When Dustin Payseur started coming into my record store when he was 11-years-old I would’ve never predicted that his album would someday make my top albums of the year. I can pretty much guarantee 2013’s “Clash the Truth” will. His band Beach Fossils plays Chop Shop Monday with Kurt Vile.
In February 1997 the Cotswold Record Exchange relocated to East Blvd. We left behind a few young regular customers in the Cotswold neighborhood (namely a girl named Paige), but we gained a few others in Dilworth. Dustin and his friend Taylor (who Payseur says is now a fitness instructor) were frequent customers. They’d come in together or with Payseur’s older sister. They’d peruse the used section and occasionally try to talk us out of free promo cds. My co-worker told me she got them to clean the bathroom in exchange for promos. I don't know if that's true, but I like that story.
Those two kids introduced us to Insane Clown Posse - way before it was a craze. I think we might’ve introduced them to the Suicide Machines. We played the Detroit punk band's second album constantly. I remember a bit of pride washed over me when one of them bought a copy. Although they might've sold it back to us used a couple weeks later - they did that too.
I always had a soft spot for our regular customers. When I left the store for good two years later, I left a note taped to the register telling all the ones I could remember goodbye. For some reason I never forgot Dustin and Taylor. Now I know why.
Last winter Sirius/XMU put tracks from the upcoming Beach Fossils’ record in regular rotation. I’d heard of the band, but didn’t know much about them amid the Beach Houses and Best Coasts. When our babysitter mentioned one day that her friend’s brother was in Beach Fossils. We put two and two together and figured out it was Payseur. I guffawed in disbelief. I could not believe the same kid was leading this indie rock buzz band out of Brooklyn.
Then I got the record. The opening guitar and bass part of the title song “Clash the Truth” stopped me in my tracks. It has the sad, longing, dark romanticism of the best songs off a John Hughes’ soundtrack mixed with a deep, direct sort of spooky Jesus and Mary Chain vocal without the fuzz. You can hear that same sort of thing on “Generational Synthetic,” for which the group released a new video this week that you can watch above.
I didn’t really know Payseur at all, but listening to how far he’s come makes me proud of that kid. A lot must've happened between ICP and his band's sophomore album, both musically and personally (his lyrics are insightful and smart as well). I wrote a story about him last Spring when “Clash the Truth” came out. You can read it here. Payseur spoke of those years between frequenting the Record Exchange and struggling to get through school and out of Charlotte. I’m telling this story again from a more personal perspective because I’m just that tickled that his record is that good.