CAYUCAS / WRITER / BAPTIST GENERALS

On their last album, Bigfoot, Cayucas debuted in a way that defied their namesake, the sleepy seaside town of Cayucos, CA. As listeners fell in love with its shimmering west coast vibes, Zach Yudin watched his bedroom recording project transform into a band that toured the world almost overnight, all while his songs raced across the radio. But as Zach and his twin brother and bandmate, Ben, went in to create what would become their new album, what it all came back to was something more personal. While they now call Los Angeles home, they drew from the nostalgia of their childhood growing up in Davis, CA; the nostalgia in their music that is as much about a place they’ve never been (that maybe no one’s been to) as any actual experience. It was a freedom to imagine, to explore ideas. And it was that wandering imagination and a punchy California dream that eventually grew to become Dancing at the Blue Lagoon.

While their sun-drenched, jangly, sometimes melancholic sound is quintessentially Californian, the album is very much their California. It’s the sound of kids from the suburbs who fantasize in Technicolor, whose view of the Golden State is its own form of idealism. You can hear it loud and clear in the easygoing confidence throughout on the crisp, backbeat-driven “Hella” or as “Moony Eyed Walrus” takes surf guitar into fragmented, unpredictable places. The impossibly catchy and heartbreaking “Backstroke” is a Murakami-inspired detective story, neo-noir that is equal parts stylization and gut-level emotion.

WRITER's James and Andy Ralph are brothers, and if you couldn't see it in their faces, you'll see it written all over them, sometimes even literally. The two share a tattoo—the words "Brothers Ralph" surrounding an anchor, like two sailors navigating the same sea—but you can also hear their brotherhood all over their music. Andy's voice cascades and careens around and across James' almost impossibly hard floor tom hits, and when the two join together to shout a chorus or a particularly important lyric on their album Brotherface, the two create a sound that's much more than two boys playing songs together.

The songs on Brotherface are a unique combination of anthemic and psychedelic; not meandering, definitely structured, but also bubbling and swirling with layers of sound that seem far more complicated than what two guys can make standing alone on a stage. The aquarium-sound of "Miss Mermaid" makes love into a slow swim, while the energetic gallop and brisk harmonies of "Cash For Gold" call to mind the feeling of driving across and empty expanse of highway with your friends late at night, shouting into the dark just to hear your own voice.

After extensive touring, the pair will be self-releasing a first pressing of Brotherface in October, writing new songs, and preparing to set off on yet another tour in the fall. They're also continuing to settle in to New York City, and watching their sound change as they continue to write. "The sound keeps getting fuzzier," Andy says, adding, "which both of us are into." And surely if the past has been any indication, the two are right, as brother music is always better than music made alone.

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