Beach Fossils is an American indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2009. They are currently signed to Bayonet Records, having previously been signed to indie label Captured Tracks. The group’s live band currently includes founder Dustin Payseur (vocals, guitar), Jack Doyle Smith (bass), Tommy Davidson (guitar), and Anton Hochheim (drums). They are known for their lo-fi, atmospheric sound, confessional and nostalgic lyrics, and Payseur’s laid back vocal style.
Payseur originally conceived the project in late 2008 when he moved to New York City after leaving school in his home state of North Carolina. To date they have released three studio albums, including their eponymous debut album (2010), Clash the Truth (2013), and Somersault (2017), and one EP titled What A Pleasure (2011). Beach Fossils, along with fellow Captured Tracks label mates DIIV, Wild Nothing, and Mac DeMarco, are considered forerunners in the lo-fi dream pop sound that grew out of the underground indie scene in the 2010s.
After a brief stint at community college in his home state of North Carolina, frontman Dustin Payseur moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue his interests in music. Known for his lo-fi vocals and reverberating indie rock, musician Payseur formed Beach Fossils in 2009 as a vehicle of expansion for a solo project. That same year, bassist John Peña and guitarist Christopher Burke were recruited, followed by Zachary Cole Smith on drums. After signing to Captured Tracks and quickly pulling together a live band, they took off playing countless shows across the U.S. gathering a slew of devoted fans in their wake. Their debut single, Daydream/Desert Sand was released in January 2010 through Captured Tracks. In May 2010, their self-titled debut Beach Fossils album was released, and met with favorable reviews.
In a retrospective interview in 2014, Payseur commented on their first album saying, “The writing process is at its strongest when you don’t even feel like you’re writing the songs yourself… That happened when I was writing the first Beach Fossils record. I’d come back a day or two [after writing] and it would sound like I was listening to somebody else’s music.”
While their debut album was written and recorded almost entirely by Payseur, in between tours he decided to expand on his solo work for his follow up project. The band’s second release, an EP titled What A Pleasure, was released on March 8, 2011. Born out of late night jams between Payseur, John Peña, and long time friend and collaborator Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing, What a Pleasure expanded on Beach Fossils’ sonic landscape and resulted in some of Payseur’s most memorable tracks. The EP has gradually become a cult classic among fans of the band, and many of its songs still work their way into Beach Fossils’ live sets today.
During the recording sessions for What A Pleasure, Beach Fossils and Jack Tatum covered and recorded some their favorite songs from influential UK band The Wake. On April 4, 2011 Beach Fossils released a split tribute EP with Wild Nothing called Gruesome Flowers: A Tribute To The Wake through Captured Tracks. The band covered The Wake’s “Plastic Flowers” and Wild Nothing covered the track “Gruesome Castle”…