The Smiles



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!

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13 Comments

Filed under Lo-Fi, Music

13 responses to “The Smiles

  1. Desgardes

    It’s okay, I guess. Nothing special, but the whole genre suffers that problem. It’s pretty nice.

  2. X2-Eliah

    Mmm. I would post feedback on the band, but I have bad headaches at the moment, so I’ll just go as far to say that the songs are seriously resonant and rich in sound saturation, which generally is a good thing, but not for someone in my predicament.

    *goes for some ice

  3. Gavin

    you callin us slackers

  4. Nice tip Mumbles :D Got good music for next to nothing!(I did give some money) And i love their sound. I was just thinking that i need upbeat songs for the warmer days now that they are here. Most of what I’ve been listening to for the past 6 months is dark and sad. Surprises that I’m not suicidal!

  5. RTBones

    See, after all my ineptness with my You Tube post yesterday, I never did get to the swing.

    After reading your post, I was reminded of a mid-90s gap commercial “khakis swing”. That, of course, lead me to You Tube again. The commercial uses the tune Jump Jive an’ Wail by Louis Prima, circa 1957. That, in turn, led me to the Brian Setzer Orchestra cover of the same tune. Which, in turn, led me to Rock This Town, originally by the Stray Cats but written by Brian Setzer and performed by BSO these days.

    Whats all this about? Most of the bands that were part of the 90s Swing Revival have all but disappeared – EXCEPT BSO, because Setzer can play. BSO took classic swing tunes and rocked them up a bit, as well as taking old hits and swingin’ them up.

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