Let’s face it: a lot of today’s indie pop music is jangly and raw – not the type of music you’d play at, say, a brunch in L.A.

That’s why “Melt Away”, the new single from L.A.’s Sun Kiss, really connected with me on the first listen.

The song is dreamy and melodic, like a cross between Paul McCartney and neo-bossa nova.

When you start your day with a song as joyous as “Melt Away”, you’ll be transported to a world that (at least temporarily) is light-years away from political discord, inflation and all the other dreary things that often occupy our minds.

Sun Kiss’s eleven-song album Leo Carillo and Other Stories is one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. It’s the perfect album to play when you’ve had a little too much Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

“Melt Away” reminds me of the days when pop music was supposed to be pleasant and relaxing (e.g., “Guantanamera,” Astrud Gilberto, etc). When people listen to your music, do you sense that they’re relaxing and letting go of the angst and inner turmoil that are the staples of most pop music these days?

I’m definitely a HUGE fan of bossa nova and Latin jazz. I actually play in a Latin jazz/bossa nova group that has residency in downtown LA every Thursday. So yes, Astrud Gilberto and company are always sneaking their influence into my songs. With Melt Away I was trying to capture the feeling of a romantic morning. Waking up lazily next to someone that you love. I wanted to take the listener to that dreamy love-drunk place.

Sun Kiss is a great showbiz name! What was the inspiration for that?

I’m very inspired by tropicalia music as well as “beachy” California music. I wanted a name that captured that feeling as well as the romance of my songs. I’m also a very outdoorsy person so I frequently get a little sun burnt or sun-kissed, plus it kinda rhymes with my name, Marcus.

Why did you name your album in honor of actor and environmentalist Leo Carillo?

To be honest, I didn’t know about the actor until recently-oops! I got the name from the park/beach in Los Angeles, Leo Carrillo State Park, which I guess was named after him. It’s one of my favorite surf spots. I’m a very avid surfer. Over the last few years, my life went through a lot of changes and often felt like it was way out of my control. During that time music and surfing were the only things I could really count on, so this album was kinda dedicated to that. I think surfing can be a good metaphor for life. The ocean is always changing and will always be more powerful than you. So instead of fighting, you can learn to ride the waves and even dance on top of them. Make the best of whatever it throws at you.

“Rincon” sounds like a hit single to me. Do the lyrics refer to the California town of Rincon (north of Escondido)?

Thanks! It’s my sort of wanna-be Beach Boys song! There are probably many places named Rincon. It means “corner” in Spanish, so any place that looks like a corner in a Hispanic area might have the name. But for me, this was specifically talking about Rincon, the surf spot between Ventura and Santa Barbara. It’s a kinda sci-fi/beach fantasy about two surfer lovers. In the song, the girl is leaving to go to space – and the boy says I’m not gonna wait for you but let me know when you’re back. I’ll be here “catching waves/drinking beer…meet me at Rincon.” It’s loosely based on my own experience, but in real life she was just going to work on a sci-fi TV show, not actually going to space.