Flavorwire Artist Playlist: The Wytches’ Surf-Rock Favorites


Black Sabbath doom and Dick Dale dreaminess find common ground in The Wytches. The English trio quickly established this on their first single, “Wire Frame Mattress,” which got its stateside release back in February. These two dominant influences — early heavy metal and classic surf guitar tones — are treated with impressive depth and nuance on their debut LP, Annabel Dream Reader (out August 26 on Partisan Records). Toss in a dash of punk brattiness and The Wytches start to resemble the Arctic Monkeys — with sludgy feedback where Alex Turner and co. would toss in a pop hook and some lip. It’s definitely worth a listen. We asked the band’s singer and guitarist Kristian Bell to make us a playlist of The Wytches’ surf-rock favorites and explain the picks.

It turns out the band has a generous definition of surf, ranging from godfathers of the genre like Link Wray and The Ventures to unconventional disciples including The B-52’s and the Dead Kennedys. “Surf has influenced our sound quite a lot,” Bell says. “Not solely surf, though — just the guitar work and the scales. These are ten of the songs that we feel best represent our tastes from the surf side of things.”

The Cramps — “Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs”

“I heard the song is about a painting. It’s a very Ventures-sounding tune.”

The Ventures — “Pipeline”

“Some of the best palm-muted guitar playing ever. The tones are perfect.”

Duane Eddy — “Raunchy”

“I guess it’s more of a rock ‘n’ roll track than a surf song, but it’s good walking music.”

The Trashmen — “Surfin’ Bird”

“It’s a jokey song. Some of the surf we incorporate into our songs is supposed to a bit playful and stereotypical, as far as surf is concerned.”

The Horrors — “Draw Japan”

“It’s a really brutal song. The lyrics are great and the guitar playing is innovative. I wish they still played some of Strange House live, but they must be sick of hearing that.”

The Beach Boys — “Kokomo”

“I first heard it when The Vandals covered it. Pretty chill.”

The Growlers — “No Need For Eyes”

“It’s my favorite track of theirs on such an underrated album, Hung At Heart.

Link Wray — “Jack The Ripper”

“Not the ‘Jack the Ripper’ song most people are familiar with. This one is just an instrumental with your classic surf tones.”

Dead Kennedys — “Holiday in Cambodia”

“It’s the darker side of surf. Although they’re more punk than surf, East Bay Ray’s guitar style is extremely surfy at times.”

The B-52’s — “Planet Claire”

“It’s not a straight song. It’s very experimental. My girlfriend got me a ‘Rock Lobster’/’Planet Claire’ 12″ a while ago. I’d never heard this one, so it opened me up to a lot more of [The B-52s’] stuff.”