The Penetrators - Kings Of The High-Speed Weekend CD (SSS)
"Welcome to the Amazing and Dangerous World of The Penetrators, agents of the Southern Surf Syndicate - where high-speed weekends aren't just a catch-phrase, they're a way of life."
If your tastes in instrumental surf-rock veer toward the traditional side of things, you will undoubtedly love the latest release from The Penetrators. This 10-track disc features seven original tunes and three covers. I gotta say, the originals blow away the covers here. Their version of "Baja" is pretty good though, and yes, they are fully aware that this song has been covered hundreds of times. They just wanted to have a crack at it. They've been ripping up the south, playing with the likes of Man Or Astroman?, The Woggles, and The Phantom 5ive, now they're ready to take on the entire country. This will give them the ammo to do just that! (Southern Surf Syndicate, P.O. Box 20715, Tuscaloosa, AL 35402.) (The Continental #1)
Madeleine Peyroux - Dreamland CD (Atlantic)
I was dumbstruck while listening to this disc - this woman sounds exactly like Billie Holiday. She even does one of her standards, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter and thanks her in the liner notes. Musicwise, she doesn't stick to straight lounge-jazz, mixing in a few modern sounds here and there. Otherwise, this is a pleasant disc to listen to, especially if you're a fan of Lady Day. (Continental #4)
The Phantom Surfers - The Exciting Sounds of Model Road Racing
"America's #1 masked surfing band is also America's #1 masked slot-car band."
This is a great reissue of The Phantom Surfers ode to the fabulous world of slot-car racing. Listening to this reminded me of the days when I had a slot car set. My brother and I raced for several hours a day during Christmas break, until it broke down and became another neglected toy (we could have bought new cars for it, but we moved on to other new and exciting toys). Musicwise there really isn't much difference between instrumental surf music and instrumental slot-car music. The cars didn't really make much noise, so you can't add sound effects to the tunes (like all of the classic hot rod tunes). So what you got here is just another fine collection of Phantom Surfers tunes - buy it today! (Continental #4)
The Phantom Surfers - Istanbul/Tokyo Twist (Lookout)
Wow! This could possibly be my favorite Phantom Surfers release ever. They've never put anything out that I didn't like (I am one of the lucky few who doesn't have their Planet Pimp 7" in my collection, so I can't hold that one against them), but this one is just a cut above the rest. Istanbul starts off has a nice n' chunky rhythm guitar and some dee-lish-us picking over the top. Tokyo Twist (a Mel Bergman original) on the flip has a great Far East flavor, just like tasty noodles out of a styrofoam cup. (Continental #5)
Plank - Hula Love Cassette (Demo)
Plank play instrumental rock with an edge, very similar to latter day Dick Dale. This is straight-ahead rock n' roll with very little evidence of the standard surf beat. Other than the song titles on this 5 track demo cassette it's hard to classify this as surf music. The playing and production are excellent - this is highly recommended for fans of the modern instrumental sound. (Continental #5)
Plankton - Pick Your Own 7" (Ochre) Plankton have done the only punk cover of a Leonard Cohen song that I have ever heard. Between the singer's accent and the distortion on the vocals I don't have a clue what they're singing about, but I suppose that doesn't really matter. Punk's usually not my bag, but I kinda liked a few of the tracks on here. If you can imagine a punkier version of The Fall then you'll get an idea of what's going on here. (Continental #5)
Pollo Del Mar - The Ocean Is Not For Cowards (Pop)
"They formed Pollo Del Mar around surf roots but with an ear for modernizing the classic sound."
Their latest release starts off with Teleport '63, a raging tune which starts off every PDM show. Many of the tunes here have appeared on various compilations, but have been re-recorded for this release. I dig how they effortlessly shift gears between raging uptempo tunes and laid-back 'loungy' ones. My favorite tunes were Teleport '63, Playa Pistola, and To Surf, With Love. You can check 'em out on-line at www.pollodelmar.com, where you'll also find an excellent list of links. (Continental #4)
(*) Louis Prima - Capitol Collectors Series
This 26-track collection is probably the best introduction to Louis Prima's music you'll find domestically. Along with Keely Smith and Sam Butera, Louis Prima ruled Vegas from the early 50's through the mid 60's, playing an infectuous style of big band jazz music. The songs he is best known for can be found here: "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody", "Jump, Jive, An' Wail", "The Lip", and many more. Several of the tunes here are duets with his then-wife Keely Smith. For a true taste of Vegas 50's in it's heyday, this is it! (The Continental #1)
The Psyclone Rangers - Beatin On The Bat Pole (World
No press kit was included.
If you dig high-octane, booze-fueled rock n roll, The Psyclone Rangers are for you. This 10" contains six blasts of smokin garage rock with revved up guitars and dirty vocals. My favorites include Fuel City and Little Man With A Gun In His Hand. (The Continental #2)
(*) The Pyramids - Penetration! The Best Of The Pyramids
On this 20 track compilation you'll find all of the tunes that made The Pyramids one of the coolest and most energetic bands of the first surf explosion. Best known for Penetration, this disc also contains amazing cuts like Road Runnah, Pyramid Stomp, Koko Joe, Contact, Pressure, Bikini Drag, and Midnight Run. I wish there were more liner notes, or more accurately, any liner notes. There's a photo of them after they shaved their heads, but that's it. I wish there was info on their history, their reasoning behind shaving their heads, and more. Still, the songs are great and I guess that's what really matters. (Continental #4)
Click here to go back to music reviews.