When the Weather’s Fine: Southern Boutique Offer a Great Soundtrack to a Summer Afternoon

by Jake Muncy
Southern Boutique 

I don’t know a lot about Southern Boutique. I know they’re a psych rock act from here in Austin. I know they’re made up of the remnants of a previous band, Tiger Waves, which was lauded for good reason. Beyond that, though, there’s not much I can tell you. Their digital presence is minimal and focused entirely on their music, with no biographical info given. When a band presents themselves like this, I’m inclined not to investigate further, to let them have their quietude. It’s obvious that they’d prefer we all just stick to the music.

Oh, actually, I know one more thing about Southern Boutique for sure: Their new album, which they quietly put up for streaming a couple weeks ago, is great. Like a dream vision of a lost Beach Boys album, Southern Boutique’s self-titled LP is summery and entrancing.


Southern Boutique is steeped heavily in the modern psych rock revival, with a slight Tame Impala flavor throughout. It’s sleepy and melodic, featuring jangly guitars and frequent shifts to slow tempos that at times seem to perfectly soundtrack a stoned mid-afternoon nap on the beach. Whereas many of those bands, however, have music that feels sprawling, aimless and open in a way that often does nothing to grab me, Southern Boutique’s music is focused and accessible, delivering their vision in short, pop-song chunks over a snappy 35-minute runtime.

The album opens with a slow-build intro, glitch noise and out-of-focus guitar riffs suddenly fading into a dizzy pop melody on “Tell Star.” The melody fades back into static before sliding lazily into “Afterglow,” an album stand-out, a longing song about that lovesick, lazy feeling that maybe the best thing to do is just to stay in bed—”why do I try? The only thing I want is to be here with you.” The songs continue in this way, flowing easily from one track to the next, tinged with adolescent nostalgia for summers past and fleeting. There’s an innocence here, a sweetness to the lyrics and vibe, that’s instantly inviting, and that perhaps explains why it so often calls to mind Pet Sounds. The vocals might have something to do with that, as well: wispy and light, they frequently overlap and echo, a choral stacking that sometimes moves into the territory of I-can’t-quite-make-this-out the way voices speaking in unison often do.


That classic ease here, the way all the tracks meld and fade in and out, however, also proves a bit of a liability, as I found myself having trouble keeping the tracks distinct in my mind as I listened. More than once, I zoned out and found that half the album had passed without my realizing. Not that I was bored, exactly. The album just maintains its own vibe to the point that it runs together a bit.

The name “Southern Boutique” draws to mind something niche and maybe a little old fashioned. It’s a good summation of what this Southern Boutique does well: it provides a focused, engaging aesthetic in the form of a blast of psychedelic pop that feels both decidedly modern and decidedly classic. It doesn’t reinvent the genre, and it can rush past you if you let it, but it’s a great soundtrack to a summer afternoon.

Jake Muncy is a freelance writer, editor, and poet living in Austin, TX. In addition to writing for Ovrld, his writing appears on Loser City and anywhere else he can convince people to post it. You can contact him by email or twitter, where he tweets regularly about video games, the Mountain Goats, and sandwiches. He has very strong feelings about Kanye West.