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Game Over

music BeachFossilsBeach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur sets down his controller and  faces the music

Escaping from reality, via plunging into virtual, alternate worlds, appears to be all the rage for musicians these days, especially when you consider the viral rise to fame of Lana Del Rey’s hit “Video Games” and Dustin Payseur’s preferred pastime.

During a trivial Thursday, the frontman for Brooklyn-based indie dream pop quartet Beach Fossils clicks away the afternoon with good friend, collaborator, and Captured Tracks label-mate, Jack Tatum, of Wild Nothing.
“We’re playing a game called Snowboard Kids on Nintendo 64,” says Payseur, a 26-year-old North Carolina native. “It’s super nerdy. It’s like Mario Kart, but on a snowboard. The graphics are awful,” he concludes, unable to hold back his laughter. The lighthearted moment takes a more serious turn as Payseur adds, “I’m wasting my time when I should be working on my record.”

The record he is referring to—“nearing its completion,” he confirms—is Beach Fossils’ highly anticipated sophomore LP, due for release this year, though the date hasn’t been publically announced. Asked how the upcoming album compares to Beach Fossils’ longer releases—a self-titled LP (2010) and an eight-track EP, entitled What a Pleasure, released in March 2011—Payseur says, “It’s a little bit more of a challenge.”

He elaborates, “I’m trying not to make something too similar to what I’ve made before or too far from the original idea of the sound … something fresh, something new.”

Payseur has earned a reputation for expert execution of gentle and reflective reverbed vocals combined with wild, jangly guitar, and playful, reliable bass and drums. Unlike many of Beach Fossils’ contemporaries that are largely synth-based, the band’s sound is chiefly guitar-driven, producing the same dreamy, faraway feel as its electronic counterparts, while dishing out the rawest (yet most savory) of guitar riffs.

Taking into account the swift, yet enduring success of Beach Fossils, which formed in 2009, it is no wonder why Payseur sees this next album as a challenge, or what he refers to as “a balance of your creativity and what you want to do versus what you feel like maybe you should be putting out.” He immediately adds, “Not to say I ever compromise—I would never put out something that I wasn’t proud of.”

He and his Brooklyn bandmates—John Peña (bass), Tom Gardner (drums), and Zachary Cole Smith (guitar)—leave little up to the imagination, but a whole lot to look forward to, in terms of what to expect from their show at The Catalyst Atrium on Wednesday, May 16. To get an accurate sense of what the band is like on and off the stage, check out two music videos directed by Ian Perlman: “Shallow” (the persistently dancy single, released on Valentine’s Day this year) and “Twelve Roses” (the more quirky, surf pop track off Beach Fossils’ self-titled debut).

The first video is a combination of Payseur’s candid footage of the band’s most intimate and goofiest moments on tour—band members are depicted flossing teeth, somersaulting on rugs, walking behind a ferret on a purple leash, and reflected in a hotel mirror in which they themselves presumably wrote “Bitch Fossils!”—plus Perlman’s footage of the band performing live. The exuberant Payseur is last seen glowing under stage lights while crowd-surfing a packed venue.
In the black and white video for “Twelve Roses,” Payseur jumps into the rowdy crowd at 285 Kent Ave in Brooklyn, N.Y., and ends the performance—and not to mention steals fans’ hearts forever—by declaring, “We’re Beach Fossils. We love you so much.”

One thing is clear, after watching these videos, standing still is not an option at a Beach Fossils show. “We move around a lot on stage, so we encourage the audience to move around as well,” says Payseur. “Growing up, I played in punk bands … it’s customary [to dance], like how in some cultures you’re supposed to burp after a meal to show that you liked it—I feel the same way when people are moving around instead of standing.”

Beach Fossils plays at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. For more  information, call 423-1338.

Comments (1)Add Comment
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written by Dphantom, May 09, 2012
Rad article! She convinced me, I'm for sure going to see them now! ;)

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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