Cayucas - Cayucos
After discovering the surf rock group Oregon Bike Trails in 2011 and falling in love with their joyous song Cayucas, (I even declared it song of the year) I have been fixated on finding more music than the four tracks they had available in obscure places on the internet. So when I revived my hunt this week I was still scouring hopelessly for new material and not getting far. Their Bandcamp page had been taken down and all traces of the band seemed to have vanished since 2011.
I did realise that after listening to Oregon Bike Trails on Youtube, several of the recommended songs were from a band called Cayucas. You’ll never guess what happened next… (just kidding) it turns out that the band sneakily reformed as Cayucas, signed a record deal, rerecorded all their old material and released it along with some new songs on April 30th this year. Bigfoot is the name of the record and it sounds like beach music, with a nod to The Beach Boys and 60s Californian surf music. It is extremely good.
Recommended for fans of The Sea of Cortez, Opus Orange and Real Estate.
Ain't No Sunshine [Feat. Joe Gil]
Opus Orange are an indie-surf-pop band based out of California. Fronted by music producer Paul Bessenbacher, the group make unmistakably catchy music that resonates with you after just a single listen. Their latest single is a contemporary rendition of Bill Withers' Ain’t No Sunshine that showcases Paul’s knack as a producer. The sustained keys and haunting backing vocals create a cloudy atmosphere while Joe Gil's smooth vocals sprawl the cool bluesy mood that is also present in the original. Paul had a chat to us about his musical projects and shed some light on Ain’t No Sunshine.
Q1. Could you explain how the band came to be called Opus Orange?
PB: Frederic Chopin's “fantasie impromptu”, Opus 66
Q2. Does living in California contribute to the beachy sound in much of your music or is it coincidence?
PB: Living in California must somehow contribute to the beachy sound, but yes, it is a coincidence. Since picking up a ukulele for backpacking in the woods (due to it’s light weight and small size), it became quickly apparent just how inherently “beachy” sounding it is, wherever it might be played (like at the top of mount whitney, miles away from any beach). Though the ukulele initially helped color the sonic palate for the early songs, its energy is still evident in its absence (like in Crystal Clear or That Is To Say).
Q3. Ain’t No Sunshine is a classic. Could you tell us about what it means to you?
PB: While we’re on the subject of California, it seems the sun is almost always shining here. This song captures the fact that it can still be clouded by someone’s absence. The lyrics help this resonate in their simplicity. when covering such a gem like Bill Withers’ classic, it’s essential to look at it from a different perspective than the original, while still giving it the reverence it deserves. Joe Gil's voice is a great fit for this song, and we wanted the track to let it shine through.
Q4. Any plans to release a full length LP in the future?
PB: While a full-length LP would be an incredibly fun project, we’ve been excited about producing music in smaller singles and EP’s. Often longer projects can get bogged down with overthought (not really a word, but it should be) and overproduction. So to always keep creating and pushing our sound while still releasing cohesive projects, we have found it creatively liberating to keep the projects smaller. Our next four song EP (currently being mixed) is completely tracked to 2-inch analog tape. It will hopefully be released within the next few months. Also with producing other artists, like Joe Gil, Emy Reynolds, and Eleni Mandell, it’s really great to have a sort of tunnel vision to make a single song the best that it can be with that particular artist. That being said, we definitely hope to someday have the time to do a full-legnth release.
Q5. Who are 5 artists you’re listening to at the moment?
Thanks to Paul for the interview. You can listen to and buy music from Opus Orange via their Bandcamp website. Ain’t No Sunshine will be made available there in the very near future.
Electric Guest - Waves
Here is a nice laidback tune you can throw on. It has a fast beat and bouncy bass with pop sensibilities. I’m hearing a lot of similarities to Foster The People and Opus Orange who are also based in California too. Maybe their location can explain the theme of the beach in the song as well?
The lyrics vary from jibberish to a love story with a craftily hidden f* bomb snuck in somewhere between. You may have already heard of the group from their single This Head I Hold which has been receiving some airplay recently. Listen, relax, enjoy and download!
Download - Waves (control-click & save file)
Opus Orange - That Is To Say (feat Laura Hillman)
Following on from other successful collaborations, Laura Hillman & Opus Orange have released That Is To Say as a free download to fans who ‘like’ their Facebook page.
The track features a few more electronic production elements than usual but the catchy hook and the nod to surfing culture still shines through. To get a download of this follow the link below and after ‘liking’ their page you will be given the option to download the tack in just about any format you desire.
Download - That Is To Say
Opus Orange - Nothing But Time
Opus Orange is the project of Paul Bessenbacher from Santa Monica, California. Before meeting the other 2 members of the band, Paul worked producing music for other artists. As far as I know the group has been releasing music since around 2009.
They boast on their Lastfm page that their music has recently been featured on many TV commercials, including one for iPhone. I managed to find their music being used on a rather amusing johnsonville sausage commerical. The band are still relatively unknown so they haven’t done many press shots. Instead the photo below was ripped from Tom Raven’s flickr page.
Enjoy the song as those of us living in the southern hemisphere can start looking forwards to beach and surfing times ahead!