You know, not every band born on the sunny shores of the west coast winds up sounding like the Beach Boys. Take for instance the indie-pop surf-inspired Soft Swells. Named after the smaller, smoother waves Tim Williams (the singer/songwriter behind the LA based band) looks for when he is surfing, Soft Swells is an upbeat, poppier take on indie music. You could attribute Tim “falling in love and finding true happiness” as the reason for the hopeful slant on his newest release, an EP entitled Lifeboats. Perhaps you are already familiar with the song and EP, as they have been featured in a recent nationwide ad campaign for Best Buy (if you skip fast-forwarding commercials on the TiVO once in a while, you’d be amazed what you can learn). Mostly recorded in Tim’s Los Feliz apartment and producer Dave Lynch’s studio in Lewes, England (as well as some pick-up sessions in Hollywood and Ann Arbor, MI) Soft Swells recordings are achieved by Tim and Dave “sending parts back and forth.” Sure Tim does all of the writing, but this puddle jumping collaboration works amazingly well for the band. Tim creates the songs, then off to Dave for some sound rounding-out and polish. The new EP features a remix of the original “Lifeboats” track by Jon Visger (Absofacto, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.), a few more original tunes and even a cover of T-Rex’s “Children of a Revolution.”
Having released three solo albums with NYC based Dovecote Records, Tim wasn’t sure what he would do next with his music when circumstances moved him from NY to Nashville to his current place in LA. Without a band in mind, he started writing songs again, and after playing them for Chip and Erin Adams at Modern Outsider, was convinced that he should head into the recording studio. In February of 2012 Soft Swells released their first album to the acclaim of everyone from MTV to TIME magazine and USA Today to Consequence of Sound. Influenced by the Brit-pop he loved growing up (Definitely Maybe was the first album that hit him in the chest) his obvious love of melodies, hooks and sentiment shine through with each track. Soft Swells plays to consistently packed houses in LA with an incredible live band featuring Kyle Frederickson, Matt Mayhall and Christopher Pappas that brings to life the meticulous studio sound perfected by Tim and Dave. And keep an eye out (or two if you can spare ‘em) for the video for “Lifeboats,” directed by Anthony Garth and featuring O’Neill surf team member Bree Kleintop.
Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth has said “once the music leaves your head it’s already compromised.” That’s fine if you feel like music is an entirely personal endeavor for the artist. Tim certainly doesn’t feel that way. “I don’t think a song or recording is completed until it hits someone’s ears… The experience is only complete when a listener gives
their input – a smile, a head nodding or whatever reaction a person has.”
TIME Magazine includes Soft Swells in list of “Five Buzz-Worthy Bands to Check Out” - TIME Magazine
“Upbeat and very full-sounding tunes. While one minute the guys sound like a catchy pop outfit, the next you’ll hear them
incorporating electronic sounds. Album Of The Week. - USA Today
“Soft Swells channel the Technicolor guitar-pop of Summerteeth-era Wilco, balancing high-flying synthesizer parts against
guitars straight from the garage.” MTV Buzzworthy Artist - MTV.com
“West coast meets east coast to create a fuzzy dreamscape” - PopMatters
“After their album launched this February, Soft Swells has maintained their space on my post review deck – similar to
what happened with M83 and Foster The People the year prior. URB Band To Watch. - URB
“Highly recommended.” BuzzbandsLA Bands To Watch 2012 - BuzzbandsLA
“A tight breed of rock-pop that is easy on the ears. Be forward thinking and start making your summer playlist now – and
put Soft Swells at the very top.” 4.5/5 - Consequence Of Sound
“An endearing blend of fuzz and pop.” - SXSW.com
“You have to admit, there’s something to be said for a well-written piece of modern pop music, and that’s precisely what
you have here.” - Austin Town Hall
“The blend of surfpop, rock a la Arcade Fire light and the presence of electronic vibes is a delightful mix.” - Listomania
Best of 2012
“Contemporary indie pop in the vein of bands like Phoenix and Neon Indian.” - SFStation
Modern Outsider Discography
CD - MODOUT006
"Every Little Thing" / "Lifeboats"
Vinyl includes download card for both songs + "Every Little Thing" video + digital bonus track "Punch"
7" Vinyl Single - MODOUT001
"Every Little Thing"