TOP 10! : GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH
In honor of tomorrow's release of Desert Center, the new album from surf-rock banshees Guantanamo Baywatch, I'm counting down my 10 favorite tracks from the group's salty, tiki lounge discography. So what exactly do they sound like? I'm not sure I could ever explain it better than this insightful YouTube comment: "Feels like I'm surfin' a horse and I like it."
Basically, If you like Shannon and the Clams, the Buttertones, or anything else 60's kitsch-adjacent—you're gonna dig 'em. Also, they're INSANE live, so click here to see when they're comin' to your town.
Be sure to check out Desert Center tomorrow on Spotify and iTunes, and read the full review I wrote for LA Record.
Let's hit the waves, Moondoggie!
10. "Pina Colada"
The perfect introduction to their thrashy, boppy style. VERY reminiscent of Shannon and the Clams. Damn I want a Pina Colada.
9. "Raunch Stomp"
The line between surf music and music that sounds like what 50's cowboy dreams are made is often blurred (see: that same incredible YouTube comment), especially with instrumentals. This has that twangin' Duane Eddy thing that almost carries it over to the spurred boots side of the line.
8. "A Boy To Love"
A pretty bangin' cover of a song originally recorded by Annette Funicello.
Frontman Jason Powell's mourning guitar and hicuupy vocals make "Diana" one of their more doo-wop, Golden Oldies kind of songs. Off their first album, it's got a low-fi rawness that makes it borderline punk. Dig it.
6. "Beat Has Changed"
This is so good, I feel like it could have been a classic back in the day. It's got that Sun Studios sound, a great guitar solo, and just makes you want to mooooove.
5. "We Came With Dottie"
As far as pure fun and fury go, you can't beat "We Came With Dottie." I would kill to see them do this live. This is like an old 45 being doused in gasoline and set on fire.
4. "Mr. Rebel"
I have had the pleasure of seeing Guantanamo Baywatch live and I distinctly remember trying to memorize every note of this so I could find it as soon as I got home. It makes me feel like I'm riding in on a wave (or a horse) to save the day--equal parts harrowing and triumphant. This is in my personal instrumental track hall of fame and I'm obsessed. Bye.
3. "Blame Myself"
One of the songs off the new album that really shows they can do more than churn out fiery, guitar instrumentals. It's a little bit grunge, a little bit Weezer, and a whole lot of self-loathing.
2. "Boy Like Me"
Your grandma will dance to this, your mom will dance to this, you will dance to this. I promise you.
The main reason this is number one is because it's the song that got me hyped on the new album. Its playfully lurid subject matter (sex tapes! homemade or otherwise!), and the one-two punch of the rubber-band bass riff from Chevelle Wiseman and Chris Scott’s galloping drums makes it an undeniable winner that's probably never going to leave your brain. Sorry.