When Fim's smirky, herky-jerky 'Fast Cars' cruised past the competition to win Diffuser's Crucial Cut of the Month for August 2013, we had to smile. First off, it's a great song, and beyond that, it led us -- and hopefully a few other peeps -- to 'Alien Beach Party,' the L.A. foursome's second studio effort. Released earlier this year and available for free download via Fim's Bandcamp page, the seven-song set lives up to its title, hitting listeners with warm, sunny pop tunes from another dimension.

In the following interview -- the "prize," if you will, for winning our Crucial Cut honors -- Fim's Nick Biddle dishes on the origins of his group's singular sound, lists some of his favorite rock instrumentals and explains how he and his oddball buds strike the right balance between seriousness and sarcasm. Read on and meet your new favorite chilled-out Left Coast yacht-pop surf combo! (Top three, anyway.)

First, the origin story. How'd you guys come together? Are you all from the West Coast originally?

We've all been friends for a really long time and grew up in L.A. together.  We started FIM around 2009 because we all just wanted to make music together.

Was there an instant musical chemistry? What were some of the bands you bonded over? You mention Talking Heads and Violent Femmes in your bio, but there are also strains of Devo and maybe more modern stuff like Ariel Pink, no?

I would say there was an instant chemistry. We all got along and liked a lot of the same music, so when your in that situation, you wind up coming up with music your all into, and that's sort of what it's about: to come up with music that you're really into. We love all those bands, so they'll definitely come through as an influence in our music.

'Alien Beach Party' is your second release. What, if anything, were you looking to do differently this time out?

It is our second release. Our first one was an album called 'Bumper to Bumper,' and that one is totally different than 'Alien Beach Party.' We like to switch things up because it is great to expand into different styles and sounds that you haven't done before, but make it sound like ourselves. 'Alien Beach Party' is more drum-machine-based and has weirder sounds than 'Bumper to Bumper.'

The songs can be twitchy and punky and odd, but with something like 'Love Die,' it seems like you're trying to figure out love or life or both. And 'Cup-a-Gadaffi' is a dang pretty song, weird title notwithstanding. Is the goal to strike some balance between seriousness and irreverence? Have you struck it?

'Love Die' is about wanting the love you have for something to die. 'Cup-a-Gadaffi''s title came from the idea of mixing terrorists/politics and food together. We really enjoy sarcasm, and we always get on THAT tip. It is a serious record. it's in the area between light and dark, maybe a grey area, maybe an alien gray area.

The record ends with an instrumental. Are you big fans of those? Is there something appealing about ditching words and trying to create a feeling with just music? Is it more challenging?

Its definitely not more challenging. We love instrumental music and sometimes music just needs to speak for itself.

Have you got a favorite rock instrumental? Maybe an old surf tune or something?

Oh man, thats a big list, going from 'Run, Chicken Run' by Link Wray to 'Unititled Instrumental' by Bo Diddley to 'Go! Spastic' by Squarepusher to Miles Davis 'Bitches Brew.' We could go on forever with instrumental music.

Where do you guys see yourselves in the L.A. scene? Do you feel like you're part of a community of bands, or does the fragmented nature of the city prevent such things from forming?

L.A. is a big city, so by nature you're a fish in a big pond. Crafting a sound is really important. We have always played in and out of different scenes and community's of bands, but haven't really had specific bands that we always play shows with.

What's next for Fim? Any plans to tour beyond California and/or release new music?

We're doing a lot of writing and recording and will have another EP out very soon. Ya, we have plans to tour and will be releasing some dates on our website FIMtv.com.