King of the Beach
Label: FAT POSSUM
After Nathan Williams experienced backlash following a mid-show meltdown in 2009, he could easily have used this album to burn naysayers. Instead he makes some wise moves: He recruits the late Jay Reatard's backing band -- which adds a punky Beach Boys vibe -- and plays up his role as self-loathing slacker. He proclaims himself "King of the Beach," then an idiot and a person whose friends hate his guts. All of this ego warfare goes down amid a backdrop of California cool, where playful beats and sha-la-las frolic in wiggly reverb. Never has self-deprecation seemed so sunny and blithe.