Charlie Doesn't Surf
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Charlie Doesn't Surf

Minneapolis, MN | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Minneapolis, MN
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Shoegaze

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"Making Waves"

Founded in March of 2015, Charlie Doesn’t Surf is a shoegaze, trance rock band comprised of Joshua Williamson on vocals and guitar, Billy Herbst on drums and Adam Kimball on bass. Their first release, an extended-play titled Riviera Days, shines. For local fans of indie music looking for something that might remind them of Alaska’s own Portugal. The Man, Charlie Doesn’t Surf offers just what the doctor ordered.

1. “Lead Me Astray”
The opening track of Riviera Days is, in a word, vibrant. Beginning with the trippy sounds of a distorted guitar riff, the intro ends abruptly with a count-in by Billy Herbt’s drumsticks. An explosion of sound then surrounds the listener as the lyrics take a backseat to the prowess of the band’s musicians. Joshua Williamson’s vocals float above the melody, lulling the audience along as his clear tone rings out. The production is smooth and nearly flawless. Guiding it all is the understated hand of Adam Kimball’s bass line, a steady force between the trance-like guitar and calming drum section.

2. “French Song”
More on the indie-pop side of things than shoegaze, “French Song” gives the audience a chance to hear more of Herbst’s drumming ability. Herbst’s contribution is the star of the show, more so than the hard-hitting guitar and thumping bass line. Accompanied by Williamson experimenting with a husky, whisper-melody, it’s the kind of track that makes you want to dance. This is by far the best track on the record.

3. “One Month.”
Charlie Doesn’t Surf slows it down with “One Month,” which takes the listener into a dream-like reality with each flick of the guitar string. Production is the real source of perfection here: the way Williamson’s voice echoes perfectly with the beat of the drums and fluttering guitar chords should be applauded. There’s something inherently sweet about this track, though it’s hard to put a finger on just where the vibe comes from. Perhaps is the sensual bass line, or maybe the lazy ease of the drums. Either way, when the song finally comes to it’s close, we’re a little sad to see it go.

4. “1995”
Upon reaching 1995, it feels like Charlie Doesn’t Surf could’ve done with another mid-tempo track rather than a predictable slow-paced tune. While the track is well put together, it’s all about location, location, location. If listening to the album in order, you might find yourself tempted to skip to the next song. But as a standalone, 1995 is a great example of shoegaze done right: psychedelic guitar, soulful bass, and a steady, simple drum line. Still, “One Month” is perhaps a better example of all three with the added advantage of being more compelling to the ear.

5. “Thank You”
A track that starts with a bang, “Thank You” feels like a purging of every emotion running through Williamson’s head. The drums are unforgiving, the bass demands attention with a harmony that somehow still allows it to be heard completely separate from the guitar’s melody and yet complement it perfectly. And Williamson’s guitar skills have never been better. Vivacious and upbeat, it relays the urgency of the message. The track comes to a close like the end of an emotional outburst: the clashing sounds sizzle out with the last wandering notes of the melody.

6. “Travis”
If “French Song” is the best up-tempo track on the album, “Travis” is its lethargic counterpart. Here is a song with minimal vocal input that exists solely to give a fan of shoegaze exactly what they want: obscure vocals, nearly indistinguishable guitar and bass and distortion of the guitar that makes it ring out sweetly when Williamson lets his instrument do all the talking. The droning sound steadily rises to a climax toward the end of this six minute long track. And, as if disappearing, it closes with nothing but the rich deepness of Herbs’t bass; you’re left wondering if the rest was ever there at all.

Riviera Days is available at charliedoesntsurf.bandcamp.com for $5. Follow Charlie Doesn’t Surf on Facebook (facebook.com/doesntsurf) for upcoming shows and regular updates. - Anchorage Press


"Charlie Doesn't Surf - Riviera Days"

Shoegaze tends to carry with it a sense of distance and detachment. Look at the iconic driving scenes from Sophia Coppola's Lost In Translation with My Bloody Valentine making for the perfect soundtrack for the disconnection that comes from traveling and visiting a new culture. Shoegaze always seems to be dreamily staring out the window, no matter what's going on. It's a float-y take on life that some might find as escapist, but, to me, always suggests a poetic, artistic sensibility.

Charlie Doesn't Surf is a shoegaze band from the unlikely home of Anchorage, Alaska. There is nothing arctic about this three-piece whose music is as warm as a puddle of sunshine on the floor of a log cabin.

Time is indeed a flat circle with Riviera Days, as Charlie Doesn't Surf brings the dreamy, atmospheric sounds of shoegaze with the more pop-oriented sensibility of the alt-rock/college rock/grunge of the early '90s, most specifically Nirvana and The Pixies. Both album opener "Lead Me Astray" and "1995" sound like Nirvana floating on a cloud city. Charlie Doesn't Surf likes to party, but they're dreaming while they're doing it.

For me, this short album is the perfect blend of energy, catchiness and art. The echoing, flanged guitars float like albatross wings over choppy breakers of drums and bass, like silver sun breaking through the clouds, making the water sparkle like diamonds. For people who love shoegaze and indie rock, but have grown slightly tired of the completely clean, nearly antiseptic pop music that passes for indie these days, Charlie Doesn't Surf is the kind of band you get excited about. Tell your friends about. Grafitti in bathroom stalls.

Some of us like to party and some of us like to dream. And sometimes we do both, at the same time. Like The Cure says in "Charlotte Sometimes," "Sometimes I'm dreaming/while the other people dance." Charlie Doesn't Surf lets you do both; over and over again, as you obsessively hit replay on Riviera Days - No More Division


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Charlie Doesn't Surf is a shoe gaze band from Minneapolis, MN. Founded in Anchorage, AK in early 2015, Charlie Doesn't Surf has released one EP entitled Riviera Days and is currently working on writing and preforming new material in their new home in the twin cities. 

Band Members