Today I am excited to offer the second entry into EMPT’s “Les Auteurs” playlist series, in which our writers share playlists built around a theme of their choosing. The design of the EMPT is not condusive to author recognition, and we devised this series as a way for our loyal (unpaid) writers to put a name to the voices you know and love.
In the first “Les Auteurs” entry, Ashley H. (yes, there are multiple Ashleys!) shared an Indie Shuffle playlist built around the broad theme of love, and constructed to lead listeners through the phases of a romantic relationship. This week will be, well, different.
See, I have a love affair going on in my life. It’s been going on for a while now, and after a few years on and off, I’m glad were finally able to be together again. Whenever I find a spare moment, I’m running in my love’s direction, eager to bury myself in the wetness that awaits.
I admit it: I’m head over heels in love with the beach.
My youth was spent in a coastal community in West Los Angeles abutting Venice, considered the home of modern American skate and surf culture. The beach was a regular presence. My friends and I would bike or skate the few miles to the sand and post all day, surfing, flirting and growing up. Though I was undoubtebly the “Squid” of the group (I never could get the hang of that balance thing…), I found that the beach, and coastal settings in general, became the preferred haven for my soul. I’m a nature guy, an ecologist and climate scientist by training, and am absolute Wild (in the Thoreau-ian sense) addict. Nothing is more wild on this planet than the ocean, and I embrace the mysterious deep as my church. We could dive deep into naturalistic mysticism, but that’s for another day.
My “Les Auteurs” entry is entitled “BYOBeach,” and it’s sculpted to bring the ‘tude and feeling of a summer beach day to your earholes, wherever you may be physically located. Beach culture exists across the world in different forms, and I’m not trying to provide a comprehensive survey. “BOYBeach” mixes the haze and liberation of Australian psychedelic rock, the rebellious voice of long-haired teenagers at war with everyone, the prophetic calls of reggae forebears, and the ebullient promise of a life spent in the salt and sun.
Some of the tracks are retro classics. No beach playlist would be complete without The Beach Boys (“Catch A Wave”), Bob Marley and the Wailers (an incomparably great early recording of “Lively Up Yourself”) and Toots and the Maytals (“Sweet & Dandy” off the album that brought reggae music out of the Caribbean, “The Harder They Come (OST)”).
Others are brand new and laregely unknown. Howler (“Beach Sluts”), the brainchild of singer/songwriter Jordan Gatesmith is pure beach punk out of distinctly not-beachy Minneapolis. Elliphant (“Music Is Life”) aka Ellinor Olovsdotter, is another rising Swedish pop sensation who pays tribute to dancehall and reggae in her own unique fashion (look for her at the Mad Decent Block Party concert series this summer). And, because I’m obsessed withKevin Parker (of Tame Impala fame), I included tracks from two of this other projects: Melody’s Echo Chamber, where he serves as the producer for the brilliant French singer Melody Prochet, and Pond, where he plays drums.
Rounding out the playlist, we have tracks by The Babies, Superhumanoids (with whom I conducted an EMPT exclusive interview a few months back), Liam Lynch, Pete Rodriguez (you don’t know him, but you know the song), and reggae toaster Anthony B.
I selected “Danca Ma Mi Criola” by Tito Paris, out of Cape Verde. This song was on a random compilation album of music from island communities across the world I listened to as a child. It truly encapsulates what The Beach, for me, is all about: peace, relaxation and mutual communion through a shared love of the miracle of life.
Please listen to the playlist in it’s established order, as if an LP. It is structured to lead you through a full day at the beach, leading off hot and heavy, and letting you down gently as the final grains of sand fall from your towel.