The sun rising

Pub date May 24, 2011

 The sun is high and your freezie is melting at a rapid, uncontrollable pace. Somehow a trail of sticky red syrup traces a path from hand to elbow, where it casually drips onto your exposed thigh. You’re seven and you don’t flinch because in five minutes you’ll be treading lake water. It’s summer and it’s damn hot. Life is simple and sweeter than high fructose corn syrup.

Fast-forward to adult status and days stacked with adult plans. Growing up totally blows (well, at least in terms of responsibilities, because puberty was a bitch and having your own place, a paycheck, a lover, and as many pets as you want is nice). Nostalgia for blissful, super-fun days of yore means we grown-ups will jump at anything and everything with hints of kiddie innocence.

Think giant trampoline gyms, mac ‘n’ cheese bars, and dodgeball leagues, plus all kinds of spiked youth-inspired activities: drunken spelling bees, boozy slip ‘n’ slides, and bars with board games. This stuff is all about guzzling a cocktail and laughing until you nearly pee, just like you did in the third grade, minus the vodka. It’s about having fun, being weird, and enjoying the simple things.

We have now entered the perfect time of year for getting caught up in a totally relaxed, school’s-out mentality. Use those sick days. Grill hotdogs and stain your upper lip with fruit punch. Don’t be intimidated by your age or your nasty bills. May means summer, and although we’re in San Francisco and must be very patient for the corresponding weather, this is the ideal season for simple, juicy living.

This mindset may take a little coaxing and the best non-pharmaceutical solution lies in the perfect soundtrack. Ironically, a trio of friends from the dreary north has crafted the perfect beach-inspired treat: Seattle’s Seapony is sure to get you in the summer mood with its 12-song debut, Go With Me (Hardly Art).

Seapony’s modest surf pop induces the most delightful high, thanks to a combination of super lo-fi recording and innocent melodies. Fuzzy guitars and light drums wrap around Jen Weidl’s breathy vocals, all blowing like a warm summer breeze through tall palms. The entire album runs in under 35 minutes, but could easily sit on repeat for hours, keeping fresh and light with its unpretentious appeal.

Songs on Go With Me are vaguely distinct and play better as one long dose. Songwriter Danny Rowland has intentionally kept things as simple as possible, setting up each track with the same basic framework: minimal major chords, a quiet drum machine, and super chill bass.

Weidl’s lyrics are in the same, slow-moving boat. There are no swells or outbursts; the minimal phrases do not beg for a psychologist’s interpretation. Her lackluster tone speaks of love and sadness in generics and the poppy track “Dreaming” repeats the same six lines over and over.

The band also doesn’t like to talk during performances, preferring to play song after song with limited interruptions, foraging yet another attempt at simplicity. According to a quote on Seapony’s website, this makes the group’s live show “cooler,” which could very well be true. Band witty banter is never very impressive.

In a world where everyone is trying to speed past the competition with innovative ideas, Seapony is riding the lazy river — the only water park attraction that never has a line. Is Seapony jaded? Or just looking to get a better tan? Adults are expected to tote around all sorts of bells and whistles, their eyes fixated on being first place, but Seapony doesn’t want to race. Instead, the group is producing music that wins by default. It sounds nice; it compliments sunshine; and it’s made for days free of responsibility.

This summer, put on that swimsuit, run around the yard, and laugh obnoxiously loud like you did as an awkward adolescent. Or keep it San Francisco-style by trading out the yard for Dolores Park and adding a brown paper sack. Just don’t forget the Seapony. 


With the Beets, Catwalk, Eternal Summer

Sun/29, 8 p.m., $12

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF