By Ellie Wilkinson
I’m already shivering in my Uggs, and it’s not even officially winter yet. With five weeks to go until I fly home to California for Thanksgiving (but who’s counting?), I’ve been listening to beachy folk songs reminiscent of hot sandy beaches, palm trees and In-N-Out burgers. Here’s some SoCal spirit to brighten up your cold Syracuse day.
Little Joy – “The Next Time Around”
Two of the members of this Los Angeles-based band—The Strokes’ drummer Fabrizio Moretti and Los Hermanos’ singer and guitarist Rodrigo Amarante—met at a music festival in Portugal and became fast friends. The band pays homage to Portugal with a few lines in Portuguese at the end of “The Next Time Around,” adding a slight twist to this sunny song’s retro, 1950s vibe, created in part by the band’s breezy, sweet harmonies.
The Drowning Men – “Smile”
“I’m just getting by / I’ve been here for a while,” sings Nato Bardeen, the lead singer, reminding us to keep moving forward because this too, shall pass. “I’m drifting / I’m moving / I just want to smile.” Hopefully the song’s catchy riffs and ethereal, atmospheric vibe will give you a little reason to smile.
Real Estate – “Beach Comber”
While the Real Estate quartet hails from New Jersey, the bouncy rhythm and twangy guitar riffs make “Beach Comber” sound like a laid-back anthem for SoCal surfer dudes. Just replace “Pensacola” with “Newport Beach” and it’s the perfect tune to pretend you’re taking a stroll down Balboa Pier.
Beirut – “Postcards From Italy”
“Postcards From Italy” sounds less SoCal, more Sarajevo, but I can’t help but imagine white sand and balmy sea breezes whenever I listen to it. The swingy ukele and bright brass give it a warm tone that adds a little bounce to my step, even on gray, rainy days.
Kings of Convenience – “Boat Behind”
The Norwegian duo’s relaxed, easy strumming and breathy vocals evoke slack-key guitar style while adding a twist: violin strings, which punctuate the chorus and add more pep to the song’s swingy beat. It’s a playful tribute to an old friend or lover, who they describe as a “wind surfer crossing the ocean/ on the boat behind.”
Beach Fossils – “Vacation”
I’ve already decided that this will be the song on my iPod when I’m on my way to the airport: “I’m getting on that bus/ Got to get out of town/ It’s all that’s on my mind/ Leave the city behind.” The song’s dreamy, drowsy vibe gives it an understated feel that’s at odds with a lot of upbeat beachy tunes, but the harmonized vocals at the end seem almost like a subtle nod to the Beach Boys’ iconic crooning.