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Center of the Surf Review

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.


Announcing the release of the Madeira's "Center of the Surf" CD

We are extremely excited to announce the release of "Center of the Surf" (Double Crown Records), the Madeira's second live album, this one recorded at the 10th Surf Guitar 101 Convention at the Alpine Village in Torrance, CA on August 5th, 2017. It was recorded and mixed by Mark Linett, triple-Grammy-winning producer and audio engineer who has worked with a long list of legendary artists, among them the Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Frank Zappa, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul Simon, Los Lobos, Jane's Addiction, and Los Straitjackets. (See here for the full accounting of his many accomplishments). The tracklist is focused on the songs from our most recent studio album, "Ancient Winds", and we were also joined for the final three tracks of the set by John Blair on second rhythm guitar, as well as Jonpaul Balak on second bass guitar, making for an epic six-person line-up and a sound that can only be described as extraordinary in its scope! The cover and the CD package were designed by Stephen Blickenstaff, the well-known artist behind dozens of album covers (and many other artistic endeavors - as well as the theremin player in Atomic Mosquitos!), including most famously "Bad Music for Bad People" by the Cramps.

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The CD will be available for mail-order from Double Crown Records on April 24th, but we will have it available at our two CD-release shows next weekend, at Melody Inn in Indianapolis on Friday, 4/20, and the Player's Pub in Bloomington, IN on Saturday, 4/21 (as well as Southgate Revival in Cincinnati on Saturday, 5/5). We hope you can join us for these all-surf shows - see more details here and here.

Finally, we're also thrilled to announce that the compilation album of the 2017 Surf Guitar 101 Convention will be released by Sierra Records in July, and it will include two exclusive tracks by us, recorded at the convention but only available on this compilation. All the tracks on the compilation were again recorded and mixed by Mark Linett. Stay tuned for more info about this exciting release.

We hope you pick up and enjoy "Center of the Surf" and that we see you at one of our many upcoming shows in the next six months, whether in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, or Florida and New Jersey!

(Check out this brand new video, once again ably edited by Patrick, accompanying the live version of "Leviathan" from the "Center of the Surf" CD: https://youtu.be/UfOm_3UBKCw )


V2 PERSISTENCE OF SURF MUSIC .. MIDWEST

Only a few days away .. Not a bar gig .. These are special. The MADEIRA, the BLACK KAT DEVILS. & the GRATEFUL SURF this Saturday 21st.

Persistence of surf music v2

Adventure usually means taking a journey into the unknown. Often it is said that the surf and instrumental music of today's scene is about as underground as the Grateful Dead were in 1965. Actually the GD cover artist Rick Griffin had album art experience first from working for the Challengers and other surf bands and magazines. Soo...not too far off

The feature act of the V2 PERSISTENCE OF SURF MUSIC has world renown and has top reviews in many magazines like PIPELINE and GUITAR PLAYER . Most information can be found by looking at the band's website . A true adventurer would find this.

A series of which this is - # 2 , three great bands : featuring the MADEIRA hailing from Indianapolis and Hillsdale Michigan. Written up in Guitar player , traveled Europe, website www.themadeira.net , they have six great CDs out.

http://youtu.be/cHs_s6fu3vg Sandstorm - the Madeira

http://youtu.be/Bib9TC75uxI Geronimo - the Madeira

http://youtu.be/jBzePrphU88 The Saracen- the Madeira

http://youtu.be/EQok0Jsi85k Tribal Fury - the Madeira

The BLACK KAT DEVILS , sure we spelled their name wrong on the poster. They go on first so get her early.

http://youtu.be/3M9Ts53NQFM. Tailspin ( with old guitarist Andy )

http://youtu.be/IrdfzntVwCc. Toxic train

The Grateful Surf . Great dance music and too much like fun .....go on third.
www.grateful-surf.rocks.

Grateful Surf on u toon
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aSRkVLEsPY
Sep 30, 2012 - Uploaded by MrTikiTim
The Grateful Surf at Battle of the Surf Bands in Oxford Ohio on 9-15-2012.

Plenty of surfy product and CDs for sale... Helps support the event and pay the bands.

URBAN ARTIFACT located at 1660 blue rock street Cincinnati
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The Madeira - Ancient Winds CD

The Madeira - Ancient Winds CD (Double Crown)

The Madeira are back with their most diverse release to date - soaring guitars, pounding rhythms and exquisite, nuanced songwriting make this perhaps the best release by the band so far. Their previous studio CD, Tribal Fires, was named as the runner-up in Pipeline Instrumental Review's "Album Of The Year" awards for 2012 (and their latest release, the live Sonic Cataclysm album, won the Pipeline album of the year award last year), but this disc somehow manages, through the relentless efforts of all four musicians, to top it in what's sure to be one of the top releases of 2015. Ancient Winds features 12 original songs as well as a cover of The Atlantics' "Coral Island". Several of the songs were collaborations with some of the premier guitarists and songwriters of the last 50 years, including Jim Skiathitis of The Atlantics, Danny Snyder of The TomorrowMen, Jeremy Dehart of the Aqualads and Alex Faide of Los Twang! Marvels. Original cover art was created by Lorraine Schleter and CD layout by Ferenc Dobronyi.


Tracks: Journey To The Center Of The Surf - Hail, Poseidon! - Ancient Winds - Sirena - Caravela - Farthest Shore - Dawn In Cadiz - Coral Island - Prelude To Launch - The Argonaut - Here Be Dragons - Leviathan - Into The Deep

The Madeira - Ancient Winds CD - DCCD65 - $12.75 (Order From Double Crown Records)


Get Ready For A Sonic Cataclysm - New Live CD From The Madeira Available For Pre-Order!

It's the 10th anniversary of the famed surf/instro rock combo The Madeira, and to celebrate they're releasing their first ever live CD! Recorded at the Melody Inn in Indianapolis last December over two nights, the band delivered an amazing set packed with long-time fan favorites, some choice cover tunes and even a few brand new songs from their upcoming full-length studio release! It was recorded and mixed by Tommy Schichtel of The Concussions, and features amazing, moody cover art by the incomparable Steve Blickenstaff!

Tracks: Introduction - Tribal Fury - Everybody Up - Surf Fidelis - Cities Of Gold - Witch Doctor - Jungle Drums - Burning Mirage - Macarena - Caravela - Farthest Shore - Night Rider - Mar Vista - The Saracen - Tangaroa - Wreak Havoc! - Undercurrents - Ricochet - Sandstorm! - Intruder

(PRE-ORDER) The Madeira - Sonic Cataclysm: Live CD - DCCD54 - $12.75

Click To Pre-Order From Double Crown Records

CDs will start shipping on June 14th. That evening you can also buy the CD from the band at their CD Release Show at the Melody Inn in Indianapolis, IN. Also appearing on the bill are The Volcanos and The Mystery Men.

You can also sign up for the Double Crown Music Club - members will receive a free limited-edition Madeira poster with the CD!

Get the scoop on the band and their upcoming CD at www.themadeira.net or their Facebook page.


HBISM Surfin' Sunday Concert Aug 12th, 2012

Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum Presents: Surfin’ Sundays Concert at Pier Plaza - Sunday August 12th, 2012.

This concert is dedicated to Eddie Bertrand of Eddie and the Showman, The Chantays Gil Orr, HBISM Founder Natalie Kotsch and HBISM World Ambassador Ann Beasley as well as Surfguitar101.com Founder and Webmaster Brian Neal and in memory of “Baja” Marty Klenz who recently passed away.

  • BAJA MARTY’S EXTENSIVE CD COLLECTION WILL BE ON SALE AT THIS CONCERT…PROFITS FROM THE SALES WILL HELP MARTY’S WIDOW PAY FOR HIS MEDICAL BILLS.
  • HBISM 25th ANNIVERSARY T-SHIRTS, LOGO MUGS, LOGO TOTE BAGS, BAND CD’S, BAND MERCHANDISE AND VENDORS WILL BE AVAILABLE DURING THIS CONCERT!!!
  • WE HAVE AN AWESOME MEMBERSHIP PACKAGE DEAL WHICH CONSISTS OF A 25TH ANNIVERSARY T-SHIRT, LOGO MUG, TOTE BAG, MUSEUM STICKER AND MEMBERSHIP FOR ONLY $25.

This year marks our 25th Anniversary and 16 years of great music from dedicated musicians who donate their precious time in support of the museum and our Surfin’ Sundays Summer Concert Series. Periodically we have legends such as Dick Dale, John Blair & Paul Johnson dropping by.

SURFIN’ SUNDAYS BANDS:

  • THE INTOXICATORS direct from Florida are Southeast Surf/Rockabilly/Space masters.
  • LOS VENTURAS Euro-Instrumental/Surf/Ska/Soul troupe from Belgium on their second US visit.
  • EL RAY Denmark Surf rockers will perform on our stage during their first American tour.
  • THE MADEIRA the group that many consider the best modern surf band in the world, direct from Indiana, featuring material from their new album Tribal Fires.
  • 9TH WAVE East Coast Surf, Sci-Fi, Spy, Hot-Rod veterans are celebrating their 6th album.
  • THE EXOTICS from Wisconsin have been one of the best traditional surf mainstays since 1994.

11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission to the Concert is “FREE” but donations are greatly appreciated.

Location: Pier Plaza Amphitheater 315 Pacific Coast Hwy Huntington Beach 92648
HBISM Phone: 714-960-3483

Check our website www.surfingmuseum.org for the complete schedule and information.


The Madeira - Tribal Fires CD (Double Crown)

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The Madeira - Tribal Fires CD (Double Crown)

After eight years of adventures through the Saharan deserts, with “Tribal Fires” the Madeira have gone Sub-Saharan, into the dark and mysterious depths of central African jungles. It’s a journey that finds the band exploring new sounds with a highly diverse album, ranging from the most aggressive to the most melodic songs (including a tribute to The Shadows) the band has ever done – and everything in between. There are 13 songs in total, of which two are covers: an original arrangement of Ernesto Lecuona’s “Jungle Drums,” and the Atlantics’ “Giant”.

Order Now From Double Crown - $12.75

Tracks: Tribal Fury - Cities of Gold - Twilight - Fire Sacrifice - The Expedition - Witch Doctor - Jungle Drums - Arcadian Voyage - Mar Vista - Giant - Pre-Ritual - The Ritual - Zanzibar

Get more information on The Madeira, including upcoming shows, on their website: www.themadeira.net, or at www.doublecrownrecords.com.