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!
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 – 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.Â This album shows his talent and hard work as a musician and a composer.Â Perky, fun melodies give a nod to his Italian nationality and to his recent tours of Japan.Â All original compositions.Â As Lorenzo says, “stay stoked”.
This Danish surf band gives us twang, power, and resonant bass.Â Note the cover of Kraftwerk’s Das Model on track 6.Â Nice complexity.Â Some vocals on Cool Cigs.Â Their 2018 August USA tour is eagerly anticipated.
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.Â Very weird but very beautiful and listenable.Â Sound is terrific, lovely tones from all instruments.Â The tracks do not remind me of anything I have heard before and that’s a good thing.Â (A kantele is a traditional Finnish zither.)
Guitarist Todd Novak (Cowlicks) is known for his country blue grass music but this band plays surf music.Â The EP is all instrumental and features drummer Martyn Jones (Mermen), bass Johnnie Hamilton (Mach IV, Berzerkers), with keyboard work that adds a nice difference from Scott Theakston.Â Definitely surf but with an edge.
Hard bop meets avant garde in this outstanding session from 1963.Â Original recording and remastering were both done by Rudy Van Gelder.Â Excellent piano from leader Andrew Hill, stunning “side men” include Joe Henderson on sax, Richard Davis on bass, Roy Haynes on drums.Â Does it get any better than that?Â Edgy and marvelous.
An eagerly anticipated new album from this fine San Francisco Bay Area modern surf band.Â Ranging from hard rocking to pop to Spaghetti western, most songs are original compositions.Â The first 16 tracks are instrumental, then there are 4 vocal (gasp!) versions of previous songs.Â Great fun, good energy, well executed – beautifully produced by Slacktone drummer Dusty Watson.
Boom Pam is a band from Tel Aviv, Israel.Â They mixÂ Balkan, Jewish, Greek and Mediterranean sound with rock.Â They are frequently called a surf band – certainly the instrumental tracks on this album would fit in a surf show – but one ponders a chicken and egg question after considering the strong influence of middle Eastern songs such as Miserlou on American surf.Â Really good musicians, very fun energetic tunes including the ones with vocals.Â Instruments include a TUBA!
Matti Bye composes “soundtracks” for silent movies.Â The Phantom Carriage is a Swedish film from 1921 that concerns a Salvation Army slum sister and is considered by many to be a masterpiece.Â The music is playful, lyrical, and reminds me of the cabaret works of Kurt Weill and the piano works of Erik Satie.Â Very nicely played on piano, strings, percussion, brass and harp.Â Really lovely, recommended!!
Italian composer Luca Francesconi was invited to a festival in Helsinki in 2001. “Wanderer” had been composed in 1998, “Cobalt, Scarlet” was inspired by a sunrise in Oslo in 2000.Â Both are performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.Â On the difficult side of modern classical music, but it might seem cinematic because of a possible similarity to Gyorgy Ligeti’s works.
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