This March, Baltimore band Beach House quietly announced a summer show—their first big hometown performance since the Windjammer music festival at Pier Six in 2015—and at none other than the hallowed Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in downtown Baltimore.
With the show set to start at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, the dream-pop duo will be performing as part of the North American tour to promote their seventh and latest album, aptly titled 7, which was released last spring. The luminous record carries the trademark trappings that first put them on the national map more than 10 years ago—Victoria LeGrand’s haunting vocals and lush synth and Alex Scally’s searing guitar—as well as a fresh dose of newfound energy and urgency that marks a subtle but significant evolution in their decade-long perfection of the dream-pop genre.
A sort of Windjammer encore, the lineup also features other local music legends of the last decade who performed at the waterfront festival four years ago, with opening acts including electronic artist Dan Deacon, as well as a solo set by Future Islands bassist William Cashion, who also performs as a part of instrumental duo Peals.
In what will surely be an iconic Baltimore performance, Beach House will play a mix of new songs and greatest hits from over the course of their 15-year career. In a sneak peak of the set list, Scally shares some tidbits about a few of the band’s favorite tracks.
“Drunk in LA”
Released last spring on the band’s seventh record, 7, this hypnotic song stems out of the production of their previous full-length release. It’s a blossoming song that unfolds as if watching the world through a haze, which, it turns out, they were. “The lyrics to this song were written in Los Angeles while mixing our album, Depression Cherry, and during an inspiring afternoon in the studio,” says Scally. “We were drinking a lot of wine and feeling both alive and very dead.”
Off the band’s 2012 sophomore record, Bloom—dubbed one of the best records of the year by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and NPR—this classic Beach House song continues to be one of the band’s most-listened-to tracks. “We wrote this song in 2011, but it still vibrates in the ‘right’ way, so we keep its light burning,” says Scally.
The first single off of 7 captures the fresh energy and innovation found on the rest of the new record. It's one of the many songs that speak to the beauty in contrast, as the glitchy beat climbs into a shimmering crescendo and then abruptly ends, leaving the listener wanting more. “This is a song about love, but we use the ugliest keyboard sound ever for it,” says Scally. “It’s really fun to make ugly sounds work in a song.”
The second single off of 7, this signature slow-burner builds before erupting in a newly potent moment of thunderous live drums and lustrous guitar. “This is the last song we wrote for 7, and to us, it feels like a runt from a litter of puppies that jumps in the backseat of a car and charms everyone,” says Scally.
The opening of the band’s gorgeous 2015 Depression Cherry sets the stage for the entire fifth record—a lush, lilting collection of songs that are at once sparkling, nostalgic, sad, and hopeful. As we wrote all those years ago, it rises like the light at dawn, all slow and dewy and soft. “The end and the beginning often have a similar feeling,” says Scally, “and we feel this song captures that paradox.