Even though August showed up faster than product placement on Bravo, summer's not over yet, and you can get your sun on with this sampling of bands bringing back garage and surf rock to a town near you....
Best Coast is Bethan Cosentino and Bobb Bruno from California (perhaps you've seen or heard her in this Converse ad with Kid Cudi), and their indie album Crazy For You has already seen "Boyfriend" enter popular charts. Some might consider Cosentino's lyrics simplistic (topics include being in love, waiting by the phone, smoking weed, among other--no wait, that's about it), but I like the way they sum up those very basic feelings of passionate crushing that aren't too complex but are very strong, and it's a must listen for anyone who's pining in vain (or who loves catchy tunes).
Recommended Tracks: When the Sun Don't Shine, I Want To
Shannon and the Clams
A simple three piece, Shannon and the Clams mix playful punk with the sixties (and they're buds with Hunx and his Punx!). Their sound drips with surf, with a bit of soul and tinge of rawness. Vocalist Shannon Shaw lets loose with an Etta James wail in "Troublemaker" and guitarist Cody Blanchard croons along.
Recommended Tracks: You Can Come Over, Troublemaker
It may sound surprising that this five-piece pop bossa nova group hails from a most un-tropical location, the Twin Cities, but with their careless chords and a vocalist Karen Freire knowing her Astrud Gilberto, they're an easy-breezy way to pretend autumn's not around the corner. No full-length out yet, you'll have to satiate your samba needs by streaming their LPs on their MySpace page or seeing them live with Chelsea Boys this coming month.
Recommended Tracks: Jamba Samba, Iowa's Got a New Strip Club
If you're looking for more riot grrl than surfer girl, look no further than San Francisco's Grass Widow. Although their subtle surfer guitar and vocal harmonies conjure the sixties, there's a distinctive modern edge that reminds you of the Raincoats. Look for their album Past Time out later this month on killrockstars (Hey! Shannon and the Clams are playing at their release party, how bout that!)
Recommended Tracks: Lulu's Lips, Shadow