The Postelles ''Summer Undercovers''

The Postelles are one of my favorite new bands – a New York City quartet who play great little three minute rock ‘n’ roll tunes that sound like they were made to be heard on 45s. They have all the big beats and melodic guitar lines of a Ventures instrumental, circa ’63; and in lead singer Daniel Balk’s vocals, all the boyish sweetness and vulnerability of the 1910 Fruitgum Co., that illustrious Kama Sutra Records bubblegum group who had a huge hit in ’68 with a song called “1,2,3, Red Light”. The latest single by The Postelles is called “123 Stop”. I don’t think that’s purely coincidental.

Just weeks after the long-anticipated release of The Postelles’ self-titled debut album, the band has released a new EP called “Summer Undercovers” for free download via their website. And it’s exactly what the title would suggest: four covers that together sound like a ten-minute day at the beach with Frankie and Annette(‘s grandkids).

It starts with a surfed-up version of The Smiths’ “Ask”, a song that Morrissey first sang in a languid moan 25 years ago (probably before these guys were born) – spending warm summer days indoors writing frightening verse to a bucktoothed girl in Luxembourg. The Postelles play it like a teen idol love letter, and follow it up with an appropriately rawkin’ take on Joe Jones’ (by way of The Rivieras) “California Sun” (an actual surf-rock classic), and UK pub-rocker Wreckless Eric’s yearning “Whole Wild World”. Capping it all off is a live version of The Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat”. Not only is it great to hear these songs given such a fresh treatment, it’s a nice taste of what the band does on their originals, which sound like covers of classic surf-bubblegum-punk-new-wave songs from an alternate universe.