Published on September 21st, 2021

Beach Fossils by Kohei Kawashima

The music of Beach Fossils has the laid-back aura of a day along the coast, but it never wallows in place: There’s always some forward momentum and drive to the songs that hits like an unexpected discovery.

After a few low-profile years, the Brooklyn indie pop trio is on tour and reemerging with a new single, “L.I.N.E.,” a cover of Welsh electronica artist Kelly Lee Owens that appears on “Secretly Twenty-Five,” a compilation by Indiana-based Secretly Canadian with proceeds going to charity.

Beach Fossils’ version puts a peppy, danceable spin on the quiet, haunting original. “I’ve been friends with Kelly for over a decade,” frontman Dustin Payseur wrote on the band’s Instagram. “It’s been inspiring to see her evolution as a musician/songwriter/producer. ’L.I.N.E’ was my favorite track of 2020. The first time I heard it I stopped what I was doing and had to play it over and over. I’ve always believed that a great song lends itself to being performed in any genre, so I was excited to take on the challenge of covering it in my own style.”

The Beach Fossil style has evolved over a dozen years since Payseur first put the band together as an expansion of his solo recordings. Described by some as lo-fi dream pop, Beach Fossils were compared to indie peers such as Best Coast and Surfer Blood. But you can go further back to bands like the Zombies as a point of reference, with their mixing of catchy chords and harmonies seemingly recorded in a closet.

Yet Beach Fossil’s biggest brush with fame required them to forget about all of that. They were cast as members of the band Nasty Bits in HBO’s ‘70s-set series “Vinyl,” where they pantomimed to some bad blues rock. “Play like you’re losing your mind” is what the directors told Payseur, he said in a Pitchfork interview in 2016. It was about as far removed as possible from actual Beach Fossils music, and who knows — maybe if they’d been allowed to perform their own tunes, HBO’s prestige period rock drama would have been renewed.

Beach Fossils play The Ground Miami on October 20. ~ David Rolland