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Connecticut duo High Pop plucks its sound from the jet stream, blending West Coast surf punk and lo-fi pop. It’s 3,000 miles from Hartford to Hollywood, but Sean Posila and Jordan Caulfield don’t consider distance an issue; to them the West is a kind of musical Mecca, what they call a “golden fantasy.” Their latest EP, Hippie Speed Ball, which is streaming below, seems true to that notion. All the hallmarks of the West Coast school are here: the jangly guitars, rolling drums and lyrics that are more megaphone than microphone. But the guys are able to match their love of the West Coast sound with their upbringing in the East. “West Coast living seems to be more ideal, but the East Coast is definitely more real,” says Posila. “The cold sucks so bad it hurts, so we have to pretend.”
The dudes put Speed Ball together with whatever was lying around Caulfield’s basement, which doubles as their studio. There’s a dash of effects-spice on every song, heavier in some places than others (a minute into the track “The Charm,” there’s something that no doubt is labeled on the soundboard as “alien ray-gun.”). Production for Speed Ball is unpolished, but if it sounded any cleaner it would hardly be called lo-fi. The drums are dissonant, the guitar fuzzy, and Posila’s vocals alternate appropriately from punkish to placid. On “The Shakes,” he cuts loose a wail that’ll convince you he needs a doctor. On “Acid Tooth” his pitch aims for altitude and is met midair by an electric organ. The result is something that sounds like the Partridge Family strung out on something.
The season of summer is an intractable element for this genre of music. The pair isn’t simply recycling material from the likes of Wavves or Best Coast, though. The guys’ song “Drip From The Sea” is among their best for its arrangement, which includes a killer last pre-chorus. “Jord and I just wanted to create something special together this summer,” says Posila. “Hippie Speed Ball is the story of our youth.” It definitely isn’t an Indian summer, given Speedball‘s short length, but the boys figure it turned out just right. “It’s the perfect length for a cassette,” Posila says, “and lasts about as long as a spliff.”