Featured Artist: Beach Bunny
After expanding into a full-fledged band, Beach Bunny has evolved their sad, surf rock sound.
Back when Beach Bunny only consisted of lead singer Lili Trifilio, she described herself as “a sad surf honey [who] tries to ride the biggest wave in the Midwest.” Since then, her one-woman act has expanded to a full band, with Matt Henkels on guitar, Aidan Cada on bass, and Jon Alvarado on drums. But the project’s sentiment is still the same: Beach Bunny is attempting to navigate feelings of yearning and loss with captivating surf rock riffs.
Before becoming a band, Trifilio released a couple EPs as a solo, DIY project. ‘Animalism’ was Trifilio’s first, which was released in 2015 on Bandcamp. The album was full of songs about longing for a previous relationship, and attempting to move on while being someone else’s shoulder to cry on, even though they’re not with you anymore. The tracks’ simple yet relatable lyrics shine in the EP because they’re not hiding behind complex metaphors. And there’s a refreshing vulnerability—and a quiet power—in how straightforward they are.
Her second EP, titled ‘Pool Party,’ introduced more layers and harmonies in Trifilio’s songs, while featuring her trademark blend of acoustic guitar and verses of heartbreak. Compared to her first, it becomes apparent that her confidence is growing in the strength of her voice and her songwriting abilities.
In an interview with Shredded Magazine, Trifilio mentioned that she picked the name Beach Bunny because it sounded like a band name, and she hoped it would evolve into a band once she found people that have similar taste and are easy to work with. Last year, she got her wish and Beach Bunny became a full-fledged band, releasing Trifilio’s third EP, ‘Crybaby,’ and their single, “Sports.”
With “Sports,” Beach Bunny has truly come into their own. Released on January 1st of this year, the track is backed by a catchy melody, bursting and withdrawing. Trifilio sings about how she’s tired of someone’s mixed signals and the games they love to play. It’s a newfound attitude, bolder and more assertive than the one exhibited in ‘Animalism’ and ‘Pool Party.’
Today, the band presents “Painkiller,” their latest single that starts off with a bang, and mixes a high-energy melody with their signature heartwrenching verses about the aftermath of a recent break-up. It includes more metaphors than their past songs, but Trifilio’s raw vulnerability is still there. The switch in beats about halfway through the song is a refreshing surprise (I found myself playing it back multiple times). Beach Bunny’s taking risks and they’re absolutely paying off.
The track also highlights the talents of Henkels, Alvarado, and Cada—it seems like Trifilio has found the band that she’d been looking for. Not only can each member keep up with her powerful voice and hold their own, they also sound like they’re having a raucous, ol’ blast together. With a full band on board, Beach Bunny is producing a more well-rounded sound than ever before. But don’t worry: Trifilio is still a sad surf honey after all.