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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.

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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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The Bambi Molesters: Dumb Loud Hollow Twang – Deluxe

The Bambi Molesters: Dumb Loud Hollow Twang – Deluxe (Dancing Bear 2003)
(Originally posted on Surf Guitar 101, July 13, 2004)

1997's "Dumb Loud Hollow Twang" was the first release by the fantastic Croatian surf band the Bambi Molesters. I was lucky enough to get the original version of "DLHT" when it first came out, and enjoyed it through the years. It has since become a real rarity and a collector's item, especially once the BMs started being hailed as the best modern surf band in the world by European press, Croatian music industry, as well as REM (who have taken the band under their wing, giving them opening slots on their European tours, helping them produce the records, etc.). However, I always felt that the relatively poor recording quality of the original album masked the greatness of the songs. So I was very happy to find out that the band rerecorded the entire album in 2003. The new CD, though enjoyable, initially did not impress me much: the same songs, and at first listen they didn't sound THAT different. That was about a month ago. Since then that damn CD keeps finding its way into my player on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times! I've now come to realize that in fact the old recording DID hide one of the greatest surf albums of the last decade.

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Satan's Pilgrims: Plymouth Rock – Best Of

Satan's Pilgrims: Plymouth Rock – Best Of (MuSick 2004)
(Originally posted on Surf Guitar 101 and Reverborama on April 12, 2005)

It's been more than a few months since this has come out and several other people have reviewed it by now, but I just thought I'd throw my two pennies in (judging solely by the length, it's more like 'my $20' – the value is probably still two pennies ). I've been digging the hell out of this CD and I can't recommend it enough for all the surf music fans out there. Plainly speaking, this is a MUST buy! The Pilgrims have in many ways defined the nineties surf scene, and they are probably the most influential nineties surf band today (a Danish surf band El Ray have even named themselves after an SP song, as well as actually copied the SP sound; the Nebulas have never been shy in voicing what SP mean to them; and I see the Pilgrims come up quite often in interviews with other newer surf bands). They were among the most prolific of the nineties surf bands, as well, breaking the 'two-CDs-and-no-more' curse that afflicted many others (the Fathoms, the Penetrators, the Space Cossacks, the Treble Spankers, the Huntington Cads, Husky & the Sandmen, the Eliminators, the Volcanos, etc.). Between '94 and '99 they released five full CDs, each one packed with many, MANY brilliant and inspired moments.

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Amp Review: Fender Super Sonic & Kustom Coupe 72

Hello Folks!

As promised, here's my review of the Fender Super Sonic. I also checked out the new Kustom Coupe 72, as I was interested in that one also. Before I begin, here's the disclaimer:

Everybody's ears are different. (I have Spock-like ears, but I have long hair that covers them ) So what sounds good to me might not sound great to you. Just keep that in mind as you read on...

First up: The Super Sonic!

I went into the local music store with the direct intention of checking this amp out, and to probably buy it. I've been using a vintage Twin Reverb for years, but she's gettin old, and the repair costs are getting a little high. Plus she can't handle the rigors of the road like she used to. So, I had plenty of time, and didn't rush anything. I took 4 guitars: DiPinto Galaxie, '62 Strat, Reissue Jag and a Dano Hodad. And awaaaaay we go!

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The Atomic Mosquitos: "Release The Mosquitos!"

The Atomic Mosquitos: "Release The Mosquitos!" (2005)
(Originally posted on Surf Guitar 101 and Reverborama on July 25, 2005)

I've recently gotten the sophomore album by the Atomic Mosquitos, "Release The Mosquitos!", and wow, it's great! The Atomic Mosquitos are from Frederick, Maryland (outside of Washington, DC), and I've known their drummer Craig Stang for many years now. He even filled in on drums for Doug of the Space Cossacks on several occasions. I'm so happy to see that Craig is not only still playing surf music, but that he's got one hell of a band!

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Dick Dale in LIFE magazine: 1963

article from August 30, 1963 LIFE magazine (p 82-83):
"King of Surfing Music", pictorial and article by Bill Ray

Title: "LIFE visits Dick Dale, 'King of Surfing Music': The Good Life of an Idol"

"Out of the West Coast has come a thumping teenage idol who is part evangelist, part Pied Piper and all success-- Dick Dale, chief purveyor of an ear-splitting noise called 'surf music.' The pounding rhythm of this wet rock'n'roll presumably echoes the sound of the big California surf, and Dale himself seems to echo the longings of the 12 to 20 set, who swarm to hear him wherever he plays, buy up his record albums and have lifted him into the $100,000-a-year bracket. At the moment, Dale is on his first nationwide tour, a six-week project he took on grudgingly because the life he loves is back home in California. There he goes surfing every morning, shows adoring visitors his menagerie of exotic animals, roars around in sports cars and lives it up in a bachelor house at Costa Mesa."

"He improvises most of the music he makes and admits that 'top-notch musicians would scoff at it.' But he uses it to attract kids so he can make friends with them, listen to their troubles and exhort them to civilised behavior. Liquor, short pants, fights and Capri slacks for girls are banned from the ballroom when Dick Dale plays. He refuses to issue pass-out tickets, thus preventing forays to the parking lot for nips and necking. He ends each performance with a spiritual, often interupts his playing to hand out advice: 'You must believe in treating the other person just like you'd want him to treat you.' He also says: ' You must learn humility' and takes his own advice, permitting no applause after his numbers."

The Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar, Vol. 1-3

The Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar, Vol. 1-3 (Sundazed, 2003)
(Originally posted on Surf Guitar 101, Sep 13, 2003)

I got these three CDs about 3-4 weeks ago, and have been slowly digesting them. There are almost 60 tracks by something like 30 bands on here, so there's a lot to get a handle on. However, the more I listen to these three CDs, the more I like them. It's quite amazing that Sundazed was able to dig out this many songs, many if not most of which are very rare and have not been available on CD, and some which see the light of day for the first time.

The first thing you'll notice about these CDs is the absolutely SUPERB packaging! It's quite stunning, in fact. Each CD comes with its own fold-out booklet, with gorgeous original color photos of the bands and Fender's promo material; and on the face of each CD is one of Fender's Holy Surf Guitar Trinity: Strat, Jag and Jazzmaster. Each CD also comes with copious and excellent liner notes: vol. 1 by Dominic Priore, Vol. 3 by John Blair (can't remember who did Vol. 2 right now, and I don't have the CDs here). Also included are all sorts of interesting quotes and recollections by the original musicians themselves – for example, the lead guitarist of the New Dimensions says that the Jag with flatwound strings is really `thee' surf guitar, and that a Strat really WASN'T a surf guitar – something that Dick Dale, Paul Johnson, Eddie Bertrand, Jim Messina, Jim Fuller, Art Fisher and many others may disagree with! Anyway, great kudos to Sundazed for such a wonderful job with the packaging. WAY above the call of duty, and surpassing ever their own high standard of excellence.

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Devlar Surf Sessions Celebrates 5 Years!

Ray Duke's Devlar Surf Sessions has just celebrated 5 years of operation over at Live365 Internet Radio! Ray started his station to play his favorite band Slacktone, and quickly expanded to play the best in surf, hot rod, garage, tiki, spy, space, and lounge. Congratulations Ray, and THANK-YOU!

Check out Devlar Surf Sessions.