For fans of: Wavves, Real Estate, Bored Nothing, pina coladas, hanging ten and catching a cool wave
Please do not take this the wrong way, but there is something existentially boring about Summerays’ music, what the French call ennui, that reminds me of Real Estate’s cold, gritty first album. Gritty in the way cold beach sand is when you walk along it during low tide in February because you can’t be in your house any longer. And the days are getting longer though paradoxically colder; that gross, pale brown foam clings to the frozen chunks of sea water; the sky is only slightly less grey than the car-soiled snow. Christmas was so sparkling white, what happens in the span of 40 days to turn everything the color of pool hall cigarette ash?
Summerays, however, is not boring. Summerays makes me want to host a beach themed Valentine’s party. Summerays makes me want to face a joint and take the P-Town ferry for New Year’s. Summerays makes me want to take a walk to get weed when it’s not so much raining as the air is just WET and it’s freezing and it’s so dark all day that the streetlights never turn off and then you get home and you change into flannel everything and have a cup of Constant Comment and smoke a bowl and it’s the most comfortable and content you’ve ever been in the history of ever EVER.
Summerays is the brainchild of like, a child. To me anyway. Luke Teeters was 22 in 2012 when he created the Daydream EP all by his lonesome, presumably in his parents’ suburban Cleveland garage. While I’m a Massachusetts chauvinist in basically every facet of my personality, I’ve seen Lake Erie up close, and yeah, it looks like the ocean, so props, Cleveland. All the Great Lakes look like oceans, so I’m willing to permit surf rock from the Midwest, but only the coastal parts. I’m still blown away by how this young guy has appropriated all the best parts of modern surf pop and churned them into these two EPs and a full-length.
Those twangy, reverbing Telecaster guitar licks are catnip to just about everyone who grew up in a beach town. Why should it sound so familiar, so much like home and good times, when remarkably few of us spent our high school years hanging ten and scoring bikini babes? That merseybeat, so fun and ebullient, making dance music out of anything in a major key. If the modern middle class coastal kid is anything like me, their memories of the beach are the hairy swarthy Buttafucco’s and the smell at low tide. How do these bands completely wash over my own memory? How should this kid be able to do it with nigh 8 years less life experience than I?
The popularity of contemporary “beach rock” is probably my favorite aspect of 21st Century indie/alt. I use air quotes because if there is any tanning, surfing, or general cajoling in any of these bands’ songs, it is being done by other people in spite of the time of year. Contemporary beach rock is the soundtrack to an ambition-less college student back in his native coastal suburb during winter break. It is surf pop for people who avoid the beach out of body shame. The beach is in the background, a faint hush in the distance, never seen behind the dirty brick buildings of abandoned storefronts. Just like home, actually.