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KFJC Surf Battle Review 6/4/06

A quick congratulations to all the bands in the 10-band whirlwind KFJC Surf Battle on Sunday 6/4/06 at Hotel Utah in San Francisco!

This event has certainly created a great annual tradition for San Francisco, (thanks to Ferenc!) not to mention a fund-raising benefit. I thought it was cool that was being streamed over the internet. Surf goes worldwide (web)! The bands keep getting better each year and each year a few new bands pop out of the woodwork and show their stuff.

Hats off to The Reducing Agents and The Neighbors. It's never easy as the rookies, but the crowd overwhelmingly approved. The RAs have great Surf Punk energy and The Neighbors created a great mood with You Only Live Twice.

Nowadays, veterans such as The Del Mars, The Coppertones, The Lava Rats, Like A Cosmonaut (aka Surf Cinema), The Pyronauts and The Berzerkers each gave great performances. Of course, the "schtick award" goes to none other than Meshuggah Beach Party, with mine boy, Rabbi Mel, leading his ragtag revised minion to new twanging heights...yeah, like Brooklyn's Crown Heights? And Pollo Del Mar's progressive mayhem (that's drummer Jeremy's doing) capped off a great afternoon of Surf.

I guess the theme of the day would be guest star duty - Surf Band Bill (from The Lava Rats) played with The Reducing Agents on bass (way cool!); Lava Rat Taylor doubled on drums for The Coppertones; Paul Pyronaut doubled on rhythm as Jono Jones in Pollo Del Mar and Dino doubled as...well, Dino! I doubled-over at the bar ;-P

Already looking forward to next year.

Anyone with more comments, please add to the thread!

bIG wAvE Dave Becker (Fan extraordinaire)
Bass, The Aquamarines

Short review of HB pier show yesterday

Well the day started off pretty gloomy and foggy. Which I like , but people kept complaing when the sun was gonna come out. Well they got their wish, it cleared up and got hot, too damn hot in my opinion.

First up for us was a new band that most of us hadn't seen yet. The Marauders( sp?) I guess the drummer was in an original band from the 60's by the same name. But I don't know much of the history there. I heard that they had opened up for Dick Dale's New Years eve show at the Coach House. They are all older guys, but with some nice equipment. Old Showmans and Twins, and some huge late 60's or early 70's monster Fender bass amp that must have weighed about 150 lbs. They did mostly covers, but snuck in a few originals. Pretty trad. sounding, with a little bit of modern keyboards on tunes like Telstar. They did the not too often covered Bullwinkle pt.2 by the Centurions. Gotta dig that tune.

There is more to this story, continue reading ...

Vintage Sound Amps - Crafting Blackface-Circuit Fenders

Most of the guitar slingers on SG101 are looking for one thing: blackface Fender sound. Some go the classic vintage route; others go the Fender reissue route. Still others buy silverface amps and have them wired back to blackface circuit specs. Some make do with whatever they can afford, hoping one day for enough dead presidents to buy the dream.

My quest has been to find a Fender amp that has classic blackface tone - without the reliability issues of a 40-year-old piece of electronics. Recently, I found a company called Vintage Sound Amps that does the unthinkable: they build a blackface-correct Fender amp for a reasonable price.

Fender Hayes Twin Reverb

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Short Review of South Bay Surf Stomp #4

Hey All,

A great big Kudos goes out to Ted and Adrien for another fantabulous job on putting together another killer line up of bands. Some new, some new line ups, and some glad to see they are ok and still playing.

Big highlights for me:

The debut in front of the surf crowd of the Pacific Head Hunters, a real energetic group of young guys tearing it up with Sax also, and a mix of Trad, and Modern sounds.

Kelp, always good to see the Santa Barbara Boys come down for a Visit to South Bay.

Marty Tippens new band Flowmaster. He usually plays drums in this new band. But his guitarist was away, so he took the guitar duty, and got a guy to fill in on drums. Killer reverb and pickin as always Marty!

There is more to this story, continue reading ...

The Surfacers

The Surfacers
Green Cookie (2003)

The Surfacers are a hard-driving surf-trio from Argentina. With Matais on guitars, Santiago on bass and Sebastian R. on drums, The Surfacers self-titled 2003 debut CD certainly made a tempestuous splash on the South American surf music scene. This disc literally drips with all the liquid power that the reverberation unit has to offer.

The Surfacers power-trio lineup produces Dick Dale-like energy levels: rumbling drums, fat bass tone, all topped off with the nimble glissando-and-tremolo-picked lead work of Matais' Stratocaster.
The disc begins with "The Russians", a high-energy power-ballad in the "Ghost Riders" vein. Multi-register melodies mingle with the crashing ride cymbal and driving bass work. Like that last rippin' wave at Trestles, it's all over way too soon.

There is more to this story, continue reading ...

The Super Sónicos "Telekinesis"

The Super Sónicos "Telekinesis"
Koala Records (2003)

The Super Sónicos are an quasi-surf group that hails from Montevideo, Uruguay. Their CD "Telekinesis" explores an interesting inner world full of South American reverberation and spaced out synthesizer/organ licks. The influences found on "Telekinesis" range from Man or Astroman eclecticism, to Pixies odd-tempo-beautiful-discord, to a Violent Femmes-esque tribute to the enigmatic Chupacabra.

As a concept album, "Telekinesis" explores the inner realms of psycho-psychic-mind-bending-out-of-this-world-phenomenon: in other words, this CD is a Doors-like reverberated mind-adventure that explores beyond the "doors of perception". Although the album is in no way 100% pure instrumental surf, there are many interesting cuts that might engage the reverb-loving crowd. Tunes such as "Dr. Strangesurf", "Estela de Mar", "Pipemind", "Hypno 500", "Senorita Sueno", "Devil Delvy" and "Frecuencia Hawking" offer the instrumental enthusiast much to digest. "Frecuencia Hawking" (a Beach Boys-esque ode to the mind of Stephan Hawking) is hauntingly reverberated with eerie vocal harmonies and just a touch of that good old tremolo.

Other tracks, such as the vocal "Chupacabras", the experimental "Melodion" and the synth-driven "Sigue Sigue Spacek" offer a more Love Tractor-ish vibe. The vocal cuts are a Spang-lish combination of oddities that enhance the bizarro tone of the CD.

Overall, I found The Super Sónicos "Telekinesis" an interesting and enjoyable listen. If you are looking for something a little retro, something reverberated, something eclectic or something just plain bizarre and weird then give The Super Sónicos "Telekinesis" a spin.

You can visit The Super Sónicos at their website:

SG101 Yahoo Group Now For Announcements Only

Today was the last day for the old SG101 Yahoo Group. I've turned it into an announcements-only style group. Please check it for announcements from me in case something catastrophic happens with the new site (here).

The SG101 Yahoo Group was founded on Oct. 31, 2001, and it was a lot of fun, so today is a little sad. However, I'd like to think this new site is the next logical step for growth. I would like to thank all the members, past and present, for making it what it was, and for making this new site possible.

I know some people liked the email features of the Yahoo Group. I can't offer that (yet?), but I do have RSS feeds available for both the forums and the stories that appear here on the front page. I will make an announcement a bit later about these features. Meanwhile, please contact me via the Feedback link or send me a PM if you are interested in testing the RSS feeds.

I do have most of the messages from the Yahoo Group saved. I will be compiling them into some kind of database in the near future. Meanwhile, members can still search the archives at the old Yahoo Group site (as painful as that is).

Let's hope this new format is even more successful than the last! Thanks, everyone!


The Wet-Tones: Mucho Reverbo

The Wet-Tones: Mucho Reverbo (2004)
(Originally posted on Surf Guitar 101, July 13, 2004)

A band I've been digging hugely for the last couple of months is Italy's the Wet-Tones. These guys get NO recognition in the USA, but their debut CD "Mucho Reverbo" is REALLY good! Not quite reaching the lofty heights of "Dumb Loud Hollow Twang", but definitely one of the best surf CDs I've heard this year.

There is more to this story, continue reading ...

The Surf Coasters - "Live"

Shigeo Naka's long-running Surf Coasters called it quits recently, ending a stretch of ten years, a dozen or so full-length albums, almost as many EPs and singles, and countless unpredictable stylistic changes. Part of their appeal (to me, at least) was never really knowing where they were going to go over the course of an album. While ridiculously energetic and pumped surf was always their specialty (and the one thing they kept coming back to), jazz, punk, rockabilly, metal, funk, country and even techno were all possibilities, and all styles the band explored at some point or another. While the cast of supporting musicians around Shigeo changed many times, both the first and last line-ups lasted through several releases. This posthumous live album, released last month, fills the one hole that previously existed in their convoluted discography—a complete live document (well, not counting the DVD, I guess).

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Los Kahunas: El fantastico sonido...

I just recieved a copy of Los Kahunas "El fantastico sonido Surf & Hot Rod de Los Kahunas" CD two days ago: it's been playing in the DaveJeep non-stop ever since! I am smitten by these reverb-drenched caballeros.

Los Kahunas is an Argentine four piece surf combo consisting of: Big Papu on "guitarra lida" (lead), Alexis B. on "tambores" (drums), Picky Carmoon on "bajo" (bass), and Antonio Carlos on "guitarra ritmica" (rhythm guitar). dressed in their trademark blue tuxedos, Los Kahunas provide the soundtrack for a long summer road trip in the trusty Plymouth Valiant non-stop down south to Tierra del Fuego.

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