There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
With their song “County Line,” Los Angeles quintet the Tyde addresses an age-old West Coast problem: They want to find better waves but are stymied by an unreliable ride and a fondness for weed. “We’ve been doing the same old thing all week,” Darren Rademaker sings. “Watching too much TV/Rolling another spliff/We should be really out sliding some peaks.” Rademaker’s fears of settling into a rut are everywhere on Three’s Co., and it’s clear he’s struggling to keep the familiar fresh. The album-opener fears that “summer’s almost gone” and mentions “paddl[ing] with rubber arms.” Even its title—“Do It Again Again”—echoes “Do It Again,” the Beach Boys’ 1968 hit about recapturing the spirit of the early-’60s beach scene. Rademaker seems to fear that even the people he hates want him to top the beautiful blend of the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and Felt that made 2003’s Twice (preceded by 2001’s Once) so gnarly. On “Brock Landers” (named after Dirk Diggler’s secret-agent dream role in Boogie Nights), Rademaker takes aim at critics, cynics, the “backstage police,” the “pastiche police,” and “another bore at the Troubadour.” “Man are you ever gonna put your new record out?” the former member of Further asks. Oddly, it’s not ’til the couch-potato symphony to God of “County Line” that Rademaker stops hanging tense and actually enjoys his influences, peeling off “ooh-wah-oohs” and starts and stops that would make Jan and Dean proud. But since the last Tyde album, Rademaker’s songwriting seems to be catching ever-smaller waves, and the most enjoyable parts of Three’s Co. are its breezy sonics, which summon endless summers long past. He and guitarist Ben Knight create blissfully fuzzed-out guitar lines; the Hawaiian-tinged “Aloha Breeze” gets by because of guest lap-steeler Dave Scher. And Ann Do Rademaker’s gift for all instruments keyboarded—Mellotron, Wurlitzer, Hammond—makes the Tyde’s tunes so bright and shiny it’s easy to overlook her husband’s writer’s block. “It won’t matter who I steal my sound from,” Darren Rademaker sings on the bluesy “Ltd. Appeal.” But the victim is the guy singing, and until his songwriting catches up with his arrangements, the only glass he’ll be catching will be from the upholstered splendor of that no doubt reeking sofa.—Joe Dempsey