Something Else! sneak peek: Beach Boys, "That's Why God Made The Radio" (2012)

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The Beach Boys’ first single with Brian Wilson in ages is a celebration not just of the joys of their combined vocals, but also the glowing desktop contraption that long-ago beamed their biggest songs into our homes.

“That’s Why God Made The Radio,” set for release on Friday, April 27, 2012, is the lead single from the Beach Boys improbable forthcoming reunion album — as yet untitled, but due on June 5. A just-released video intersperses snippets of the track, video of the reunited Rock and Roll Hall of Famers in the studio, and new interviews with the band. You can also stream the entire track HERE.

“That’s Why God Made The Radio” opens with Brian Wilson’s unmistakable lead vocal, which is then joined by his fellow Beach Boys Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks — and the track quickly soars into a stratospheric vocal interplay. “We put a lot of love in our harmonies,” Wilson says. “There’s a lot of love in there. … It’s just as good as it was 50 years ago — believe it or not.”

Jardine, bursting with enthusiasm, adds: “If you like harmony, man, this is going to knock your socks off!”

That the Beach Boys would ever find that kind of harmony again was, of course, the subject of deep debate.

Following the death of Carl Wilson, Love and Johnston continued to tour as the Beach Boys. Jardine, meanwhile, has been appearing with the Endless Summer Band. Long absent from the road, Wilson started playing separately with his early-1990s comeback — all amidst a flurry of lawsuits back and forth between the members.

Jardine then joined Brian Wilson in a solo concert, and then appeared in the Love-led Beach Boys edition of the band last year. By December, the band had confirmed plans for a reunion tour — beginning tonight. Next came word of a new studio project, something the band promises will be a return to form.

“That’s Why God Made The Radio” is part of a song-cycle that is said to include a closing suite of songs, with each designed to fit together thematically, in the style of signature Beach Boys efforts like Pet Sounds and SMiLE. As with all of the their best-known projects, Wilson is constructing the bulk of the music, with additional help from the others.

Marks, who played guitar with the Beach Boys from 1962-63, is performing with the group for the first time since briefly rejoining for some 300 shows between 1997-99. The rest of the surviving Beach Boys last performed together in the studio on 1995’s Stars and Stripes Vol. 1.

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Beach Boys. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

THE BEACH BOYS – THE SMILE SESSIONS (2011): Wilson’s long-awaited mythical masterpiece was issued in expanded form as The SMiLE Sessions, nearly 45 years after its conception. Be warned, though: While the original album has been referred to as the Beach Boys’ Holy Grail, this massive collection of studio recordings will probably be more well received by musicians and the serious music fan. Novice passersby need not apply. That said, despite the newly recorded version of this project released by Wilson in 2004, no one could have expected what depth and quality Sessions would bring to the table.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: THE BEACH BOYS: As the Beach Boys prepared to celebrate their 50th anniversary with the 2011 release of The SMiLE Sessions, an updated version of the 1968 track “Do It Again” and a proposed world tour, we took a look back at some fun, fun, fun old favorites — including tracks from Surfer Girl, Pet Sounds, Holland, Smiley Smile and Sunflower.

BRIAN WILSON – MIDNIGHT’S ANOTHER DAY (One Track Mind, 2008): While completing his own version of SMiLE in 2004, Wilson at long last regained his foothold on feel-good popcraft, a sturdy piece of ground he’d largely conquered by the mid-1960s. Unfortunately, Wilson doesn’t advance that notion over the balance of The Lucky Old Sun, so much as confirm that SMiLE was his own personal vista. Sun is, really, a grand-sounding yet somehow empty album — from the staid “Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl” to the outdated linking narratives by SMiLE co-writer Van Dyke Parks. Still, “Midnight’s Another Day,” with its gospel-tinged piano signature, can’t be denied. It’s a direct link between “In My Room” and the modern-day Wilson.

THE SOUND OF SUMMER: CELEBRATING THE BEACH BOYS’ LASTING JOYS: Think Beach Boys, and many remember a group perhaps irrevocably reduced by its tragicomic storyline. Admittedly distracting plot points, beyond the 36 Top 40 hits (most of any U.S. rock band), include shocking revelations involving drugs and mental breakdowns, one never-finished Musical Statement, a slow decline into moldy oldies caricature, several different touring ensembles trying to lay claim to the franchise, various resulting suits and countersuits, and a remarkable moment of jackassery at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fifty years later, too, there is the unironic visage of old men still playing the part of fun shirt-wearing purveyors of a long-gone California surfer lifestyle. Forget all of that. They remain, at least on the 1960s records, the very sound of summer.

Here are the Beach Boys’ 2012 tour dates:

04/24 – Tucson, AZ @ Anselmo Valencia Ampitheater
04/26 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre
04/27 – New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans Jazz Fest
04/28 – Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Ampitheater
04/29 – Raleigh, NC @ Raleigh Ampitheater
05/02 – St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Ampitheater
05/04 – Hollywood, FL @ Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
05/05 – Tampa, FL @ David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
05/08 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theater
05/09 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theater
05/11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Bendum Center for the Performing Arts
05/12 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
05/13 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
05/15 – White Plains, NY @ Westchester County Center
05/17 – Bethlehem, PA @ Sands Bethlehem Events Center
05/19 – Atlanta City, NJ @ Borgata Hotel Casino
05/21 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
05/22 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
05/25 – Chula Vista, CA @ Cricket Wireless Ampitheater *
05/26 – Indio, CA @ Fantasy Springs Special Events Center
05/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ Red Rock Casino
05/28 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
06/01 – Berkley, CA @ Greek Theatre
06/02 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
06/03 – Irvine, CA @ Verizon Wireless Ampitheater
06/08 – The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
06/10 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/12 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
06/13 – Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
06/15 – Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
06/16 – Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
06/17 – Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
06/19 – Toronto, ON @ Molson Ampitheatre
06/20 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
06/22 – Bangor, ME @ Waterfront Park
06/23 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
06/24 – Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
06/26 – Boston, MA @ Bank of America Pavilion
06/27 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
06/29 – Darien Lakes, NY @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
06/30 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
07/01 – Milwaukee, WI @ Markus Ampitheater (Summerfest)
07/03 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Farm Bureau Live
07/04 – Provo, UT @ Stadium of Fire
07/10 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheatre
07/13 – Woodinville, WA @ Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
07/14 – Eugene, OR @ Cuthbert Ampitheater
07/15 – Stateline, NV @ Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Ampitheater
07/26 – Rome, IT @ Ippodromo delle Capannelle
07/27 – Milan, IT @ Civic Arena
07/29 – Gothenberg, SE @ Tradgaardsforeningen
07/31 – Oslo, NO @ Spektrum
08/01 – Aarhus, DK @ Musikhuset
08/03 – Berlin, DE @ O2 World Arena
08/04 – Stuttgart, DE @ Hanns-Martin-Schleyerhalle
08/05 – Munich, DE @ Hockey Park
08/07 – Lokeren, BE @ Lokerse Festival
08/16 – Tokyo, JP @ QVC Marine Field
08/17 – Osaka, JP @ Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium
08/19 – Nagoya, JO @ Gaishi Hall

* = w/ Foster the People

Something Else!

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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