Beach House Biography
Last updated: 05/21/2012 12:00:00 PM
Beach House is a dream pop duo formed in 2004 in Baltimore, Maryland, consisting of French-born Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally. Their self-titled debut, Beach House, released in 2006, was critically acclaimed. This was followed by their second release, Devotion, in 2008. The band released their third studio album, Teen Dream in January 2010, also to positive critical reviews and commercial success.
Formation and Beach House
The band formed in 2004, composed of Alex Scally on guitar and keyboards and Victoria Legrand on vocals and organ. Beach House started out life as a recording project. Yet, rather than using multi-tracking to build 'grand' songs, they stuck to the simplicity of their set-up: organ, programmed drums, slide guitar. "It's a way to challenge ourselves: What do you do when it's just the two of you?" Legrand said, to Pitchfork. Offered Scally: "One 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."
The band's song "Apple Orchard" was featured on a Pitchfork Media mp3 mixtape in August 2006. In October 2006 their self-titled debut album, Beach House, was released on Carpark Records. It was listed as #16 in Pitchfork's Best Albums of 2006.
Devotion and other projects
Their second album, Devotion, was released on February 26, 2008. It was received with greater acclaim and also was included in Pitchfork's Best Albums of 2008 list. On October 21, 2008, the group released the single "Used to Be".
Beach House also contributed 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 would collaborate with the band again by providing vocals to "Slow Life", the band's contribution to the soundtrack for the film Twilight: New Moon.
Teen Dream, the duo's 'dynamic and intense' third album, was released on Sub Pop on January 26, 2010. 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; 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). The album's unanimously good reviews have gained the band a much larger fan base, with Jay-Z and Beyonce being spotted at their shows.
Teen Dream was listed as #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
On February 24, many blogs and music websites announced that a new Beach House album entitled Bloom would be released on May 15 via Sub Pop. On March 7 the band updated their website to stream a new song, "Myth". A couple of days later the label officially announced that the new album Bloom would be released on May 15.
Style and influences
The genre of the band is often labeled "dream pop" because of the slow, atmospheric rhythms they create through mesmerizing texture and ethereal melody.
Singer Victoria Legrand's vocals have often been compared to those of Nico. The lead vocals of Beach House can be compared to 1980s psychedelic rock vocalist Kendra Smith of Opal. Guitarist Alex Scally plays a Fender Stratocaster in an Ea Tuning.
The group's influences include This Mortal Coil, The Zombies, Brian Wilson, Françoise Hardy, Neil Young, Big Star and Chris Bell.
Beach House (October 3, 2006), Carpark
Devotion (February 26, 2008), Carpark #195 US
Teen Dream (January 26, 2010), Sub Pop #78 UK, #43 US
Bloom (May 15, 2012), Sub Pop
Singles and EPs
"Apple Orchard" (2006)
"Master of None" (2006)
"Heart of Chambers" (2008)
"You Came to Me" (2008)
"Used to Be" (2009), Carpark, #27 UK Indie Chart
"Norway" (2010), Bella Union
"Zebra EP" (April 17, 2010), Sub Pop
iTunes Session (August 24, 2010) Sub Pop
"I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun" (2010)
"Lazuli" (2012) (April 21, 2012), Sub Pop
The band has toured extensively. In March 2009, the band was featured at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.
In April 2010, they played at the Coachella music and arts festival in Coachella Valley, California. In June 2010, they overcame "technical difficulties due to too much MDMA" while playing a set on The Park Stage at Glastonbury. 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, 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. 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.