“It’s great playing here, we live right around the corner,” said a jubilant, mildly drunk Dustin Payseur, late on a Friday night in Ridgewood. Payseur’s band, Beach Fossils, had just released their fourth full-length album, called Bunny. For longtime fans, the release was a promise that some things could stay the same in the world of sunny, beach-adjacent indie rock; “still as laid-back as you remember,” recommended a blogger at Pitchfork, the website that has been dutifully covering Payseur’s moves since he had emerged in early 2010s Brooklyn, playing amid a scene of like-minded chill dudes like the guys in Real Estate, Mac DeMarco and Diiv, a band whose frontman Zachary Cole Smith got his start playing drums on some of Payseur’s early tours.
These days, Payseur has enough pull to sell out the new, indie club around the corner on two day’s notice. (“No door tickets for @beachfossilsnyc we are completely sold out, sorry!,” read an apologetic post from the instagram page of TV Eye, a club that has made a name for itself in booking these kind of slightly bigger indie rock bands for casual, intimate sets; the North Carolina band Wednesday stopped there in early April, in advance of their plans to play the far more corporate Brooklyn Steel early next year.) Following the night’s regularly-scheduled programming — a three-band noise bill headlined by the ear-scalding Brooklyn duo Venus Twins — Payseur and his touring group of longtime confederates strutted on stage and smiled casually. They were at home.
“We’ve only practiced this song, like, twice,” he admitted, midway, before launching into the sugary, chillwave jangle of “Dare Me,” among the many songs Payseur has been writing lately on the subject of growing up and was trying out on stage for the first time on Friday. (“Sometimes all you’ve really got is your friends/Sometimes you can’t even count on them,” that one goes.) Unlike some of his compatriots, Payseur has stuck around. When the band jolts, suddenly, into the warm, summer day chorus of “What a Pleasure,” a mildly deep cut about break-ups from 2011, a burly hipster cries “That one also hits”! In a recent GQ profile of Harrison Patrick Smith’s downtown act the Dare, Payseur is called upon to deliver some words of elder statesman advice to the alleged new guard: “We’re past the era where it’s cool to be a dick—now you can make music that’s bratty and seductive and still be a chiller.”
Images taken by Andrew Karpan.
For more news, sign up for Bushwick Daily’s newsletter.
Join the fight to save local journalism by becoming a paid subscriber