After incessantly listening to Beach Boys’ Smile for two weeks, the Beach Boys have helped me wane off the sunshine and heat as the Indiana landscape slowly turns into an unforgiving frozen tundra. So here are my five songs that are either influenced by the Beach Boys or embody their bright sprit, two things that help me as a slowly drift off into my honey-induced hibernation.
Panda Bear- “Last Night At The Jetty”
Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear has made a name for himself in in the experimental indie quartet Animal Collective, but has now released two dynamite solo records in the past four years. Lennox has always sounded uncannily like the Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson if he was on a heavy dose of morphine, and “Last Night at the Jetty” is an equally woozy reggae-tinged trip.
I picked “July” because its title is best fit with the theme, but I really could have picked five or six different songs on Youth Lagoon’s debut, The Year of Hibernation. Again, Idaho’s Youth Lagoon like Panda Bear can also be rather sleepy, but Trevor Power’s muted vocals really shift into focus as the song progresses and “July” illuminates with little sparkles and shimmers like a glorious fireworks display.
Their debut was hyped like crazy, which I didn’t get one bit, but for some reason I have really come in sync with the New Jersey indie rockers second album, Days. “Easy” just screams nostalgia, as I am instantly transported to riding my first bike around the cul-de-sac or swimming at the neighborhood pool on a sun-soaked afternoon.
These plucky Ohio upstarts contrast the warm and playful melodies and song forms of the 50’s with moody and morose 80’s new wave lyrics and execution in the vein of The Smiths or Joy Division. “Money” feverishly captures this and it’s impossible to shake the falsetto chorus.
Beach Boys- “Heroes and Villains”
^I liked this video better when it was called “Yellow Submarine”.
“Heroes and Villains” encapsulates the two conflicting sides of the Beach Boys: it starts out with the fun, surf rock version of the Beach Boys, and develops into quite the complex orchestrated mini-saga, begging you to see the surfer dudes as serious music visionaries. The violin-led suite that closes up this song sounds like the reigning Grammy winner’s Arcade Fire 40 years before they existed.
For more songs I’ve been listening to fitting this theme, check out my 15 song playlist on Spotify.