New Music Heaven : Bay Ledges

March 4, 2019

This week's New Music Heaven track is Bay Ledges' "I Wonder." When you hear it, text the word HOT or NOT to 44624 to help us decide if we should keep playing it. And subscribe to 94/7 Nation emails to get a free download of the song sent to you! 

The latest EP from Bay Ledges, In Waves takes its title from surfer William Finnegan’s memoir Barbarian Days and his paradoxical approach to big-wave riding. “In the book he talks about just letting go when you’re getting pummeled by some terrifying wave—which is the opposite of what you think you’d need to do to live,” says singer/songwriter/producer Zach Hurd, leader of the L.A.-based band. “I wrote most of the EP after going through a breakup, and a lot of the songs came from trying to let go and surrender to that brokenhearted feeling, instead of running away from it.”

The follow-up to Fountain Tropical—a 2017 EP featuring their breakthrough single “Safe”—In Waves finds Bay Ledges channeling heartache into a finely detailed, brightly textured breed of indie pop. In creating the EP, Hurd joined forces with songwriter/producers like Miro Mackie (Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent), Christian Medice (lovelytheband, Birthday), and Jackson Greenberg (Rachel Cantu, Oscar-nominated Netflix film Cartel Land), ultimately adding a new level of depth to Bay Ledges’ sound.

A more heavy-hearted moment on In Waves, “I Wonder” captures a quiet melancholy in its wistful melody, warm vocal work, and beats that sink deep into the soul. “That was inspired by the breakup, and this feeling of being super-sad but knowing that it was the right thing for both of us,” says Hurd, who created “I Wonder” with Medice. “It’s about wanting the best for the other person, instead of coming from a bitter place.”

As the Bay Ledges sound has evolved over the years, Hurd makes a point of maintaining the playful experimentation he first brought to the project. “I look at those early songs kind of like paintings, where they have a lot of little details going on that give them personality,” he says. “Now that I’m collaborating more, I still like to spend time with the song by myself and get into the nitty-gritty, while making it all sort of airy and fun.” At the same time, Hurd has also upheld and deepened the generosity of his songwriting, infusing In Waves with a deliberately hopeful spirit. “It’s generally easier for me to write from a place of lack,” he notes. “But I still try to make it optimistic, even if there’s heartbreak in there. I’m not looking to write a song that’s going to drag you down—I’d much rather blend the happy and the sad in a way that feels true to me.”

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