Cayucas: Pronounced “ky-yook-us”, is the monikered homage to a sleepy little seaside town in San Luis Obispo County, California. That town, Cayucos, has hardly changed in the last 50 years, a far cry from the gentrified tourist traps parading showily down the nearby coastline. In the early 1960s, the surfing craze hit. There was one bar around which local kids congregated back then, the site of helpless crushes and fights and games of pool, a place whose jukebox soundtracked innumerable teenage years as breezy summers rolled into mild winters and back around again. The bar has since disappeared, but as Zach Yudin, the man behind the name, will tell you, the place still holds on tight to its propensity for dreamy, lazy, bonfire-lit nights worth getting moony-eyed about.
Cayucas’ debut album bears little resemblance to the sound of modern California that’s been so omnipresent over the past few years. Instead, Bigfoot posesses flirty rhythmic sensibilities both snappy and sparkling, a rosy, near-tropical warmth, and a loose and conversational feel that position you right in the line of Yudin’s wry gaze.
Having moved to Japan for a year to teach, he became inspired by the country’s love of electronic music. He started writing Daft Punk-style material while he was out there, and experimenting with the vinyl sampling that would form a crucial component of Cayucas’ early sound- old rock albums by bands like the Beach Boys, the Tornadoes, and the Animals. Although he has since set aside the synthesizer, this braiding together of proto-pop group classics fed directly into the album.
Bigfoot was recorded up in the chilly Pacific Northwest – in Oregon, with Secretly’s Richard Swift in charge of production. It’s the result of Swift and Yudin’s symbiotic working relationship, and positivity one of its brightest qualities, even when recalling missed opportunities – there’s no space for downcast vibes here. ‘High School Lover’ is perhaps Bigfoot most quintessential song; centered around a chiming rhythm ripe for shimmying, and a tale that sums up Yudin’s taste for his own personal nostalgia.
After working at a local independent jazz label for a couple of years, he’s now making music full-time, rehearsing with his new band for Cayucas’ first live shows, running along the Venice Beach boardwalk, and hitting a certain bar each night to play pool, hang out, and listen to the Beach Boys. Some places don’t change.