As I stared at my records, I was late to work.
It would’ve been no problem. I had awoken with an old Sebadoh song bouncing around in my skull, making the choice for today’s music easy; besides, “Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock” is a great EL train album. Jarring distortion, Eric Gaffney’s yelping, and Lou Barlow moaning – what else can you ask for to annoy the people around you on the 10:25 express?
But it’s the first day of Spring. And it’s sunny. This changed everything.
So I gazed at the records lined up on the shelf, trying to get my cabin fevered, winterized mind to access the good-time Spring music database. Loading….loading….loading….please wait.
But as the gears moved, and the streaming sun began to burn off Winter’s brain freeze, I quickly began to grab the sounds of Spring. Buck Owens and his easy-drinkin’ Bakersfield sound went in the bag. The sly Philly groove of G Love & Special Sauce is like the hot sun on a car seat. And Tahiti 80’s gauzy, Brian Wilson toe-tappers are probably going to rule my CD changer from now ’til the White Sox win the pennant.
Hailing from France, Tahiti 80 sounds more like Wilson if he and The Zombies collaborated with The Dust Brothers in a 21st century studio environment. The charmingly froggy falsetto of Tahiti’s Xavier Boyer can be a real ringer for Colin Blunstone, while the band’s clear-eyed pop nails those notes and riffs that make you think of short skirts and smiling. “Puzzle” (Minty Fresh) has the intangibles that make up a championship record: flourishes of trumpet, organ, and modern-day electronics, with solid, straightforward songwriting that doesn’t mess around with greasy kid stuff. That’s the great thing about Tahiti 80’s music: it isn’t all sugarplums and pixie sticks (i.e. the galactic easy listening of countrymen Air). Songs like “I.S.A.A.C” or “Heartbeat” wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to this summer’s first romantic comedy. But at the same time, they have enough balls to be included on that CD for the road trip with the fellas.
So it’s officially Spring, and it’s sunny. But I’m not naïve. You won’t catch me watering my lawn just yet, because I know Old Man Winter hasn’t exactly packed up the tent and moved on. But in the meantime, Tahiti 80, G Love, and Buck go great with a few High Lifes on the porch.
Won’t be long ’til Summer comes.