Beach House

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Beach House
Beach House Roundhouse 2012.jpg
Beach House performing live at the Roundhouse, London in 2012
Background information
Origin Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Years active 2004–present

Beach House is an American dream pop band from Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2004. The band consists of French-born Victoria Legrand (vocals, keyboards) and Baltimore native Alex Scally (guitar, keyboards).[1]

Their self-titled debut album was released in 2006 to critical acclaim and has been followed by Devotion in 2008, Teen Dream in 2010, Bloom in 2012, and Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars in 2015.


Formation and Beach House[edit]

Vocalist and organist Victoria Legrand, who graduated from Vassar College in 2003, and guitarist Alex Scally, who graduated from Oberlin College in 2004, formed the band in 2004 after meeting in Baltimore's indie rock scene, producing music composed largely of organ, programmed drums, and slide guitar.[2] Of the origins of the band name, Scally said: "We’d been writing music, and we had all these songs, and then there was that moment where you say ‘what do we call ourselves?’ We tried to intellectualize it, and it didn’t work. There were different plant-names, Wisteria, that kind of thing. Stupid stuff. But, once we stopped trying, it just came out, it just happened. And it just seemed perfect."[3] In an interview with Pitchfork Media, Legrand addressed their two member status; "[I]t's a way to challenge ourselves: What do you do when it's just the two of you... [O]ne of the reasons this has been such a fulfilling experience for me is that with two people, it's so much easier to achieve things that feel exciting and new."[1]

The song "Apple Orchard" was featured on a Pitchfork Media MP3 mixtape in August 2006. In October 2006 the band's self-titled debut album, Beach House, was released through Carpark Records. That year, Pitchfork Media ranked it 16th on its Best Albums list.[4]

Devotion and other projects[edit]

Beach House's second album, Devotion, was released on February 26, 2008. It was received with similar acclaim and was included in Pitchfork's Best Albums of 2008 list.[5] On October 21, 2008, the group released the single "Used to Be".

Beach House also recorded a cover of Queen's "Play the Game" for the iTunes Store release of the Red Hot Organization's 2009 compilation, Dark Was The Night.

In 2009, Legrand provided backing vocals on the song "Two Weeks" by the indie rock band Grizzly Bear. She later collaborated with the band again by providing vocals to "Slow Life", the band's contribution to the soundtrack for the film Twilight: New Moon.

In October 2010, the band contributed a charity T-shirt for the Yellow Bird Project to raise money for the House of Ruth women's shelter in Maryland, US for victims of domestic violence.[6]

Teen Dream[edit]

Beach House at the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival

Teen Dream, the duo's "dynamic and intense"[7] third album, was released on Sub Pop on January 26, 2010.[8] The album was released in the UK by Bella Union and in Mexico by Arts & Crafts. It contains a newer version of their 2008 single "Used to Be". "Norway" was made available as a free download on the band's website on November 17, 2009;[9] and promoted on iTunes as the Free Single of the Week starting January 12, 2010. The album was produced and engineered by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear).[10] The album's unanimously positive reviews have garnered the band a larger fan base, with Jay-Z and Beyoncé being spotted at the band's shows.[11]

Teen Dream was listed as No. 5 on Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2010:

Teen Dream did little to alter Beach House's core characteristics-- slow-motion beats layered with hazy keyboard drones, rippling guitar figures, and Victoria Legrand's melancholic melodies-- but greatly amplified them to the point of redefining the band's essence, from that of introverted knee-gazers into an assured, emotionally assertive force.--Stuart Berman[12]

Of the success of album and it being dubbed the group's "breakout" record by numerous publications, Legrand stated: "I see this as just another step in a direction. I would not want to say that 2010 will be our year, necessarily, I hope it’s just another year in which we do good work. I don’t want to be defined by this year, I want it to just be a beginning."[13]

The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[14]


Beach House, May 13, 2012, The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

On March 7, 2012 the band streamed a new song, "Myth", from their website. The album Bloom was released on May 15, 2012 via Sub Pop. A second song from the album, "Lazuli", was released on April 13, 2012.[15] Beach House was featured on the cover of Issue #80 of the Fader.[16] A music video for "Lazuli" was released on June 6, 2012.[17] It was directed by Allen Cordell, who also directed the video for "Walk in the Park" from Teen Dream. A music video for the track "Wild" has also been released. A music video for "Wishes" directed by Eric Wareheim and starring Ray Wise was released on March 7, 2013.[18]

The band released a short film, Forever Still, on February 4, 2013.[19] The film, directed by the band and Max Goldman, was inspired by Pink Floyd's Live at Pompeii and features the band performing songs from Bloom at various sites around Tornillo, Texas, where the album was recorded.[20] The idea for the film came from the band's desire to make quality promotional content they could control artistically: "We had previously been involved in too many live sessions, radio tapings, photo shoots, etc., where the outcome was far below our personal artistic standards. We also felt a need to distance ourselves from the 'content' culture of the internet that rewards quantity over quality and shock over nuance."[21]

Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars[edit]

On May 26, 2015 the band announced the release of their fifth album Depression Cherry. The album was released on August 28 via Sub Pop (on Bella Union in the UK)[22] and the band announced a world tour in support. Talking of the direction of the new album, the band said "In general, this record shows a return to simplicity, with songs structured around a melody and a few instruments, with live drums playing a far lesser role. With the growing success of Teen Dream and Bloom, the larger stages and bigger rooms naturally drove us towards a louder, more aggressive place; a place farther from our natural tendencies. Here, we continue to let ourselves evolve while fully ignoring the commercial context in which we exist.".[23] This LP was praised by the critic.[24]

On October 7, 2015, the band announced a sixth album, entitled Thank Your Lucky Stars, which was released on October 16, 2015.[25]

"Helicopter Dream (I'm Awake)" podcast hoax[edit]

On September 28, 2015, popular music webzine Spin reported that the band had performed a new song called "Helicopter Dream (I'm Awake)" on Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne's new podcast.[26] Other music webzines also reported on the purported new track, including Consequence of Sound,[27] Fact,[28] and Stereogum[29] However, according to the band's representatives, the song was a fake. In an email to Spin, their representatives state, "It is not a new song. Not even their voices on that podcast. Sorry!"[26] This led to a thinkpiece from the gossip blog Gawker, which used the hoax as an example of "how easy it is to fool a blogger".[30]

Notably, reaction to the fake track was largely favorable, with Spin calling it a "fuzzy space-odyssey"[26] and Consequence of Sound describing it as "a reverb-soaked number."[27] Even the band itself gave a positive review, tweeting, "To whoever made that fake podcast interview, we like your helicopter dream song."[31]

In February 2017, the band announced a North American tour and a b-side collection.[32]

On May 17, 2017, the band released "Chariot", which appears on their B-Sides and Rarities compilation album, released on June 30, 2017.[33]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Singer Victoria Legrand's vocals have often been compared to those of Nico.[34] Some music outlets have also compared Legrand's vocals to 1980s psychedelic rock vocalist Kendra Smith of the band Opal. Guitarist Alex Scally plays a Fender Stratocaster guitar in an E♭ Tuning.[citation needed] The group's influences include This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, The Zombies, Brian Wilson, Françoise Hardy, Neil Young, Big Star, Tony, Caro and John and Chris Bell.[citation needed]

Beach House re-recorded the Tony, Caro and John song "Snowdon Song" and renamed it "Lovelier Girl". The song was released on the band's self-titled album with no attribution. Initially, Tony Dore of Tony, Caro and John stated, "I haven't seen much yet in terms of royalties or acknowledgement of authorship". Several months later, however, Dore disclosed that discussions had taken place to apply proper attribution on re-releases of the self-titled album.[35]

Live performances[edit]

Victoria Legrand performing with Beach House at Coachella 2010.

The band has toured extensively worldwide. Of touring, Legrand stated: "[W]e love touring. That's when you get to get into a rhythm, playing every night. It can be really fun. And I think you learn where you want to go with your music."[36]

In March 2009, the band was featured at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.[37] In April 2010, the band performed at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. In June 2010, the band surmounted "technical difficulties due to too much MDMA" while playing a set on The Park Stage at Glastonbury.[38] In August 2010, the band joined Vampire Weekend on tour as one of their two opening acts, the other being the Dum Dum Girls. In October 2010, Beach House played at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. On December 20, 2010 the band performed on Conan.

The band was chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival they curated in May 2011,[39] and also by Portishead to perform at the ATP I'll Be Your Mirror festival that they curated in July 2011 at London's Alexandra Palace.[40] On May 29, 2011 the band played at the Sasquatch! Music Festival. On July 31, 2011 the band played at the Fuji Rock music festival in Niigata, Japan. On October 16, 2011, the band played at the Treasure Island Music Festival. On May 18, 2012, they appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and on Sunday July 15, 2012, they performed the closing set on the Red Stage during the Pitchfork Music Festival.

In May 2012, the band appeared on Later... with Jools Holland[41] playing "Myth" and "Lazuli" from their 2012 album, Bloom. On July 26, 2012 they performed the Bloom cuts "Wild" and "Wishes" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

On October 17, 2015, the band performed a song from their album Thank Your Lucky Stars (which debuted the same night) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Beach House performed at Coachella 2016[42] as well as Pickathon 2016 outside of Portland, Oregon[43] and FYF Fest 2016 in Los Angeles, California. On July 15, 2016, the band headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Illinois.[44] On August 13 the band played at the Eaux Claires music festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.[45]

Band members[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Apple Orchard" (2006)
  • "Master of None" (2006)
  • "Heart of Chambers" (2008)[47]
  • "Gila" (2008)
  • "You Came to Me" (2008)
  • "Used to Be" (Carpark Records, 2008)
  • "Norway" (Bella Union, 2010)
  • "Zebra" (Sub Pop Records, 2010)
  • iTunes Session (Sub Pop Records, 2010)
  • "I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun" (2010)
  • "Myth" (2012)
  • "Lazuli" (Sub Pop Records, 2012)
  • "Wild" (2012)
  • "Wishes" (2013)
  • "Sparks" (2015)
  • "Space Song" (2015)
  • "Majorette" (2015)


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  24. ^ Best LPs of 2015 – Top 20 “Still in Rock”
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External links[edit]