The Lineup

Zack Mexico

Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

With some definite exceptions, from Weedeater to The Rosebuds, the beaches of North and South Carolina haven't produced many notable young bands in the past few decades. Traveling to Wrightsville, Myrtle or Charleston, you're more likely to hear the music that was endemic to this area in the '50s than right now. Beach music, shagging and the cocktail-swigging culture that came along with this movement have lingered in bars and on wooden dance floors up and down the Carolina coastline.

Enter Zack Mexico, a fresh young quintet from the Outer Banks that sounds as much historically Carolina as it does au courant with now’s national trends. Consisting of five guys in their early-20s who live together and grew up in the dune-prevalent Kill Devil Hills, they describe themselves as ambient punk. “We don’t play surf music,” they’ve said, referring to the dub tunes they considered to be such. Fortunately, this influence has slowly crept into the band's sound.

Zack Mexico hang with a musical crew that includes Critters, Mutant League and Houndogs Family Band, all acts with similar lo-fi variations on shoegaze stoner rock. More than the surf-punk side of Sublime, Zack Mexico links with younger artists like King Krule, Hunx and his Punx, and Dirty Beaches. Raleigh imprint DiggUp Tapes recently added the band to its roster.

On Zack Mexico’s instantly likable debut EP, Abberation of Celestial Kokomo, lounging psychedelic guitars and a warm baritone voice seem to echo throughout. This music is as suited for hanging by the beach and gazing at the sun as it is for backing a fast-paced party. For decades, convertible Chryslers have cruised Grand Strand, blasting The Embers’ “I Love Beach Music.” Zack Mexico’s “Weird Reef” is the perfect modern-day tune for Highway 12—top down, sun and joint blazing. —Jedidiah Gant