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Leave The City Behind: Beach Fossils – S/T

In Album Reviews, Worldwide on April 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Beach Fossils

In the current stream of new music coming out, there have been a few albums that I have very recently acquired and listened to that are very much worth checking out. The first, and the focus of this post, is the debut, self-titled LP by Brooklyn, New York’s Beach Fossils coming out soon on Captured Tracks, the label run by fellow Brooklyn native Mike Sniper (aka Blank Dogs). I’ve been following Beach Fossils since last summer, or the summer of “chill”/”beach” music. I thank the best band with that ‘vibe’, Ridgewood, New Jersey’s Real Estate, for sparking my interest.

Beach Fossils started out just having a few mp3s out there and playing a couple shows, one in which he played all the songs he knew…twice. His music has always stood out from all the other ‘beach’ music because of the great melodies and the fact that it didn’t depend on lo-fi production to be interesting. The vocal effect, which is maybe a bit of tremolo, is a very effective technique, and all the instruments sound good, even though they probably were just recorded in some makeshift home studio.

The two first songs I heard by Dustin Payseur, the creative force behind Beach Fossils, were ‘Vacation’ and ‘Daydream’. Even just looking at the song titles, I could tell I was in for some relaxed, nostalgic music about lying around all day, worry-free. ‘Vacation’ has a great guitar line, simple drumming, and a good melody with lyrics that romanticize the worry-free mentality of getting away from the city, even if only temporarily (such as: “I gaze out my window” or “I let the time pass by” or the main theme, “nothing to worry for”). It ends with the kind of ‘ooohhhh’ singing that has become the standard, and one of my favorite parts, of this style of music. The second one I heard, ‘Daydream’ has similar features on the surface: a catchy guitar line, simple drumming, a good melody and worry-free lyrics. And it truly is not remarkably different, but it is very good.

This demonstrates one of the possible distractions of Beach Fossils’ music; his songs are stylistically pretty similar. When it was just a few mp3s, that could be overlooked by seeing his songs as niche music for a certain mood or feeling, but does it work with a full length? I think so. The music is simple but melodic, sure to get stuck in your head. The lyrics are nostalgic for a time that never existed, at least not in my life, and idealistic, but they come off genuine and I can sympathize with his yearning to “leave the city behind” and experience nature, even if it’s more appealing as a desire than it would be in reality.

It’s hard to pick highlights for this reason, but a few of my favorites right now are ‘Sometimes’, ‘Vacation’, ‘Lazy Day’, ‘Daydream’, and ‘Golden Age’. However, I find the whole album to be enjoyable and each song has its merits. Just put it on and lay down and imagine yourself with the sun shining brilliantly, and you have to block its rays with your hand to keep it out of your eye. You have nothing to do today, and even if you did, you were going to blow it off anyway.

Chocolate Bobka: Beach Fossils – ‘Vacation’ from Ray Concepcion on Vimeo.

Beach Fossils have a few shows coming up, but nothing in Canada (yet?). He’s playing Bruar Falls in Brooklyn, NY April 16, Brooklyn Bowl on May 13, The Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 18, then back to New York to play Mercury Lounge June 19. Then he’s off to Philly, June 22 and Washington, D.C. on June 23. I’ve never seen him but from what I’ve heard and seen his shows seem like a good time.

Beach Fossils’ album will be available soon from Captured Tracks, but in the mean time pick up the Daydream 7″ here.

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