Music: Indie Surf Revival


The sounds of surf rock have been in the indie air for a while, but never more so than now with artists like The Drums and Ariel Pink dropping songs that are firmly rooted in the genre’s classic format, not to mention sporting Brian Wilson bangs and 60s-style striped shirts and chinos.

In 2007 Panda Bear of Animal Collective released his Comfy in Nautica single, bringing surf pop sounds to the fore of his still experimental music, as well as driving the point home with a video of pro-skater Clark Hassler emerging from the ocean to skate around New York City. This sound was replicated to critical acclaim and unexpected commercial success on Animal Collective’s 2008 album Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Since then, Florida band Surfer Blood took up the indie surf banner with the big-harmony single Swim in 2009, followed by their 2010 Astro Coast album. MGMT followed suit with Congratulations, their album featuring 60s surf garage jams like It’s Working and Brian Eno and surf-psych cover art by low brow king Anthony Ausgang.

The Drums’ crypto-Americana single Let’s Go Surfing, ostensibly about President Obama, is near-pure surf pop, while Baby That’s Not The Point is pure girl group melodrama. The video for Bright Lit Blue Skies, the lead single from folk oddity Ariel Pink’s recent Haunted Graffiti, features Ventures-style drums and guitar, Beatles haircuts and boating blazers, and actual surfing footage.  Fans of the weird should check out Animal Collective-friends Black Dice, who drop strangely poppy Smile-era Brian Wilson melodies into their super-loud noise rock.

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