Beach Sounds Mix

I've composed a mix of some of my favorite music from the past couple
weeks. If Posterous' embedding works as advertised, you should be
able to listen along with the associated Youtube videos. Head down below the break to check it out.

Drums - Let's Go Surfing

The opening statement of intent comes from a leader of the current
crop of surf-inspired indie rock bands, familiar to anyone who doesn't
mute VW ads. It serves as the prototype -- you have the clean,
uptempo guitar line; the whistled hook; the elementary school summer
break bridge.

Saint Etienne - You're In A Bad Way

A classic off 1993's "So Tough," this is quintessential St Etienne.
Sarah Cracknell serves as 60s girl-pop frontwoman, with two former
music journalists mashing up a pop encyclopedia as the backing track.

Best Coast - Our Deal

Of the current crop of surf revivalists, Best Coast are my favorite
and probably best-poised for mainstream success. It's hard to go
wrong with Bethany Cosentino's dreamy, multiplied chorus laid over
Phil Spector-style bells, but cramming so much bliss into a two-minute
package vaults this one into the stratosphere occupied by Primal
Scream's "Velocity Girl."

Beach Boys - Good Vibrations

By far the most recognizable beach-inspired artists in history, the
Beach Boys churned a vast catalog of classics. "Good Vibrations"
strikes what I find the best intersection between their accessible pop
genius and instrumental and compositional experimentation. Also it
prompted from Colleen about the use of the theremin.

Teenage Fanclub - The Concept

You can either get sunny music from those experienced with it (see the
two previous California-based bands) or from those pining for it, like
Glasgow's Teenage Fanclub. The opening blast of guitar feedback here
leads into a two-line summation of the song's subject: "She wears
denim wherever she goes / Says she's gonna buy some records by the
Status Quo" followed by the first of many "oh yeah"s. The
multi-minute guitar solo in the middle gives us plenty of time to
contemplate how to start Side B.

Smith Westerns - Smile

This pretty piece of glam rock is my favorite track off one of my
favorite releases of 2011, the Smith Westerns' "Dye It Blonde." Given
the ingredients -- the hushed vocals, the overdriven-but-down guitar,
the dense instrumentation, the acoustic guitar break -- it's kind of a
miracle that it doesn't come out sounding like T Rex-by-numbers.

Webb Brothers - Summer People

This is just a great coming-out-after-winter song. It has a pleasant
post-Britpop sensibility to it: They are a band, they have guitars and
possibly a couple synths, and they wrote some songs, and now here they
are.

Wavves - King of the Beach

This is seriously infectious surf/noise/punk/whatever. The first two
Wavves albums veered a little too lo-fi for my tastes, but the third
hits a sweet spot between snotty bedroom punk and polished beach pop.

Los LavaLamps - Coconut Devil

Los LavaLamps are from Guadalajara, Mexico; they play entirely
instrumental surf-rock; they do so in lucha libre masks; occasionally
they choreograph parts of the live performance; and apparently they
can go 6 hours without repeating a song. I consider walking into a
show of theirs at Rey Momo here in Barra one of my all-time
serendipitous moments.

Beach Fossils - Daydream

It's languid, and it's reverby, and it's gorgeous. The slightly
off-kilter four-piece vibe gives Beach Fossils a nostalgic AM radio
feel.

The Byrds - You Ain't Going Nowhere

The thrilling opening country-rock salvo from "Sweetheart of the
Rodeo," this is one of the Byrds' greatest Dylan covers. It was also
the highlight of an otherwise forgettable beach bar set Colleen and I
accidentally caught (think Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett), prodding
me out of semi-annoyance into an approximation of one of the chorus
harmony parts. It's not the same without the pedal steel, though, so I
cranked this on my laptop as soon as we got home.

Air - Remember

I'm closing here with Air at their wistful best, off their debut and
the pinnacle of French retro-futurism, "Moon Safari." The album
itself is so perfect it almost seems like a colossal cosmic accident.
The Youtube version features the most useful comment ever posted on
the site: The drum track here is from the Beach Boys' "Do It Again."
Cosmic coincidence yet again.