Ears Wide Open: Windser

Windser (Photo by Bea Helman)

Santa Cruz native Jordan Topf encapsulates a dreamy, carefree California sound with his project Windser. Like many artists who write, produce and tour with several bands, Topf took some time during the pandemic to hone in on his own aesthetic, one that would focus on his childhood in Santa Cruz.

His forthcoming EP, “Where the Redwoods Meet the Sea” (out Oct. 12), paints a picture of a calming Northern California town, with plenty of lookout points to catch the foamy waves crashing against the rocks of a cliff, while towering evergreens stand unbothered. Seems like a great place to grow up, and Topf’s dreamy, upbeat indie songs certainly reflect that.

But Windser is not a small-town nobody anymore — he’s featured on Macklemore’s new single “Next Year” and he opened for Macklemore at his recent Banc of California Stadium concert earlier this month.

Windser has introduced his EP with three tracks, including the catchy and driving “Capsize.” “‘Capsize’ to me is about hitting lows you didn’t think were humanly possible,” Topf says. “Feeling like there’s no way out and you can’t fathom coming back from that low point. But also in the back of your mind knowing there is hope even through those moments of uncertainty.”

The single “Friends I Barely Know” is accompanied by a video release, seeing Topf wander around the hazy nature of NorCal, with plenty of ocean views and a home video feel. The jangly, soft guitars bring to mind bands like Real Estate (another great NorCal road-trip listen). “Now I’m standing / In a moshpit / Surrounded by friends that I barely know,” he sings, reminiscing on his time spent performing at a Santa Cruz punk house/DIY artspace called Zami! and feeling totally at home in a crowded space with strangers.

||| Stream: “Capsize,” “Memory” and “Friends I Barely Know”