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Cousin Mary

Par Avion – "Surf The Friendly Skies/Nashville Surfline" – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/13/2019   A Library, CD

Three piece surf music band from Southern California headed up by guitarist Bernard Yin (who has been in many bands including Brazil 2001), his wife bassist Rebecca Ramirez, and Derek O’Brien on drums (Social Distortion, Agent Orange). Excellent playing on these tracks, with some Latin, spaghetti Western and country tinges. Good twang and reverb and I hear that these guys actually surf!

Young Barons, The – "Bitchin'" – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/13/2019   A Library, CD

The Young Barons are aptly named – a teenage surf music trio from Rockaway Beach (Pacifica). These covers of surf classics are well played and arranged, great energy overall. Authentic and yes, indeed, bitchin’!!

Mermen, The – "a Murmurous Sirenic Delirium" – [Kelptone Records]

Cousin Mary   7/3/2019   A Library, CD

The Mermen from Santa Cruz call their work “psychedelic instrumental ocean music”. Embraced by surf music fans as well as others. Fine playing from Jim Thomas on guitar, Martyn Jones on drums and Jennifer Burnes on bass. Good energy on some tracks like (1), others are more easy going and relaxed. An especially good album from a long excellent band – all killer, no filler.

Antonyms 1 – "Established Mode of Speech" – [Sub Rosa]

Cousin Mary   7/2/2019   CD, Jazz

These four tracks by a saxophone quartet (Steve Lacy on soprano, Ned Rothenberg on alto, Roy Nathanson on tenor and Eric Sleichim on baritone) are from a live performance. Breathy and honky but it never gets monotonous. Very pleasant in an abstract way. The enthusiastic audience response make me think it would have been fun to see and hear this live.

Messer Chups – "Spooky Hook" – [Gitaracula Records]

Cousin Mary   3/2/2019   A Library, CD

Here is a winning surf music album from the beyond compare St. Petersburg, Russia band Messer Chups. “Gitaracula” Oleg plays with a complex, wet, surfy, energetic twang. The beautiful “Zombierella” Svetlana on bass and Eugene on drums are an outstanding rhythm section. Mostly original compositions but with a couple of soundtrack references (track 7 and 11) and even a quote of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp Minor (track 4). Outstanding!!

Frisell, Bill – "Guitar in the Space Age" – [Sony Classical]

Cousin Mary   3/2/2019   CD, Jazz

This is an homage to the great electric guitarists of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Represented are surf, blues, psych and exotica as played in fine Bill Frisell style. Purists might complain that the tracks are not like the originals while Frisell fans might find it a bit light weight, but I think it is just right.

Raymond, Gwenifer – "You Never Were Much of a Dancer" – [Tompkins Square]

Cousin Mary   2/20/2019   A Library, CD

Welsh born Gwenifer Raymond lives in England but plays American Primitive style guitar and banjo as if she was born to it. Wonderful melodies in her compositions, astonishing technique. Some tunes are simple, most show a virtuosity and polyphony that is almost reminiscent of Bach violin partitas. Oh and she has a PhD in astrophysics. Wow, wow, wow!

Reverbivores, The – “Orbit to Intercept” – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/21/2018   A Library, CD

This is the debut CD from the Reverbivores, an instrumental band from the San Francisco East Bay. All original compositions except for one David Bowie song – excellent playing, interesting arrangements. A couple of nice slow tunes, others have good energy. Hurray for another fine surf band in NorCal!

Fascinating Creatures of The Deep – “Float On Forever” – [Self Released]

Cousin Mary   7/18/2018   A Library, CD

This Santa Cruz surf band just gets better and better.  This EP, released in anticipation of an epic summer performing at the Surfer Joe Festival in Italy and the Surf Guitar 101 Convention in Los Angeles, has five lush well played tracks.  Tracks 1,2, and 3 have fast energy –  4 and 5 are slow and lovely.  Track 5 was written in honor of their drummer (and former KFJC DJ) Stretch Riedle, after his heart attack.

Surfer Joe – “Swell of Dwell” – [Dionysus Records]

Cousin Mary   7/14/2018   A Library, CD

Surfer Joe – aka Lorenzo Valdambrini – is known as the International Ambassador of Surf Music and puts on the Surfer Joe Summer Music Festival every year in Livorno, Italy.  This album shows his talent and hard work as a musician and a composer.  Perky, fun melodies give a nod to his Italian nationality and to his recent tours of Japan.  All original compositions.  As Lorenzo says, “stay stoked”.

Otherworld Ensemble – “Live At Malmitalo” – [Edgetone Records]

Cousin Mary   5/10/2018   CD, Jazz

Oakland musician and Outsound New Music Summit organizer Rent Romus takes his sax and flute to Helsinki, Finland where he is joined by excellent Finnish musicians to make this remarkable live 2017 album.  Very weird but very beautiful and listenable.  Sound is terrific, lovely tones from all instruments.  The tracks do not remind me of anything I have heard before and that’s a good thing.  (A kantele is a traditional Finnish zither.)

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