Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Aqua Velvets - Radio Wavesdotdotdotdot
artworkAfter so many years of fans begging for a live Aqua Velvets CD, they finally did it. This CD is half from KFJC performances in '92 and '94, and from KPFA performances in '94 and '98. They even included introductions from the hosts to the band's performance. They base their music in surf, lounge and exotica in a unique and very sensual way. When they rock, they have unbelievable power. When they slow down, their music is incredibly beautiful. This band has always been best live, full of power and energy, and playing with such beautiful tone. # of these tracks have appeared on KFJC compilations, one even being included on a limited edition CD included with Australia's California Music Magazine. Exceptionally good performances, well recorded, and very listenable. Highly recommended.
Picks: Swampabilly Hop, Bravado, Diamond Head, Spanish Blue, Gringo, Martini Time, Green Sunshine, Surf Mania, Hawaiian Blue, Blue Rhumba, Beauty And The Beach, Mexican Rooftop Afternoon, Guitar Noir, Subterranea, Surf Nouveau, Holy Tiki, Nomad, Nervous On Neptune, Walk Don't Run, Apache, Pipeline / Auld Lang Sine

Track by Track Review

Swampabilly Hop dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Featured on Water Logged, this take of "Swampabilly Hop" is downright infectious. High energy and pristine playing, with a huge finally. Yikes! Recorded live at KFJC.

Bravado dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great chunky jangle, pumping beat, solid bass... The Aqua Velvets display bravado as they deliver "Bravado." Precise, yet very spunky. The dry chop chords in the bridge are very infectious.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets are one of the few bands that play the intro correctly and make seem effortless while they're at it. This is crisp and precise, liquid and sparkling. It sports more spirit than the Ventures' original, while precisely delivering the goods. Excellent!

Spanish Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Spanish Blue" finds an even smoother delivery, with a more liquid feel and an even bigger helping of suave. Amazing. Recorded live at KFJC.

Gringo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This gently rhythmic track sparkles with warm Mexican themes laid out on long flowing notes. The delicate balance between lead and rhythm is a necessary part of the success of this tune, as is the excellent drum work and softly flowing bass. Recorded live at KFJC.

Martini Time dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Speaking of martinis, this highly rhythmic track splashes with fine guitar generated verandah scenes, building slowly like an impending evening in the canteena. A great track with lots of soothing sounds and hot drums. very infectious! Recorded live at KFJC.

Green Sunshine dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is a masterwork of writing, nearly liquid in its sinewy flow. The melody line is beautiful, the and the textures are glorious. It is an extremely picturesque, psychedelic surf piece. Its structure migrates through moderately paced melodic scenes, into speed ravaged wave building power which drops into a harmonically driven pristine pool, and back to a mid tempo end that descends gradually to a stop. "Green Sunshine" is an epic of psychedelic surf, green waters with the sun dancing off the reflected ripples, sunsets in the West, hippie dreams of surf and sand, drama and longboards. The Grateful Dead tribute section continues to bring shivers. Absolutely stunning. Incidentally, this take has also appeared on KFJC's Waves of the West fundraising CD, and the limited edition Sounds From The Inside CD from Australia's California Music Magazine. Recorded live at KFJC. Absolutely stunning.

Surf Mania dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This has long been a staple of the Aqua Velvets. It has a lot of power, and demonstrates their pristine playing well. It is melodic, and full bodied. It invokes the kind of images that you'd expect in s surf video, large rolling waves, riders on the edge, salt spray on the camera lens, you know the scenes. An energetic track. It employs a keyboard, which until very recently, they never used live. Recorded live at KFJC.

Hawaiian Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Soft tropical evenings flow from this very romantic island piece. Like a vacation stroll on the beaches of Waikiki, "Hawaiian Blue" slowly floats across the mind like a warm and gentle breeze. Very pretty. Recorded live at KFJC.

Blue Rhumba dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

How many times have you seen a band that can totally relax into a performance, command the attention of players and punters alike on slow flowing pieces, and play and write the most lush and diverse surf based multinationally influence music? Never? Right, unless you've seen the Aqua Velvets. Don't be surprised if you find them doing grand film soundtracks soon. This band is simply talented. The Spaghetti Western exotic lounge surfadelic masters of the universe. This was recorded in '92 during one of their earliest live on air performances. It displays an early arrangement of this song, and is developmental in their style's evolution. This take also appeared on KFJC's Reverb Central CD. Recorded live at KFJC.

Beauty And The Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is one of their most interesting, with the warmth of the guitar tone balanced against the subtle borrowings from Del Shannon's "Runaway." The spectacular melody line in "Beauty And The Beach" portrays exactly what the title suggests - liquid body lines in the warm sun. A fine track.

Mexican Rooftop Afternoon dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mexican Rooftop Afternoon" is a slower tune with a sinewy melody line and romantic getaway feel. This performance is very clean and emotional. The verse where the harmonics are unleashed is entirely too cool, as is the choppy following verse. It is the variations verse to verse that make this so much more than just great. Recorded live at KPFA.

Guitar Noir dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato lead guitar, images of a moody island, rock tones, and a flowing melody line. Great chemistry and shimmering guitar tone create a very nice track with an infectious rhythm. Recorded live at KPFA.

Subterranea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sinewy sounds of the underground, mid tempo melodic spy theme, plinky sock hop rhythms, for the cave dwellers. Great vibrato, chunky surf rhythms, and a catchy hook. Unusual, like a romantic scene for the C.H.U.D. Recorded live at KPFA.

Surf Nouveau dotdotdotdot
Surf Moderne (Instrumental)

A cool surf rocker of moderate tempo and infectious melody. Big and twangy, great drums, solid bass, and with keys to boot! Yikes, it's too cool. Recorded live at KPFA.

Holy Tiki dotdotdotdot
Tiki Lounge Surf (Instrumental)

"Holy Tiki" is a high energy number with a chord progression that reminded me of the 80's somehow. The song is progression oriented, seemingly simple with a nice hook. Recorded live at KPFA.

Nomad dotdotdotdot
Rockin' Surf (Instrumental)

The title track from their Nomad CD is a stunningly beautiful song, projecting exotic South American coastal scenes viewed from the patio of a cantina. Silky, tribal and sensual, and so beautifully played. Recorded live at KPFA.

Nervous On Neptune dotdotdotdot
New Dawn Surf (Instrumental)

"Nervous On Neptune" has a new day dawning feel about it, a sort of I-don't-know-what-lies-ahead anticipation combined with the quiet excitement of I-can-do-anything. Charmingly warm and aquatic. Recorded live at KPFA.

Walk Don't Run dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Johnny Smith's "Walk, Don't Run" is rocked out like the Aqua Velvets do live, with power and silky smoothness. The keys add to the mix. Recorded live at KPFA.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jerry Lordan's classic "Apache" gets the silky treatment with long leaning guitar notes, well placed whammy, delicate damped rhythms, solid bass, and tribal drums. Very nice indeed! Recorded live at KPFA.

Pipeline / Auld Lang Sine dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets have been including "Pipeline" in their live set for many years. Always rock solid, and twanged to the max, this classic surf tune finds new life under the direction of the AV's. It breaks into "Auld Lang Sine" to celebrate the new year, which never sounded so suave and cool, especially when the wah wah lead comes in. Bitchin'. Recorded live at KPFA.