Beach Fossils Reworked Their Songs As Jazz Piano Ballads For New Album The Other Side Of Life
Beach Fossils’ sound evolved quite a bit over the course of the 2010s, from a dreamy ragtag lo-fi to a more mature, immaculately sighing form of guitar-pop. None of that prepared us for the band’s radical transformation on the forthcoming The Other Side Of Life: Piano Ballads. As the title implies, the album finds Dustin Payseur reimagining tracks from across Beach Fossils’ catalog as jazz piano ballads seasoned with saxophone, upright bass, and brushed drums. Judging by lead single “This Year,” which originally appeared on 2017’s Somersault, it works pretty well!
Payseur worked on the jazz arrangements with Tommy Gardner, a Julliard graduate who played in Beach Fossils from 2011-2016 before moving to China. Gardner played piano, sax, and bass on The Other Side Of Life, while Henry Kwapis handled the drums, with all of the recording done remotely. “As for my vocals, I’m not a jazz singer and I had no intention of altering my style for this record,” Payseur explains in a press release. “The idea was for my vocals to be the common thread between the original versions and these new versions.”
I was astounded by the amount of musical talent that he possessed. On tour, whenever we were in a green room with a piano, Gardner would sit down and start improvising Beach Fossils songs in a jazzy style. He would be playing the melodies for the guitars, bass and vocals all together. It’s not like he rehearsed it, it would be the first time he’d ever attempted to play these songs, and it was always beautiful. For years I had the idea of turning these piano versions of Beach Fossils songs into an album, and in 2020 when touring came to a sudden halt due to Covid, I reached out to Gardner and asked if he wanted to finally make this album.
Mix yourself a martini, light up the fireplace, and check out “This Year (Piano)” below.
01 “This Year (Piano)”
02 “May 1st (Piano)”
03 “Sleep Apnea (Piano)”
04 “What A Pleasure (Piano)”
05 “Adversity (Piano)”
06 “Down The Line (Piano)”
07 “Youth (Piano)”
08 “That’s All For Now (Piano)”
The Other Side Of Life: Piano Ballads is out 11/19 on Bayonet. For those more interested in the classic Beach Fossils sound, they’re going out on tour with the likeminded Wild Nothing this fall.