The phrase “perfectly toasted” has many meanings. The name of the debut compilation album from Golden Brown, it most readily refers to the new independent label and publishing group’s symbol, a piece of burnt toast bearing its name in curly, pink, ’70s-inspired typeface.
But Perfectly Toasted resonates at other levels, too. While its roster represents artists from around the globe, the company is based in Portland, Oregon, so it’s not too much of a stretch to think it might have something to do with the state’s relaxed policy regarding recreational use of a formerly illegal substance. And the mid-June record release and its cover—palm trees viewed through a hazy pink filter and the spider-web lines of reflections in a pool—suggest a third shade of meaning: Like suntanned skin or a roasted marshmallow, the perfect toast of the album rings of summertime bliss.
Golden Brown shared two new tracks with us that support that last interpretation. “La Rencontre Avec Nico” by Lady D’Ascalie and “Walk Thru Time” by Winds both share the breezy glow that makes the perfect accompaniment for windows-down trips to the beach, backyard barbecues, and strolls through lush green landscapes.
The summer landscape particularly comes alive on Winds’ track, which uses field recordings from around their native Portland. Singing birds mingle with warm instruments and a gentle, reverb-soaked voice singing about “mountain streams” and “birds and bees” to create a sultry soundscape fit for Oregon between rainy seasons. Contrary to what all of these elements indicate, Winds is primarily an experimental, synth-based duo. “Walk Thru Time” gains its warmth from light touches of glittering synth, and its sense of light summer cheer from a retro, dance-tinged bass line.
Separated by a continent and an ocean, Lady D’Ascalie also takes a seasonal stroll through time. Their influences, ‘60s rock music and French soundtrack artists such as Serge Gainsbourg, are evident in woozy electric guitar arpeggios, a flute-like instrument, and conversationally-phrased vocals. In “La Rencontre Avec Nico,” the Paris-based band sounds like West Coasters Ariel Pink (at his sunniest) and Foxygen, soaking vintage psych rock in contemporary SoCal sun.
Memorial Day unofficially kicked off the season this past weekend, but it’s songs like this that give the summer its flavor. And if Lady D’Ascalie’s “La Rencontre Avec Nico” and Winds’ “Walk Thru Time” are any indication of what’s to come on the rest of Perfectly Toasted, Vol. 1 (out on June 17) and whatever Golden Brown releases in the future, we’re in for a nice, long, hot summer.