King Of The Beach 10th Anniversary Ed., 180G Purple Kush Vinyl LP + Bonus 7"
As proclamations of supremacy go, it’s not quite Jesus walking into the temple and declaring himself the messiah, but for an indie rocker in the summer of 2010, anointing yourself king of the beach was an act of extreme confidence. Lo-fi guitar bands like Beach Fossils, Best Coast, and Real Estate had helped to steer the zeitgeist into the surf. The previous year’s chillwave movement was still going strong. Within indie’s more NPR-friendly chambers, the Beach Boys had emerged as a dominant influence for the likes of Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective, and even some groups without creature-inspired names. So when Nathan Williams metaphorically strode out onto the sand and planted his flag, it was a loaded gesture, especially coming from a guy who’d spent much of his brief stint in the spotlight as a pariah and a laughingstock.
Wavves, Williams’ one-man recording project turned rock band, emerged out of San Diego in 2008 and by early 2009 had become one of the most polarizing forces in underground music. Some rejected Wavves’ music as poorly recorded, simplistic, and overly repetitive (titles on sophomore album Wavvves included “Beach Demon,” “Beach Goth,” “Surf Goth,” “Summer Goth,” “California Goths,” “Sun Opens My Eyes,” and “Gun In The Sun”). Fellow druggy lo-fi rockers Psychedelic Horseshit made “WAVVES SUXX” T-shirts and dismissedWilliams as a fraud presenting a generic take on a trendy sound. Our own report from SXSW 2009 identified the band as a “divisive” presence who everyone at the fest had strong opinions about. Yet Wavves had earned the support of influential record labels like Woodsist and De Stijl, and in the weeks leading up to SXSW, Wavvves elicited raves, including Best New Music honors from Pitchfork and a grade-A review from The A.V. Club. -StereoGum