Keep clicking through to hear the whole album. If you like it, go buy at your own price.
Here’s a list of bands that were invited/expected at SXWS this week. There’s a couple going that aren’t on the site (like The Smiles!), but if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll recognize some friendly faces on there. And, I hope that if you do get to go, you’ll see some of the bands mentioned and tell me how it went. I love stories and pictures!
If you’re a poor slacker like me, here’s a huge archive of music from bands who should be there. The festival has really blown up in popularity over the past few years, so there’s plenty of places to look for videos, music and junk on the internet.
Anyhow, one band that I absolutely love that’s performing tonight and Friday in Austin are The Smiles! They’re a cute, surf lo-fi band that just melt my heart into gooey little pieces. They have really catchy guitar work and musically capture the feel that modern surf rock seems to have. Their songs are sometimes danceable and great for listening to on an upcoming sunny, spring day.
The vocalists are really what makes this band special. There’s this great variation that brings a lot to each song without it feeling too crowded or overdone. They’re quirky and very West Coast in a simple sort of way. I appreciate it because there’s a lot of bands out there that really lay the quirk on thick and instead these guys keep it sounding natural.
Lyrics are simple, but seem to always have a story to tell. A problem I have with bands like Best Coast is that the actual song writing is simply flat. “Boyfriend” is a good song, but there’s not a lot of imagination behind repeating over and over how you want some dude to be your boyfriend. With a potentially gimmicky genre, surf rock bands could just rely heavily on their music and easily ignore making the words interesting.
The Smiles on the other hand paint dusty pictures of amber afternoons scrapping by in some beach-side community. There’s a troublemaker aspect to their lyrics that hint to a lower-class way of enjoying life. And, really, if you look at early surf culture in the mid 20th century, that’s what it was all about. A bunch of young guys who dropped everything and went to live on the beach. They didn’t have any money and would do odd jobs for peanut butter sandwiches. If they fell in love, it was with some girl with parents who would kill her if they knew. Stories like that are what make the fantasy of being a surfer special.
Right now their EP is totally free. So, I suggest picking it up and maybe throwing them a couple bucks for some grub in Texas. If you’re out there, see them tonight or Friday!