released August 3rd, 2010
from the album - Post Acid
from all music
Named for his fear of the ocean, Wavves, the skuzzy project of San Diego slacker Nathan Williams, is a blend of distorted no-fi and refined sunshiny melodies. Charmingly messy, most of his lyrics, while difficult to decipher, generally revolve around the subjects of weed, boredom, and the beach — when he isn't poking jabs at the gloomy subculture of goth rock (a common theme, found in "Goth Girls," "California Goths," "Summer Goths," "Surf Goths," and "Beach Goths"). Wavves was conceived just after Williams, at age 21, quit his job as a clerk at Music Trader, while he was dividing his free time between skateboarding, writing for his hip-hop blog, Ghost Ramp, and making music using an '80s Tascam cassette recorder and Garage Band software. Due to his inexperience with the program, the result of one month's worth of bedroom recording sessions was two full albums of songs: all completely mangled by overdriven inputs. Rather than scrapping the material, he embraced the in-the-red aesthetic and started promoting the songs online. Wavves was quickly embraced and touted as "the next big thing" by Internet music critics and fellow bloggers.
Many praised the immediacy and D.I.Y. nature of his work, and Williams capitalized on those aspects, continuously uploading free digital versions of his music — including two 7" singles, a cassette, and an EP — all with simple self-drawn artwork or scanned photos for cover art. Wavves' first LP, simply titled Wavves became available around this time as well, and it was released in a limited run by Woodsist. The more confusingly titled Wavvves (note the third "V") followed just after, and was planned for release by De Stijl, before Williams jumped ship to Fat Possum. After the track list was revamped, the release date was pushed back a month and Wavvves was officially made available on March 17, 2009. After receiving mostly glowing reviews in April, Wavves got his share of bad press in late May. While performing live at the Primavera Sound Festival, assisted by drummer Ryan Ulsh, Williams had a minor meltdown and walked offstage. Williams later issued an apology, chalking up the incident to poor decision-making and a drug concoction of ecstasy, Valium, and Xanax.
Snotty and self-loathing as ever, even after catching a huge updraft of success, Wavves’ 2010 outing finds indie rock’s Edward Furlong, aka Nathan Williams, in an actual hi-fi studio. Teamed with Counting Crow/Modest Mouse producer Dennis Herring, who approached Williams after a show, King of the Beach finds the overnight blog sensation in a cleaned-up setting. With more recording toys at his disposal, he takes more risks, showing a new dimension to his stoned mind as he breaks away from muddy skate punk and tries his hand at some dense psychedelia. The sunny “Take on the World” takes a Beulah approach, and “Baseball Cards” finds Williams experimenting with chillwave, complete with weird Ween Quebec-era synths. Of course, Williams is at his best when he’s rocking to the beat of his punk heroes the Descendents or Adolescents, and with Jay Reatard’s former bandmates Billy Hayes and Stephen Pope by his side, “Super Soaker,” “Idiot,” and “Post Acid” are among Wavves’ thrashin’ best. In this glossy well-mixed setting, the songs are more penetrable than the ones on the 2009 homemade outings Wavves and Wavvves. “I’m so Bored,” despite being fantastic, was leveled out by so much tape distortion that it took a dedicated ear to cut through the muck and find the melody. King of the Beach is less abrasive, but it’s still a wildly messy pastiche. Wavves sometimes gets carried away —“Neon Balloon” and its sea of synth gurgles and helium vocals is near silly — but when Williams finds his stride and carves the tube of punky psych sonics, the results are totally awesome.
1 King of the Beach Williams 2:38
2 Super Soaker Williams 2:28
3 Idiot Williams 2:52
4 When Will You Come Williams 2:35
5 Post Acid Herring, Williams 2:10
6 Take on the World Williams 2:41
7 Baseball Cards Williams 3:04
8 Convertible Balloon Hayes, Williams 2:24
9 Green Eyes Williams 3:49
10 Mickey Mouse Williams 3:51
11 Linus Spacehead Pope 3:11
12 Baby Say Goodbye Hayes, Herring, Williams 5:10