Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Kings - Live: 12th Street Bar and Grilldotdotdotdot
artworkAnother excellent live set from one of the most over due for a CD release bands on earth. This well kept secret from the Southland is in the studio now working on their first release. In the mean time, we must make due with the audio hijacking of friend and surf supporter Jay Hector. This is a fine temptation for we, the impatient. Tom Stanton was in the Crossfires in the sixties. Tom heard the Mermen's "Live At The Haunted House," and was blown away. He had been waiting 30 years for that sound. Inspired to get back at it, Tom now heads up his new band the Surf Kings.
Picks: Intro, Black Sea, Undertow, Out Of Control, Cloud Break, South Swell, Pull Of The Moon, Bury The Rat, East Of Jamaica, Road To Mundaka, Juicy Fruit, Voodoo Child / Moon

Track by Track Review


Intro dotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Brooding guitar moodshift... brings the coming storm into view...

Black Sea dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not the serious surfism that others have made of this classic tune, but rather a very playful and infectious party favorite. The sax warbles are very cute, and add an air of exotic silliness that just tops off a mighty grin laden performance. Wonderful, and magical. Visions of dancing girls weave through my dreams....

Undertow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thundering drums, big chunky chords, pummeling energy, and swirling melody line combine into one powerful surf pounder. Very cool vibes within, and super high energy drums.

Out Of Control dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ta-Hu-Wa-Hu-Wai" a.k.a. "Hawaiian War Chant" is speedily chunked out over tribal Polynesian drums, and interlaced with a keyboard cheesier than Don Ho's mai tai. Fine, unpretentious fun.

Cloud Break dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Moody and rolling with a thunder felt through feet dangling in the passing swells while the sucker hole over head temporarily opens. Rhythmic, and with an excellent melody. This will be a killer once it's laid down properly in a studio.

South Swell dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Piano, keyboard melody, and a rolling progression of an R&B party nature. Sax stuff, guitar fills, and that plinkery on the piano is quite spiffy.

Pull Of The Moon dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfisimo like a Central Valley interpretation, suave, soulful, and mean. Not very melodic, but probably great at a tavern.

Bury The Rat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hendrixian, moody, dark, and slow. This walks the fine line between dark psych and surf imagery. This track is clearly inspired by the Mermen, it seems to me. It has Jim Thomas' style written all over it, and I know Tom is a BIG fan. Dramatic, artful, brilliantly composed, and moody.

East Of Jamaica dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rising from bassy feedback and ringing chords in a very Mermen way, this haunting and dramatic track is both sophisticated and magnetic. Huge sounds, and an energetic percussive melody once the main work is accessed. This is more Jimi Hendrix than Mermen in the main part of the song, yet uniquely Surf Kings.

Road To Mundaka dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rolling snare, twisted calliope keys, thumpy rhythm, demented visions, and all from the back side of the merry-go-round. You can just see subnormal mutants frolicking on the lawn while you spin around on the back of a plaster horse. Wee!

Juicy Fruit dotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Not a hint of sticky fruit, just a moody swimming pool of guitar swirl and ominous themes. Quite powerful and dramatic.

Voodoo Child / Moon dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Closing out the set with Jimi Hendrix' "Voodoo Child" and "Third Stone From The Sun" medleyed into a frenzy of dark fire and evil. Some kinda mean.