Noisy, stoned, bored Nathan Williams’ 3rd record as Wavves, King of the Beach, is a veritable family sing-a-long of garage bedroom rockers compared to his previous two releases. Where Wavves and Wavvves were exercises in amp-distorting, face-melting sonics, King of the Beach not only benefits from a more deft touch in production, it also boasts more dynamic arrangements. At certain moments (“Super Soaker’s” STUPID! refrain), King of the Beach edges a wee too close to Green Day, but for the most part this is still the soundtrack of a disaffected and self-deprecating young man who can still bust out a pretty charming Brian Wilson hook.
And, hey, he avoided what would have been the insufferably-titled Wavvvves.
One of my favorite albums so far this year, At Echo Lake, is a devastating leap forward for Woods. Eccentric and feminine where the Dutchess and the Duke are ill-tempered and unshaven, Woods brings several complimentary pieces to the whole. Southern gothic tones, some freedom-rocking David Crosby, and doses of 60’s Syd Barrett psychedelia, all bound together with a way-cool AM lo-fidelity better hummed than sung. At Echo Lake is sure to end up on my Top 10 list this year, and I can only hope the band strays far enough west to see live.