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Fair Winds and Following Seas Aboard Numero Group's Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht compilation

Posted by Kells, July 31, 2017 10:11pm | Post a Comment
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Is popular music pounding a hole into your Summer soul? Are you tired of your local "light rock, less talk" radio station slicing out the same old top-forty farts? If you're looking for deeper-than-deep Soft Rock cuts, other songs titled "Sailing," and generally more "yacht," less Lil Yachty in your life, then Chicago-based label Numero Group has got you covered. Welcome aboard Seafaring Strangers: Private Yacht, the latest addition to their stellar Wayfaring Strangers series of compilations and a twenty track bounty of sonic solutions for anyone in need of a latitude adjustment à la boxed pinot grigio soaked, gently-rolled joints of poolside AM GOLD.
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Numero Group's knack for mining oddities and essentials from America's private press netherworld and beyond is legendary at this point and, given the scope of known and unknown genres already showcased in their broad range of compilations, Private Yacht feels as delightfully inevitable as it sounds immediately right-on at first listen. In many ways it plays as if it's picking up where their Record Store Day 2012 compilation WTNG 89.9FM: Solid Bronze left off, each track possessing similar stylistic qualities whether they skew more towards AOR, Modern Soul, lite Disco/Funk, dockside singer-songwriter Folk, or Smooth Jazz-tainted Southern Rock session throwaways.

Sometimes the best part of digging into a lovingly curated comp spread over two LPs (like this one) is discovering which tracks standout with each pass, back to front, sides A through D. Clockable similarities and differences in style and composition aside, standouts in this mix ebb and flow in a steady tide of mood, here a slappy, bass-y space groove, there a quasi-Beach Music/Surf Rock hybrid, all awash in a pleasantly mysterious fidelity reminiscent of a thousand sun-baked snack bar boom boxes blasting on their third lowest volume setting. That might sound a little shitty, but trust: it's just right.

My current favorite track is the Carolina Beach Music-adjacent jam "One More Time" by Salty Miller (a.k.a. Nelson Miller of The Monzas). It's got a captivating late afternoon shuffle framed with the sounds of seagulls and gently rolling surf, languid guitar strums, shore-strolling bass lines, soothing backing vocals, and breezy strings 'n things that just make you want to loose your shoes already. Check out Numero Group's promo vid for this "wreck-diving the private American AOR ship graveyard" expedition below, featuring Paul Skyland's superbly easy-going windjammer "Give Me Your Love"—welcome aboard. 

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Compilation (6), Seafaring Strangers (2), Yacht Rock (8), Numero Group (13), Private Yacht (2), Wayfaring Strangers (1)