Introducing Listen Here, a monthly playlist picked and curated by members of the Deadshirt staff around a certain theme. This month’s theme is the beach with a playlist selected by music editor Julian Ames.
For Memorial Day, fellow Deadshirt editor Max Robinson planned a great beach outing at New York’s Rockaway Beach. All the other attendees planned on bringing wonderful snacks and beverages that they had either bought or made themselves, but since I am both incredibly broke and a novice chef, I decided the best thing I could contribute to the party would be some great tunes. So, I took to my own music library and to Spotify and cooked up this playlist, filled with modern surf rock and other beach-y music, and brought it to the party. Apparently it was a hit, because I was asked to write about it here on the site. Below is a list of the tracks and a brief blurb about why I included them. Enjoy.
“Rockaway Beach” – The Ramones: I tried avoiding choosing stuff that was too obvious, but I couldn’t resist opening with this since it was at Rockaway and the Ramones are pretty awesome.
“Back of Your Neck” – Howler: My philosophy on playlists is to start out strong, so I chose this song – it fits the most with the theme of the playlist, plus its surf rock guitars, pounding drums, and whoo-ohhs make it instantly ear-catching.
“King Of The Beach” – Wavves: Another high energy, bratty garage rock song that’s clearly about the beach. This should appear early on in anyone’s beach playlist to declare your intention to rule.
“Swim” – Surfer Blood: This was the song that drew attention to Surfer Blood several years ago, and with good reason: it’s anthemic and catchy and still their best work in my opinion. It’s got a tropical-sounding jam in it, so it fit the theme of the playlist. Plus a song called “Swim” by a band named Surfer Blood just screams “the beach.”
“Let’s Go Surfing” – The Drums: The Drums were one of the bigger bands in the new wave (no pun intended) of surf pop, and “Let’s Go Surfing” was their first single. This one’s inclusion is pretty self-explanatory: the title and lyrical content, the whistling, the surf rock guitar, all a great fit for the playlist.
“Saratoga” – The Soft Pack: There’s nothing particularly beach-y about this song, I just put it in there because the overall feel of the song reminded me of summer and sunshine. Plus, it’s got a killer instrumental hook.
“Hearts Of Love” – Crocodiles: One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. The music video of this song has two of the main guys in the band walking around a California beach in black skinny jeans and leather jackets, so I always associate it with being badass on the beach. It also has a bit of the lo-fi reverby feel, so it’s prefect to follow “Saratoga.”
“Aftershave Ocean” – The Vaccines: This song is I guess the hardest to justify being on the playlist, at least thematically. Besides the title that includes the word “ocean” in it, it is only vaguely has any characteristics of surf rock, and doesn’t relate to the beach any other way. Fortunately, the chorus is catchy as hell, so I threw it on the list and my party was none the wiser.
“Out of the Sun” – Superchunk: I put this in there as kind of a joke at the expense of my fairer-skinned friends at the party, who would no doubt be starting to feel the burn by this time of the day, so they’d sympathize with the song’s chorus of “Get me out of the sun.”
“Summertime” – Girls: Girls has a ton of songs that would fit pretty well on a playlist full of beach rock. I chose “Summertime” not only because Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, but also because it’s a rollercoaster ride of a song. It starts out very fun, then it kicks into gear and it’s pure bliss before settling down again and becoming almost melancholy.
I Wanna Be Your Hand – Holy Ghost!: This soft rock song sounds like a modern version of a song that the guys from Yacht Rock would make fun of. But it’s still a very bright and sunny song, perfect for relaxing at the beach.
“Wetsuit” – The Vaccines: I tried not to repeat too many artists on this list, but The Vaccines’ first album, the one that features this track, is an almost perfect summer album. Not only is the song title a reference to aquatic wear that you might find on a beach, the guitar reverb and drum pattern evoke a kind of lazy beach feel.
“Myth” – Beach House: With a lot of my playlists, I like to flow from very high energy to a cooler feel, especially at the beach where after all the running around and swimming and stuff, people will also want to hang out and bask in the sun. This track and “Wetsuit” mark the beginning of the chill section. This song and the whole album it comes from was perfect to listen to on lazy days back when I lived in Miami, one of the beachy-est towns ever.
Down By The Water – The Drums: This is probably my favorite song by The Drums. Much like “Let’s Go Surfing,” it has the essential surf rock bass, though this time it’s mellower and better for this spot in the playlist.
“Preben Goes To Acapulco” – Todd Terje: I decided to take the playlist in an electronic and synthpop direction berifly, and I started out with this instrumental track by producer Todd Terje. It’s got a sunny feel to it and some almost jazzy solos; I guess Terje was trying to make the listener imagine the beachfront city of Acapulco, Mexico, but it works just as well at Rockaway in Queens.
“Don’t Give Up” – Washed Out: You can’t have a chill section of a playlist and not include Washed Out, the producer who almost singlehandedly invented the genre called “chillwave.” There’s a ton of Washed Out songs that could qualify for this playlist, they all share similar sonic elements that are perfect for listening at the beach. “Don’t Give Up,” was simply the song of his I like the most currently.
“It Must Be The Weather” – Holy Ghost!: This was my go-to song in Miami and probably my favorite song of 2013, so I was definitely going to find a way to sneak it into the list. Perhaps it’s a little better for a night drive around a beach town than a day at the beach, it’s still a pretty awesome song.
“Ice Water” – Lemonade: The next two songs were meant to build the energy back up. “Ice Water” starts out kind of mellow and gradually gets bigger and bigger until it reaches a size you’d expect to hear at an EDM festival. Throughout the whole thing it has an almost Caribbean feel to it, and there’s a lot of beaches down there.
“All Of Me” – Tanlines: This song is also pretty dance-y with a Caribbean vibe to it, especially when the steel drums come in. I put it here to start the transition back to indie rock since Tanlines also uses a bit of rock in their music.
“Take It Easy” – Surfer Blood: Here is the beginning of the short return to indie rock, kicked off by another song by Surfer Blood. This song also has good examples of using complex beats to give it a tropical feel. Couple that with the surf rock-style guitar part in the chorus, and it an instant fit for the playlist.
“My Surfing Lucifer” – Crocodiles: This song probably leans more in the direction of psychedelic rock than surf rock, but it still has a hazy beach vibe to it. Plus there’s the reference to surfing, of course. Again, Crocodiles is one of my favorite bands, so I looked for any excuse to throw another song in there.
“Beach Sluts” – Howler: You wouldn’t expect this band from Minneapolis would make such good surf rock. I just had to use another one of their songs in this list, so I chose “Beach Sluts.” It’s a catchy song with some garage rock edge, but it starts off with a guitar riff that is quintessentially beach rock.
“Brand New Cadillac” – The Clash: Since I started with the Ramones, I figured I’d end with The Clash. This song doesn’t have anything really to do with the beach, but it’s played in the style of 50’s rock & roll, which shares elements of surf rock like that of early Beach Boys, especially that guitar part, so it was good enough for me. Also, I thought the refrain of “she ain’t ever coming back,” was a nice touch to end it on.
So there you have it, my Beach Rock Party playlist. If you enjoyed it, feel free to subscribe to it on Spotify so you too can play it at your future beach outings, or use any of my explanations and playlist logic to make your very own beach playlist.
That’s Deadshirt’s hand-picked beach playlist – now, you tell us what you like to hear when you’re relaxing in the sand or goofing off in the water. Comment below or hit us up on Facebook!