This surf/tiki trio from Los Angeles is here at their spookiest, zaniest best. Great instrumentals and arrangements with all the scary touches such a howling, chimes, birds, cats, whistling wind, horses neighing, gunshots, squealing tires, growling and moans. Good fun with the horror, but good music even without it.
An absolutely stunning retrospective of surf music and other genres from guitarist John Blair. Track 1 is blue grass, Tracks 2-4 are rockabilly, and the last rather mellow tracks are acoustic guitar duos with Marty Tippens. The line notes describe his history as a musician and the meticulous detail reminds me of his book The illustrated discography of surf music, 1959-1965. If someone asks you for a definition of surf music, just play Geronimo (CD1, track 15). Fun radio ad for a show on CD1, track 11. Highest recommendation!
These are works from faculty and students of Oberlin’s TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts) School. The tracks are not too long and give very intriguing examples of electroacoustic music using electronics, field recordings of voices, sax, bassoon, didgeridoo and more. Quite unique and very good listening.
PGM – Track 3 seems to be silent.
This four-piece band is from Sonoma County. Although they have traditional surf music influences such as spy, space, and Tiki, their jazz influence is especially interesting. For example “Surfin’ Wes” is referring to jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Some nice dreamy stuff, well played with a delightful difference.
Eric Penna is a guitarist and in this release a multi-tasking musician, composer and recording engineer. The album is instrumental and certainly can pass for surf music but is much more giving us glimpses of psych, spaghetti Western, and exotica. Nice touches of the Hammond B-3 and trumpet on some tracks. Interesting, different and well played.
(Trabants are East German automobiles.)
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!
David Ireland turned his house at 500 Capp Street in San Francisco into a work of art by uncovering its bones and human experiences. (See https://500cappstreet.org for more information.) Phillip Greenlief went through the house responding to its space by playing his saxophone. Reedy, strange, eerie improvisations.
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.
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.
This three piece surf band from Mcminnville, Oregon is named for a Japanese science fiction monster (pronounced ga-do-ra)and has a heavy sound. Very good energy and playing with some punk and noise rock weirdness that goes with the masks they wear when performing.
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!!
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.
The Surfrajettes are an all-female surf band foursome from Toronto. Although their fame might be connected to the novelty of women playing surf, their music is high powered, energetic and well played. Great fun!
This Los Angeles instrumental band straddles the line between exotica and surf. Guitarist Bill McGlynn’s wide interest in music shows in his compositions and arrangements for all tracks. Very satisfying, well played, and cool.
More fine instrumental work from this Nova Scotia surf trio. Now in their 24th year of playing together, they show no signs of being tired. Good energy on mostly original tunes, these tracks really rock!
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!
1979 recording from artists who played as side men with Mingus – this album has me asking why I have never heard of them before. Easy going sounds on track 1, vocals on the blues shout on track 2, lovely exhibit of piano on track 3, free jazz shronky surprise on track 4, fine flute on track 5. Accessible and original, really good!
Rick Escobar was a member of the surf band The Woodies. He has created an interesting mix of ambient music with some surf sounds thrown in. Cinematic and affecting, quite original.
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!
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
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