Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Da Surfones - Demos and Live Tracksdotdotdot
artworkDa Surfones are Spain's latest surf exponent. Their debut tracks on the "A Nuestra Aire + Montse + Da Surfones" compilation were nice, but this is excellent. It contains 9 studio demos, plus a slab of live (and rehearsal?) performances. Some brilliant and grin-inducing arrangements, some wonderful writing, and some really good surf grace this CD-R.
Picks: El Darrer Bottom Turn, Tema de James Bond, Last Night, Mar Cruel, Pateras en el Estrecho, El Pollastres A L'ast No Corren, Tendido 69, Walkin' With Mr Dee, You Can Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance, Surf Atomic a Mururoa, Surf Rider, Meteors, Pipeline i Red Monkey, Stampede, Idyle, Tempeste En Viu, Baja, Apatxe, Platja Nudista, El Pollastres A L'ast No Corren, Ladelander Wave

Track by Track Review


El Darrer Bottom Turn dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This mid seventies single is some kinda weird. The pure surf reverb on the second guitar and the rhythm section are as trad as they come. The lead guitar is wah-wah peddled all the way, with occasional damped reverb passages. It's quite time warped, and darn fun. Imagine this showing up in the stack single to review during the heyday of disco - no Donna Summer sound alike vocals, no syndrums, no regulated artificial bpm timekeeper. What were they thinking?

Tema de James Bond dotdotdot
Garage (Instrumental)

Disjointed, thrashing garage instromaniac grind, stingingly interrupted as if from another time and place. Intense, thick, bashingly fun, and mosh-pit insane.

Last Night dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Eskimo Surf" sports an infectious melody, a rock edge, and cool almost xylophone-like keyboards. Nice arrangements, and very unusual writing combine to create a fresh and appealing sound. Almost dinner surf, maybe supermarket surf, but not in the negative way you might think of from that, but quite pleasant and very accessible. Fine track.

Mar Cruel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Mar-Ketts classic tune, back from the dead like a discordant vampire in search of an abandoned neck. The ska backbeat and electric piano lead lines are very cool. It's a highly unusual treatment of this over covered tune. New Wave thumpy, TVOD pointed, and gnat irritating in a good way.

Pateras en el Estrecho dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yup, this is the theme from "Chariots Of Fire" all decked out with a new wave guitar, electric piano, and prancing sensibility. You can just see them grinning while they dash this out. Completely fun.

El Pollastres A L'ast No Corren dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Crossfires' tune from 30 years ago. The Crossfires version is better, but this is just about as fun as they come, and I'd guess audiences pogo'd till they dropped.

Tendido 69 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures, Bobby Fuller, and many others did this tune so many years ago. It's fun, but not very different. Energetic and spunky.

Walkin' With Mr Dee dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas' marvelous tune, best done by the studio band the Catalinas, is less intensely put forth here, energetic but not up to the challenge of the tune. The ringing piercing guitar tone is missing, but all the thunder and drums are there, and the power chords to. Solid.

You Can Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's classic well done, surfed out with damped reverb and extra whammy, makes for a solid and interesting interpretation.

Surf Atomic a Mururoa dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Super Stocks album track rhythmically churned out, missing the Richie Podolor guitar tone, and relying more on bass thump, but still quite listenable.

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thick plundering fuzz-reverb guitar, lumbering bass lines, slow-to-fast pace changes, and a progression based melody line. It's dramatic, like Kraut rock surf circa 1973. If only Amon Duul II had recorded some surf tunes. A bit too disjointed for my taste.

Meteors dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lolly Vegas (and his brother Pat) were studio session players, originally from Louisiana. They were the sound and authors behind the Avantis, were the foundation of the Mar-Ketts on the road, and were at the head of Redbone. This is nothing like any of their surf instros, not like "Wax 'Em Down" or "Phantom Surfer." It does open with a Dick Dale slow glissando, but quickly drops into a pummeling groove of double picked frenzy and big guitar twango.

Pipeline i Red Monkey dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky, grodie, fumigated rolling thunder, progressional, but infectious and energetic.

Stampede dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The middle eastern pop tune that Dick Dale made into a household word is delivered fluidly, a bit slower, and with an infectious arrangement that's not quite trad, but very close. Nice track.

Idyle dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Chunky, percussive, progression based, frat rockin', waiting for a melody line.

Tempeste En Viu dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This live recording of one of the tracks from their debut release is different in character. It has a different energy, less pristine and more lively. This is a very pretty tune, with strong loud lead guitar. It blends a few elements not often together, a soft almost MOR rhythm guitar, and dramatic inspired drums. The bass is solid and appropriate for the piece. The many changes keep it lively. Unusual and interesting.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Drum Rock (Instrumental)

This is a funny sorta song, with a playful edgy guitar line, and a relentless funky percussion and bass groove. Lead guitar on the track is played by Dennis Edmunton, the original lead guitarist with Canada's legendary Sparrow. Dennis left Sparrow over band direction disputes after they became Steppenwolf. You may better know him as Mars Bonfire, the writer of "Born To Be Wild."

"A Drum Is A Woman" was pulled and reissued as "Witch Hunt" following protests from Southern California women's groups, who were offended because the title suggested beating women like a drum. Ironically, Sandy Nelson meant nothing of the sort. He meant by the title that drums should be treated with the same reverence and respect that women should be. He was dumbfounded by the furor, and reacted by retitling it accordingly.

The reissue features a distant guitar note and a Wolfman Jack voice (Frank Beeson) crying "Witch Hunt" dubbed over the opening in a kind of political statement about the attack its name had incurred. This was co-written by Mars Bonfire and producer Frank Beeson.

Apatxe dotdotdot
Studio Rock (Instrumental)

"Hunk Of Drums" a sensually rhythmic meandering through Sandy Nelson classics "Teen Beat," "Drums Are My Beat," "Let There Be Drums," "Drums A Go-Go," and "Wipe Out." The medley is fun, but not terribly inspired.

Platja Nudista dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The studio version of "Nudist Beach" appears on their CD release, but is recorded live here. Heavily influenced by Robert Mitchum's "Beat Generation," this jams in a beatnik fifties style, with twangy guitar and rolling piano. I found this to be a very fun track.

El Pollastres A L'ast No Corren dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Crossfires' tune from 30 years ago. The Crossfires version is better, but this is just about as fun as they come, and I'd guess audiences pogo'd till they dropped.

Ladelander Wave dotdotdot
Studio Rock (Instrumental)

Great drums, playful lightweight guitar into, and an almost movie theme melody line come together here for a solid track. Both the guitar work and the kit action are precise and nicely counter balanced.