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30 Lo-fi, Psychedelic, Rockabilly, Surfer Rock Tunes for Your Next Beach Party

For the retro fetishist in us all

“Surf rock” used to be considered somewhat of a pejorative—a derisive term meant to distinguish the sub-genre from more serious forms of rock ’n roll. Remember in That Thing You Do!, the Tom Hanks film about the rise and fall of fictional ’60s foursome The Wonders? And remember how pissed Jimmy, the band’s pretentious frontman, gets when The Wonders are forced to play as Cap’n Geech and The Shrimp Shack Shooters in a spoof “Frankie and Annette” film? The gig is an affront to Jimmy’s artistic prowess.

But beach rock and other seemingly outmoded rock genres are in the midst of resurgence as several young bands have put a lo-fi, indie rock spin on the sound. The de facto leader of this scene is 30-year-old singer-songwriter Nick Waterhouse, whose guitar sound and aesthetic is reminiscent of Buddy Holly. His contemporaries include Allah-Lahs (whom Waterhouse has produced) and fellow SoCal rockers The Growlers. Other bands—such as The Black Angels, Black Lips and Ty Segall—have infused old school rockabilly with psychedelia and metal, turning the traditionally upbeat sound into something raw and foreboding.

Those artists—and many others, both old and new—are included here. So if you dress like a Warby Parker model, collect vinyl and are into all things retro—or if you just want to feel like you’re in a Tarantino film—here are some rock tunes inspired by (and from) the ’50s and ’60s.

— John McDermott

Allah-Lahs — “Don’t You Forget It”
The Almighty Defenders — “All My Loving”
Bass Drum of Death — “Such A Bore”
Best Coast — “Feeling Ok”
The Black Angels — “Haunting at 1300 McKinley”
Black Lips — “Noc-A-Homa”
Butthole Surfers — “Pepper”
Buzzcocks — “Why Can’t I Touch It?”
The Clash — “Charlie don’t Surf”
Dick Dale — “Miserlou”
FIDLAR — “No Waves”
Foxygen — “San Francisco”
Froth — “Lost My Mind”
The Growlers — “Black Memories”
J.D. McPherson — “Head Over Heels”
JR JR — “Morning Thought”
The King Khan & BBQ Show — “I’ll Be Loving You”
King Khan and the Shrines — “No Regrets”
King Tuff — “Rainbow’s Run”
The Kinks — “Creeping Jean”
La Luz — “Call Me in the Day”
Larry & The Blue Notes — “Night of the Phantom”
Nick Waterhouse — “Say I Wanna Know”
Raphael Saadiq — “100 Yard Dash”
Sleater-Kinney — “Good Things”
The Soup Greens — “Like A Rolling Stone”
Surfer Blood — “Swim”
Tame Impala — “Lucidity”
Ty Segall — “Girlfriend”
Wavves — “King of the Beach”