’50s Tinged Pop isn’t Going Anywhere

HEAVY HAWAII‘s Teen Angel is the king. I know we talked about this earlier in the week, but this song’s the boss. It’s packed with some of the vocals of the year, infectious melodies and heavy kick drums, a guitar line that rivals BEACH FOSSILS‘ 2010 self-titled masterpiece, and the simplest and most classic story line you could imagine: guy wants girl. “Cha Cha Cha Angel, tell me it’s you,” lead singer Matt Bahamas cooly asks of whoever’s listening. It’s even got DAN DEACONesque background vocals. It’s also of a genre that has been developing steadily, like the Chillwave movement, for over two years now. And like the chillwave trend, there were questions about where the lo-fi ’50s touched pop world was going. Was it going hi-fi, as HEAVY HAWAII’s old bandmate WAVVES could lead one to assume with his new album King of the Beach. Is it just a fad that doesn’t have the legs to carry on?

HEAVY HAWAII’s touch-up of their own jam from earlier this year makes a great case for the music’s presence in the development of modern music. In this song’s case, you’ve got a bit of hi-fi going on, but the vocals are still decidedly affected, a stark difference from most of WAVVES’ most recent album, which offered a shiny-voiced Nathan Williams. While there is no decisive answer on the question, “how seriously do we take this genre,” we have to look at songs like this, TENNISMarathon, CULTSGo Outside, NAVAJO BIXBY‘s Down Under, BEACH FOSSILS’ Sometimes and WAVVES’ Baseball Cards to realize that some of the best stuff from this year…really, some of the best music of 2010 is modeled after pop from the 1950s and 60s and it’s mostly from the beach.

The truth is, at the end of the day, we should really embrace this thing. It’s given us BEACH FOSSILS phenomenal debut LP. It’s given us a solid new direction from WAVVES. It’s given us a bunch of dynamic singles that you can be sure will pop up on year-end lists all over the place. So it looks like it’s growing, but who knows? We’ll always have to wait till next year to find out. For now, however, embrace it. And get your feet in the sand as often as is still possible. Cuz the cold is coming. At least we’ll have all this new sound to help warm our winters just a lil more than last year.

by: Brad Horenstein



MP3 NAVAJO BIXBY: Down under

MP3 WAVVES: Baseball Cards

MP3 TENNIS: Marathon

MP3 CULTS: Go Outside


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