"Beach" Music

When I think of beach music, the sounds of Dick Dale or the Ventures quickly fill my head. This post, however, results from a mental tangent of trying to conjure up an image of a day at the beach using band names found in my record collection.

Here's what I came up with:

  • Beach House - So this one was a gimme since "beach" is in the name. The music itself is pretty far from sunny. It's more representative of a Pacific Northwest shoreline in the gloomy, wet winter months. Hazy at times but still ruggedly grand.
  • Best Coast - These guys are a bit closer to the traditional idea of beach music. Catchy garage pop with short songs of young love and wasting time.
  • Wavves - Merging blistering guitars, pop sounds, and even some electronic dabblings, Wavves tends to be a bit polarizing.
  • Surfer Blood - If I were going to have a beach party, I'd want Surfer Blood on the bill. Hailing from West Palm Beach, they have some real beach cred with the guitar licks to prove it as the spirit of Dick Dale seems to infuse many of their songs.
  • The Ruby Suns - Incorporating a ton of different sounds, this New Zealand band is hard to classify. At times, they can play free-spirited folk songs then be playing something experimental in the vein of Animal Collective on the next track.
  • Sea Wolf - Besides having "sea" in the band name, Sea Wolf's hushed music fills the clichèd evening beach scene where everyone has congregated around a bonfire, wrapped in blankets, and some guy begins to strum an acoustic guitar. A little too sentimental at times? Probably, but hard to resist.

While we have albums of all these bands in our collection, feel free to check out this Spotify playlist for a few tracks from each. Spotify is a legal online streaming music service recently launched in the U.S. You need an account to access the playlist. If you don't have one already, request an invitation for a free account here.

Any other band names that would complete this picture? Flock of Seagulls maybe?

Written by Bobby on August 30, 2011


christian on September 8, 2011


Love this article I love surf music and am always thrilled to find something close to genre...thanks for posting this! Made my day.


Thanks for the great post. Checking out your playlist now. Been on Spotify for about a month and so far, so good.

TW on October 30, 2011


Actually, "Beach" music is something quite different from Surf. Beach music is a regional genre that was popular in the Carolinas in the 50's and 60's with its roots in R&B and Soul.

The quintessential Beach Music song is "Sixty Minute Man" by Billy Ward and the Dominoes.

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