- Surf Music
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The fourth release by Serbian surf-folk attraction MOUSSAKA is officially out. 4 tracks recorded and mixed all-analog at Down There Studio in Belgrade (Serbia) by Uroš Milkić and MOUSSAKA. EP '1111' brings the interesting artwork by Petar Živić, that is a combination of old banknote designs from ex Yugoslavia. Also on MOUSSAKA's youtube channel you can see the new video for the first single S Kim Si Gde Si, and cool animations inspired by the artwork itself.
The May 2018 issue of Vintage Guitar magazine is featuring every surf player's favorite amp, the venerable Fender Showman 6G14-A. This particular example has apparently fallen into the hands of a collector and is all original. Wow!
Being a Showman 12", it features the separate, elaborately ported 12-inch JBL D-120-F "speaker Projector Ring" (tone-ring) "piggy-back high fidelity Lansing enclosure" cabinet, versus the Dick Dale-approved 15-inch JBL D-130-F speaker. Yet, for the devoted, it is a fascinating look both into an especially well-preserved specimen and at this model's place in history.
Lucky you! Vintage Guitar kindly makes some of their issues freely available on the Web, and possibly only for a limited time. It is available now via online distribution. Follow this link: The Show Must Go On: Fender's 1961 Showman by Dave Hunter
What is "Baja Surf Stomp"?
"Baja Surf Stomp" is an annual event dedicated to the promotion and showcasing of the national and international Instrumental Surf Music scene in Mexico; organized by "Planeta Reverb" & "Barracuda Production" since 2015. La Paz, La Ventana and Todos Santos (Baja California Sur) are the "hot spots" of the mini tour through the Baja Peninsula. The 5th edition (BSS-V) will take place from December 6th to 9th, 2018. Go to www.facebook.com/bajasurfstomp and find out more!
05.16 - White Swan - Houston, TX
05.17 - Snuff Film District - El Paso, TX
05.18 - Sky Bar - Tucson, AZ
05.19 - Quail Lounge - Phoenix, AZ
05.20 - Moustache Bar - Tijuana, MX
05.21 - Galería Arma - Mexicali, MX
05.22 - Phosphorus Bar - Ensenada, MX
05.23 - Tower Bar - San Diego, CA
05.24 - 1720 - Los Angeles, CA
05.25 - Mission Tobacco Lounge - Riverside, CA
05.26 - Evel Pie (6PM) - Las Vegas, NV
05.26 - The Garth (9PM) - Las Vegas, NV
05.27 - Flagstaff Brewing Company - Flagstaff, AZ
05.28 - Moonlight Lounge - Albuquerque, NM
05.29 - ??? - Santa Fe, NM
05.30 - The Deli - Norman, OK
05.31 - Trax 66 Collective - Tulsa, OK
06.01 - Backspace - Fayetteville, AR
06.02 - EJ’s Eats and Drinks - Little Rock, AR
06.03 - Smoke N Barrel - Fayetteville, AR
06.04 - Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
06.05 - Barley Street Tavern - Omaha, NE
06.06 - ??? - NE/KS
06.07 - Barleycorn’s - Wichita, KS
06.08 - Pondstock - Trenton, NE
06.09 - ??? - CO/WY
06.10 - Three Kings - Denver, CO
13.06 - De Bakkerij - Castricum, Netherlands
14.06 - Brigant - Arnhem, Netherlands
15.06 - Kultura - Liege, Belgium
16.06 - Marina Bar - Basel, Switzerland
17.06 - Urgence Disk - Geneva, Switzerland
18.06 - 19.06 - ??? - Italy
20.06 - Prodotto Non Conforme - Lucca
21.06 - Surfer Joe Festival - Livorno
22.06 - ??? - Italy
23.06 - Honky Tonky - Seregno, Italy
24.06 - GOB Ganz Of Bicchio Circolo ARCI - Viareggio, Italy
25.06 - ??? - Italy
26.06 - Taverna Tortuga - Turin, Italy
27.06 - L'Engrenage - Grenoble, France
28.06 - Thunderbird Lounge - Saint Etienne, France
29.06 - Skatepark Des Pont Jumeaux - Toulouse, France
30.06 - Olympic Cafe - Paris, France
01.07 - Kinky Star - Ghent, Belgium
02.07 - Kultuurkaffee Twee Poorten - Ghent, Belgium
03.07 - ??? - Germany
04.07 - Pumpehuset - Copenhagen, Denmark
05.07 - Stellwerk - Hamburg, Germany
06.07 - Ilses Erika - Leipzig, Germany
07.07 - Dorffest - Fieberbrunn, Austria
08.07 - ??? - Slovenia
09.07 - 13.07 - ??? - Croatia
14.07 - Hangar Bar - Izola, Slovenia
15.07 - 17.07 - ??? - Slovenia/Slovakia/Czechia
18.07 - Toast Hawaii - Berlin, Germany
19.07 - ??? - Germany/Belgium/NL
20.07 - Kefee Hatseflats - Venlo, NL
21.07 - Jetlag Festival @ ADM - Amsterdam
24.07 - ??? - Boise, ID
25.07 - Twilight Cafe - Portland, OR
26.07 - Highline Bar - Seattle, WA
27.07 - The Wild Buffalo - Bellingham, WA
Center of the Surf
Calling The Madeira a Surf Band is like calling the Boston Pops a municipal orchestra, it’s true, but doesn’t really tell the whole story. One of the great things about the Boston Pops is that they could play familiar songs, and make them sound recognizable, yet include complexity that was there for the taking if you cared to give it second, deeper listen.
Likewise, The Madeira operates on more than one level. At first listen, it is Surf music, well performed and accessible, but there is more to it than that. Going past a casual listen you can hear a complex harmonic concept and some devices not commonly heard, such as Hungarian minor scales which add a refreshing element which set this band apart from many of their peers.
In this day of low cost home recording, it is possible to have nearly infinite takes and each member can contribute parts recorded in the comfort of their own home, but live recordings are another matter altogether. There’s nothing to hide behind in a live setting, which brings us to their latest offering. Together, let us Journey to the Center of the Surf, which coincidentally, is the title of the first track.
Journey to the Center of the Surf starts off with an energetic introduction gives way to a melody with depth and then refrains which return to the energy of the intro. The bridge breaks the tension and returns us to a variation on the melody with the high energy refrain shortly thereafter. One never quite knows what to expect next in Journey to the Center of the Surf.
Hail, Poseidon! starts off sounding a bit like an ‘80s Pop tune, think U2 or The Police, but then goes into a clear minor key melody with an ascending motif which builds tension until it cascades back to the starting point of the melody. Somewhere around the 60% mark the intro is repeated and while the timbre is quite different from the body of the song, it fits perfectly.
Ancient Winds is mellow, but still energetic. To my ear, the harmonic structure is what stands out the most. Descending chords resolve in interesting ways. Once again, this is a song full of surprises.
The Argonaut starts with classic high energy drums followed by a flurry of energy from the lead Guitar which then builds to the melody. The energy and feel are reminiscent of Dick Dale while the melody sounds like it could easily fit a SciFi theme. Behind all of this, the rhythm guitar drives on providing a very solid sonic backdrop.
Leviathan fits its name well. There is little consensus about what a Leviathan actually is, a sea monster, crocodile or some other kind of frightening beast from the deep, but this song contains more than enough drama to cover all of the above. It is the feel of classic Surf at its best. A key change a little past the halfway point boosts things slightly along the way, but the song hardly needs it.
Into the Deep is more introspective and provides a change of pace. One could easily imagine this song in the background of a quiet interlude in a James Bond movie. Of everything on the album, this strikes me as the most evocative. Could this represent the thoughtful period one would feel after surviving an encounter with a Leviathan? Whether intentional or not, the order of these two songs, Leviathan and Into the Deep, is perfect.
Dilmohammed sounds very much a part of the Middle East. The mind is drawn to visions of ancient marketplaces, tents and camels. Starting somewhat softly the body of the song comes on strong. The Surf drums work beautifully against the melodic motifs. The sound is exceptionally simple and straightforward, contributing to the impression of the ancient bazaar. It is appropriate that this song was first recorded on an EP entitled Ruins, it sounds like it should accompany a movie scene set in a place that was very busy, and filled with intrigue, long, long ago.
Undercurrents is a song with a strong melodic element, supported by a solid clean sound which harkens to early Surf and even before. This melodic element does not, however, restrict the harmonic motion in any way. There’s a lot going on in this relatively short song.
Ricochet is originally from the Sandstorm CD. While the speed is right up there, the energy level is a bit more relaxed. A Shadows device of repeated ending to a phrase is employed at the end of the first verse and as rapidly as the notes come along, the timbre of the lead guitar is bright but nowhere near harsh. I hear a lot of Shadows in this track.
From this point on, the quartet becomes a sextet with the additions of John Blair on guitar and Johnpaul Balak on bass. The power increases noticeably with these additions and a powerful band becomes a sonic juggernaut, without resorting to heavy distortion. Never does the sound use definition.
Tribal Fury has a power that is reminiscent of Link Wray. While nothing on this album could be described as languid, this track is like a string of powerful locomotives moving a heavy line of cars up a mountain pass. “This ain’t your pappy’s surf music” is spoken at the end and indeed, it is so.
Sandstorm starts off twangy, a la Duane Eddy but then the Surf feel comes to the fore. After the bridge the song mixes it up, returning to the Duane feel at times but never straying too far from the less laconic feel of Surf as opposed to the twangy vibe of Instrumental Rock’s first guitar hero.
The Intruder (Listed as Intruder #1 & Intruder on the Ruins EP) starts off almost softly (in a loud sort of way due to the live setting) and proceeds along the lines of a modified Andalusian Cadence which brings to mind Flamenco Music. About a minute and a half in the pace becomes considerably less laid back and the energy of the song goes off-scale, complete with power chords, as Intruder #1 gives way to Intruder. Having two basses and two rhythm guitars on this track redefines the term “Wall of Sound”. About halfway through there is a lull which then slowly builds back to a much higher level of energy. The bass plays arpeggiated figures which contribute to the melodic interest of the tune as it reaches a climatic, and sudden end.
One thing that strikes me is the quality of the writing. Patrick O’Connor wrote five of the songs, Ivan Pongracic wrote or co-wrote five songs with the two remaining songs apparently having come from outside of the band. None of the songs are predictable, most of them are harmonically rich, even complex. None of the songs are particularly laid back, with the exception of Into the Deep, but the overall level of energy and excitement varies greatly, even in different passages within the same song.
I will add only this, from my perspective as a player. Playing Surf without sounding shrill is far from an assured outcome. It takes skill and experience to find the balance. Well played Surf music is a technique-intensive exercise for all musicians. In many ways, the songs on this album are probably as challenging as many classical pieces. The right-hand tremolos involved amaze me. What I hear on this live recording stands up well to the standards of speed set by Dick Dale himself. The sound of the band avoids the all-too-common mistake some Surf bands make of too much reverb. (All banter aside, it is possible to have too much reverb on a Surf recording and it can really detract when overused.)
The live performance is solid, the songs well-written and imaginative. This may be one for the record books.
Spin The Bottle defines the free ranging Pool Boys approach to songwriting. Like the best mix tapes, the music on this album is all over the map. Just hit the shuffle button and you get fast ones, slow ones, some groovers, some art, some dopey stuff, and some vocals. Vocals? (Yes, and with apologies to our “instro only” fans!) Drift back to the loose radio days of the 60s when you might have a vocal and an instrumental version of the same song racing up the charts at the same time – think “Grazin’ in the Grass, “In With The In Crowd,” “Ghost Riders,” “Born Free” and many more. It was huge fun to hear how the same song can be rearranged in different ways, and it gave the Pool Boys a chance to work with some talented Bay Area vocalists.
Spin The Bottle, take a chance and embrace change— and the biggest change on this album is that the Pool Boys line-up solidified into a tight, consistent unit. So, rather than every song featuring guest artists sending in tracks from around the world like on the first two Pool Boys albums, the whole CD was recorded in one weekend with the dedicated band of five. Dusty Watson (drummer for The Sonics, Dick Dale, Agent Orange, Slacktone) was brought in as chief ass-kicker (Producer). Ass-kick he did, whipping the Pool Boys into a tight unit, streamlining arrangements, encouraging dynamics, all with attention to sonic detail.
Spin The Bottle is Frankie & Pool Boys third full length album on the Double Crown Records label and features 20 songs. That’s 14 new originals, 2 covers (Booker T and the MGs, The Surf Coasters) and 4 vocal versions. Every effort was made to use vintage instruments, recording equipment and techniques. The album cover art was created by legendary Oslo artist Fred Lammers.
Coming soon- videos, tour dates, free stuff, complete chord charts and tablature
It is with great pleasure that I present the new album from Robotron: Gorgonzolah's Revenge.
For those who don't know who Robotron is, here is a little explanation:
Robotron an intergalactic instrumental music project based in Bergen / Norway. The brain behind Robotron is known as Bjørn Hovland, half Norwegian and half Brazilian who was raised in Rio de Janeiro / Brazil and moved to Norway not long ago.
In 2016 Robotron released their first album: Robotron Vs. the invincible and indestructible Reptilicus. Two years after, Robotron comes with the second part of the trilogy: Gorgonzolah's Revenge. The album is being released by a brazilian label Morcego Records.
That's it, enough of that. The link to listen to the album is below. Grab a beer, put the headphones on and enjoy.
Facebook page: Link
First album: Link
second album: Link