Song of the Day: Rick Altizer - Oyster

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I’ve been listening to a lot of the Beach Boys lately. Like, a lot. They’ve been my favourite band since childhood. What is it about the comforting sounds of childhood that helps us make sense of turmoil? With covid19, racism, and political division, something about that longing for innocence, for simpler times has got me digging deep into those smooth sounds.

In the late 90s, KMG Records put out a compilation of surf rock and surf-inspired tunes called Surfonic: Water Revival, which was spearheaded and produced by Terry Taylor of Daniel Amos. The album was timely in that there was a lot of revival music happening around that time (remember swing?), and surf seemed a natural genre to catch on. Sadly, that revival didn’t really happen on a large scale, as it’s one of my favourite genres. Nonetheless, the album did produce a few gems, most notably Rick Altizer’s “Oyster.” The tune almost sounds like a b-side or outtake from the Beach Boys 1970s material. The harmonies and arrangements are clearly inspired by Brian Wilson himself. Every now and then, I get the haunting vocal line stuck in my head and if I’m not thinking clearly, for a split second I think it’s a deep album cut from Pet Sounds.

Rick Altizer was always a critic’s favourite, but didn’t seem to catch on in a broader sense. Probably precisely because his music had a slightly more sophisticated pop sensibility about it. And in the era of 3-chord pop-punk, that just wouldn’t fly. But we still have this beauty of a single.

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