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Tsar Wars, Never Forgotten
There are those events in life in which you remember each and every detail; the sunlight coming through the window, the smell of the stale July heat, and the disheveled bed that you hastily threw that package on as you couldn’t wait to rip into. You see, in that packaged contained both the vinyl and CD of The Space Cossacks’ Interstellar Stomp of which I had been wearing out the Real Player samples of on the Space Cossacks', then, cutting edge website. While Interstellar Stomp would be the jewel of most any other package this package also contained the brand new Cossacks album, Tsar Wars. From that album I had heard The Defector, and immediately thought, “This is no Red Sunrise”. This was not the only mistake I was to make as a 16-year-old. This mistake is a common one, playing music outside of the context of which it was intended. You see, Tsar Wars is no mere album. It isn’t an experience, it isn’t even a journey. It is an adventure.
Tsar Wars was released under hurried conditions by MuSick Recordings, with the Cossacks heading to California for a 3-date tour in March of 2000. On March 26th, at the Rendezvous Ballroom Reunion, the first copies of Tsar Wars were sold by the band. The LP, a gorgeous purple marble with silver labels, and the CD, an interactive CD, both contain cover art by Shag and illustrations by Steve Blickenstaff. On that CD, a novella written by Jamie Miles with illustrations by Blickenstaff. The novella, follows the trajectory of the album through a classic story of a man and his car, a classic surf music trope. The difference, is the car is a spaceship and he is relentlessly pursued by an evil alien species and it is up to him to save the day.
One could have an album consisting of number 1 hits, and still have a so-so album. The true power and beauty of the ‘album’ lies in the tracklisting. A perfect album, like Tsar Wars, has a unique feel, tells a story, and causes the world to disappear as you listen to it. Tsar Wars is truly compelling, it’s first track setting the tone of the album. On this track we know something serious is happening as the reversed audio leads to frantic drums and fragile double-picking that resolves to pummeled double-picking only to bring forth a beautiful melody to break the tension before returning to whence it came. As we progress from that perfect opening track the album moves hearts with The Jewel of Duende, creates euphoria with Escape from Gulag 17, and causes us to celebrate with ¡Fiesta Del Cossacapulco! This is an uncertain time, an era of unease, this is Tsar Wars. It is heavy, it is dark, it is triumphant, this is Tsar Wars.
To the author, Tsar Wars went where no surf music had gone before. Arpeggios, double-stops, reverse audio, acoustic guitar, texture, and dynamics to die for. I never had the Shadows or the Atlantics growing up, but I had the Space Cossacks. This is why I am not alone in celebrating the 15th anniversary of Tsar Wars.
Please keep reading for a modern review by our very own Noel and reviews from circa 2000 as well as an interview with Art B of MuSick Recordings.
And be sure to share your thoughts on the forum threads: LINK TO FORUM THREAD
If you're in and around the Edmonoton Alberta area, Come down to The Blind Duck and celebrate spring with us!!
Saturday, April 25 at 9:00pm in UTC-06
The Blind Duck
10416 118 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T5G0P7
As of November 2014, the Surfana CD "Whatever" of surf covers of Nirvana songs is available.
Listen at http://www.jango.com/music/Surfana?l=0
To order, contact ParticipationTrophyRecords@gmail.com or follow the links on our Jango or Facebook page.
Hey! The Beyonderers, a new surf/shred band from Akron, OH, has recently put out their first Ep, Fourth Wave, with a second and possibly third to follow in July 2015. I hope people check it out and like it! Rumor has it their songs are dictated to them via a magic amulet. Love the site, Cheers!
I am biased that's why I don´t write a review is the common way. I will bring a few cds (limited edition of 100 copies only) to the SJSF in June in Italy for swap.
18 tracks in recorded in modern style and with new techniques but still with the feeling of the 60s.
I cannot upload the covers so here is the track list written by hand.
If you live outside from Germany please send an email directly to The Cruncher asking for postage prices. The cd costs 10 € if you buy it directly from him.
The debut EP by equine surf pioneers Horse Rock is now available for digital
download on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, YouTube etc.
Return of the Cnidarians is now available. Men in Grey Suits, a surf band from Hawaii, have just released their first album and it is smokin'. Please check them out.
I'm sad to report that Jimmy Greenspoon, internationally renowned keyboard player, founding member of the New Dimensions band and iconic rockers 3 Dog Night, has passed away following a short, but intense battle with brain cancer.
Last summer, five of the six original members of The New Dimensions reunited after more than 50 years to create a new CD, celebrating the original roots of our music. Jimmy had been flying in to L.A. and Michael Lloyd's studio in Beverly Hills, CA, between touring and performances with 3 Dog, to record with the band. In addition, the band was signed to an agreement for a full length documentary, following the history of the New Dimensions from its inception to present day.
Jimmy was passionate about surfing music, even after all these years. If there is anything positive to report; it is that we were able to complete about 6 tracks of new, original material with Jimmy, prior to diagnosis of his illness. Fortunately, both Michael and Jimmy studied under the same piano teachers early on and with the extensive array of music they completed together both in the studio with Michael as producer and touring with major acts, Michael has agreed to assume the role of keyboard player in addition to his creative expertise and musicianship on bass and lead guitar. The remaing band members including yours truly on drums, Craig Nuttycombe on rhythm guitar and Danny Belsky on sax and flute will carry on to complete the new recording. Initial filming for the documentary is scheduled to commence in April. Following that, we will once again enter the studio to work on the album.
Thanks to everyone for your positive messages, personal wishes for Jimmy's well being and in his passing, your comments, thoughts and prayers for Jimmy and his family. This kind, compassionate and incredibly talented musician, composer and author will be sadly missed by us all.
Drummer, The New Dimensions Band
Many of you know we're running a fundraiser to help Zanti over come the financial obstacles set up by his battle with cancer. Fortunately he's beating it, but the bills are starting to come in and he needs any help that you can give.
If you don't know Zanti, he's one of two guitarists in the S.F. Bay Area surf band The Deadbeats. These guys have been surf music fans since their teens, and quickly became one of the Bay Area's best live surf bands. Channeling the energy of first wave bands like Jim Messina and the Jesters, Dick Dale and the Deltones, Davie Allan, plus Eleki music from Japan. Then drawing further inspiration from modern bands like Satan's Pilgrims and The Treblemakers, Zanti and the guys went on to write their own modern classics like Gooch in Space and Hagbelly (to name only 2).
Zanti and his bandmates are just dripping with talent, and the surf music community is so fortunate to have these young men join our ranks. Speaking of the surf music community, we have really stepped up and put our money where our mouths are. We are over half way to our goal in only a day and a half. At this rate, Zanti will be free from excessive money worries and be able to concentrate on what's really important - making great music!
Please click this link and contribute if you haven't done so already.
Avoid the huge crowds and parking hassles of that other music festival. Catch the best new local wave! It's the 2nd Annual Surf By Surf East!*
Saturday March 14th, prepare to be destroyed by the largest gathering of Surf Rock bands ever assembled in Texas!
It all starts at noon. Make a splash in the back yard of The VORTEX for a celebration with over 30 local artist / entrepreneurs, as well as 10 Texas Surf Rock Bands!
Bat City Surfers
And there will be go-go dancers!
This is a FREE show for all ages! It's all part of the uniquely Austin relaxed outdoor shopping experience of local artisans known as The East Austin Handmade Arts Market at The Vortex, which features creations in a wide variety of mediums, all handmade and appropriate for all ages!
The Butterfly Bar Austin will provide a pipeline of fine beverages all day!
The first 50 people to arrive will get a gift certificate for free ice cream, redeemable at any Amy's Ice Creams location!
Austin's own Deep Eddy Records will also be on hand with a selection of Surftastic CDs for you to dive into!
There is lots of convenient parking, it is on an easy bus route, and pets are also welcome!
Hang until 7:30, then ride it on out to the Nomad Bar. Starting at 9:00pm SXSE continues with Second Saturday Surf...
The Boss Jaguars
...and there are special guests to be announced!
This is also a FREE show, with a full bar, conveniently located East Central with plenty of parking!
Several CD Releases are also taking place in conjunction with this epic event!
We look forward to seeing you there!
*Not affiliated officially or unofficially.
March 14 - 15
The Vortex, 2301 Manor Rd. Austin, Texas