ICYMI: The Bees returned as 77:78 (listen to their debut LP)
So much music comes out all year, and even with our daily new song roundups; weekly Notable Releases, Indie Basement, and Upcoming Metal Releases columns; and monthly playlist of songs we like, we still miss stuff. Now that we’re in the final month of 2018 and looking back on all the music that came out this year, we’ll be publishing a post every weekday in December that catches up on some music released this year that we feel we didn’t shine enough of a light on, or didn’t discuss at all. The music we’ll be highlighting wasn’t necessarily “overlooked” in any broader sense of the word, just cool stuff worth catching up on in case you missed it.
For the whole of the '00s, UK band The Bees made wonderfully out-of-time pop that, at times, genuinely sounded like it was from another era. Recording in their all-analog studio on the Isle of Wight, The Bees mixed garage rock, tropicalia, Bakersfield country, reggae, soul and other sounds into their deeply vintage sound. Maybe a little too quirky for their own good, they also ran into problems in America where there was already a band called The Bees and became A Band of Bees in the U.S. (Though weirdly the U.S. Bees -- who were pretty good too -- changed their name to The Silver Seas.) If you've never given them a spin, all five of their albums are good, but I especially like 2005's Free the Bees and 2007's very underrated Octopus.
While they never officially broke up, The Bees went into hibernation after 2010's Every Step's a Yes, presumably never to be heard from again. But then principle members Aaron Fletcher and Tim Parkin returned this year under a new name, 77:78, still making the same kind of infectious throwbacks that bring a crate-digger’s sensibility to pop. 77:78 released Jellies back in July and it's a bit shinier than The Bees ever were -- clearly from the same minds, but less overtly beholden to the past. Jellies is a breezy, fun listen, from the warm opening electric piano chords of "If I'm Anything" to the kitschy "Chilli" (shades of The Bees' "Chicken Payback") to the jazzy/loungey "Compass Pass" to bluesy rave-up "The Wagon" which closes the album. Like with The Bees, Fletcher and Parkin are particularly adept at mellow grooves (The Bees' "Listening Man" is a classic) and they deliver two great ones here with back-to-back beauties "Pour it Out" and "Papers." Like a tiki bar drink served in a coconut shell, Jellies is sweet, goes down smooth, leaves you a little giddy, and would sound great on the beach.
Jellies is out now via Heavenly and you can listen, and watch videos for "Chilli" and "Love Said (Let's Go)", below. 77:78 have been playing live in the UK, and it would be nice to see them play North America, but I would settle for another album that we don't have to wait eight years to hear.
Don’t miss a thing! Browse our ICYMI tag, being added to throughout December.