First Look: Summer Fiction – S/T

See, folks, this is why you don’t make your album of the year list in November. Summer Fiction’s debut is due this week, and given that dude e-mailed me about it himself, your favorite bloggers have not received promo copies. So forget the rankings for a minute, and open your heart to a sublime set of indie-pop. Summer Fiction, thank God, plays soft, hi-fi songs that could only have come from a bedroom and too many late nights. Like his noisier peers in Bikini, Swimsuit, Tennis, Best Coast, Sand Panda, whatever, Summer Fiction frontman Bill Ricchini is a beach nerd — “Kids in Catalina” is the kind of surf-ballad that Animal Collective might record if they ever play guitars again, while “Carry On” ponders swaying palm trees over xylophone hits. But the music’s more along the lines of fellow California dreamers the Thrills, all sweet melodies and thoughtful, pristine arrangements rather than fuzzbox grit. The album’s best moment is “By the Sea,” a piano-laden ballad that recalls XO-era Elliott Smith and Reinhold Messner-era Ben Folds Five, two references you might remember. Let’s not forget about this one, either.

Summer Fiction – “Chandeliers”: mp3

Stream the album in full and buy it after the jump.