You can hear essences of these groups in their 2018 single “Ghostrider,” a perfect intro to their original style and sound. When listening to 3lh, you’re almost taken aback by how reminiscent their music is to that of The Surftones, in addition to 90’s punk rock. The sharp plucking of the guitar and bright quality, along with the occasional bend of the chord are all prominent in 3lh’s music.

Bassist Favian Vega’s fast-paced, energetic, and smooth bass lines cement the foundation for the rest of the band to build on. Rafa Heredia provides fitting and striking vocals along with anachronistic guitar riffs that still feel modern. On keys and guitar, Franco Fernandez lends us dreamy, yet intense synth and face melting licks that entrance you from the beginning of the songs. Drummer Kevin Carranza’s steady, sharp beats seem influenced by classic jazz and old-fashioned rock and roll.

Before 2017, it seemed as though the only new music being put out by the band was from small events or local battle of the bands. Now you can find a handful of singles and an EP titled “Supremo!” on Spotify and they each expand on 3lh’s signature sound that first catches your attention. 3lh’s breakout 2017 self-titled two-song single includes “Christine,” which sets the scene for the following releases with its punchy, upbeat tempo accompanied by an ever-changing intensity when Rafa’s vocals drop out, and the band as a whole has a chance to show off as musicians. It’s a common theme for this group to have more passion for their instrumental pieces, particularly “Creep Out,” the second and last song of the double feature.

Not even a month later, 3lh released their single “Killfloor” which gives off a darker, muddier feel with more vocals. The single is a change from the previous songs, but it keeps that unique tone that 3lh shows even in their latest release, “Lover’s Lane.” It stays true to the band’s vintage dynamic and adds hints of garage rock. If you ever get the chance to see 3lh live, I definitely recommend going. They’ll be performing at the Summer Haze Festival May 31st in Santa Ana.

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