Song of the Day: Wavves – King of the Beach

photo by Christopher Nelson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is the title track by Wavves from the 2010 album King of the Beach on Fat Possum.

Wavves – King of the Beach (MP3)

Wavves(pronounced /weɪvz/), is the noise-pop project of San Diego native Nathan Williams. Wavves first made a splash onto the indie-rock scene about two years ago following the release of his debut self-titled album (on Woodsist) to which everyone’s favorite music monolith Pitchfork Media attached a highly favorable 8.1 rating. Sporadically recorded on a laptop under his parents’ roof, the first offering from Wavves is a murky, self-loathing collection of punk rock. Running with the kind of deafening buzz such a review can create, Williams fell victim to the trappings of an immediately successful sound. Today’s song of the day is the title track from the new Wavves record, King of the Beach, released last Tuesday on Fat Possum Records. Speaking of his new record in relation to his previous two, Williams had this to say:

There was a conscious effort going into this [ King of the Beach] that I didn’t want to make the same record again. I already made the same record twice, with the same fucking cover art. It wasn’t overbearing, but I didn’t want to recreate something I’d done. I wanted to make something bigger, something stronger.

One listen to “King of the Beach” solidifies the notion that Wavves is headed in a new and promising direction. For fans of sixties breakdowns and melodies, the feeling is beautifully apparent here. Screw it. I’m smiling, tapping my toes and singing along… And whether or not the lyrical positivity is meant with a grain of irony sort of seems irrelevant.

While Wavves’ themes and structures are largely unchanged, the music as a craft feels leaps and bound more mature. Produced in an actual studio by Dennis Herring (of recent Modest Mouse notoriety) King of the Beach exudes a previously unseen clarity — strip away the mud and hey, it’s the work of a skilled musician with a plan. Totally ripping style, holmes.

The band just performed a few days in Chicago for Lollapalooza and hit the road this week for their North American tour. They’ll be at Neumo’s on August 25. For more dates, check their website and MySpace page. For now, here’s video for “No Hope Kids” off their album previous, self-titled album:

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