Vintage Guitar Magazine Review
Almost from the beginnings of surf music, bands proved you didn’t need to ride a surfboard to create great sounds. Witness the Ventures from Tacoma, Washington. Or those purveyors of one of the greatest of nonsensical anthems, Minneapolis’ Trashmen and their “Surfin’ Bird.” Even Dick Dale spent more quality time picking his Strato- caster than catching a breaking wave.
Enter this cool collection of brave new surf bands. The 20 groups here hail from around the globe – many from landlocked, wave-starved locales that have never so much as seen a seagull. Bands from Finland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Argentina, Croatia, Sweden, Italy – even Alabama – are checked.
Austin surf super group the Thunderchiefs ride high with their way retro “Estratrosfera” featuring Shaun Young and Mike Guerrero on guitars. Their sound drips with reverb and a “Miserlou”-esque melody.
“La Caja del Muerto” by Sweden’s Barbwires is led by Mike Barbwire’s overdriven guitar tone backed by the Blue Ocean Orchestra string section. The result is something like ELO playing rockabilly. Groovy.
Daikaiju from Alabama is part the Ventures, part Devo, the band often performing in Japanese kabuki masks and sci-fi uniforms. Guitarists “secret-man” and “rock-man” unleash progressive surf music with effects and bizarro sounds that travels far beyond mere reverb and echo.
All of the 20 cuts here are from 2008 through 2011. Brave New Surf proves that surf is alive and well.Michael Dregni - Vintage Guitar Magazine
Rock And Roll Revue
In addition to the Beach Boys who sang popular music baptized as surf, but who practiced surfing on waves, instrumental surf groups from the beginning of the genre spent more time in the studio than romping on the sea waters, if in fact they did so at all. No need, though, to own a surfboard in order to create sounds that evoke the fury of waves. So, don’t look for a link between the ocean and these current 20 groups or guitarists (from 2008 to 2011) who appear on this compilation, some of whom have probably never seen a seagull outside their windows. They come from Finland, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Argentina, Croatia, Sweden, Italy, Alabama, and Austin. I know several of them, and I’ve just discovered the others. I’ve noted here some of my favorites, though their sounds are all different: “Sea of glory“ (Los Twang! Marvels), “Washout“ (Aqualads), “El Palmero“ (Phantom Four), “7 Mares“ (Los Kahunas), “Ewa On the Beach“ (Frankie & the Pool Boys), “Estratosfera“ (The Thunderchiefs), “Walking Tall“ (Eliminators), “Karabasan“ (Deadbeats). The rest of the tracks aren’t bad, either. Indeed, rockin’ instrumental surf is very much alive.Bernard Boyat - Rock And Roll Revue
Duke: Surf Rock Music Website - Surf Rock Music Website
Brave New Surf
Reviewed by: Duke
Brave New Surf is a fantastic CD. It brings together 20 great bands on one disc. Combined, they serve up a 20-course music feast fit for kings and queens. Their 20 instrumental surf tracks offer a superb listening experience that's filled with a variety of styles from around the world.
The liner notes that accompany Brave New Surf are amazingly thorough. The notes contain an informative biography of each band. A track list provides copious information about each song, the band who recorded it and their website address.
The liner notes also include an introduction by Ivan Pongracic (lead guitarist for The Madeira). He explores the history of surf music, its evolution and the resulting influence on today's bands and their music.
Get ready for fun and excitement as Brave New Surf entertains you with 65 minutes of world-class instro surf sounds.
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Wonderman From Intiö - El Supernaut knows surf, big wave type of surf. Power-packed guitar playing, rockin' rhythms, thumpin' bass lines and hot drumming make for a great surf tune and a great opening track.
Sea Of Glory - Reverb ... cool, thirst-quenching reverb. Sea Of Glory is awash in reverb as Los Twang! Marvels max out their tanks. Everything about Sea Of Glory screams surf. Los Twang! Marvels know how to deliver Neptune's goods. Sea Of Glory will intoxicate any surf lover with rapture of the deep.
Cherry Cheeks - Lively and bouncy, Cherry Cheeks evokes imaginings of warm summer mornings, surfboards strapped to woodies and days filled with surfing, parties and good times. El Ray's Cherry Cheeks is a fun tune, guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Borgo Pass - Neat, spooky tune by The Coffin Daggers. You get the feeling that something ominous is waiting out there, somewhere, for that one foolhardy traveler who dares to enter Dracula's domain. Sooner or later one of those impudent souls will come along. They always do. Just ask our well-fed ominous friend. Dig the way that eerie keyboard adds spookiness to this frighteningly ghoulish tune.
Washout - Power, power and more power. I'm talkin' Thor's hammer type of power. Now imagine a 100 foot wall of water with the force of Neptune behind it. Add the crushing power of Thor's hammer to the mix. Stir in boatloads of reverb and dynamite playing. It's a great recipe, cooked to perfection by the Aqualads.
Momentium - I really dig the thrust of this song. The rhythm guitar drilling those reverb-laden eighths makes Momentium a very cool surf tune with a hot rod edge. Check out the reverb-soaked staccato attack at the 2:56 mark. An excellent track by The TomorrowMen.
El Palmero - Wild drumming sets the pace and feel of this terrific surf 'n' spaghetti number. The Phantom Four's creative arrangement combines the best of both worlds. Their liberal use of driving eighth notes creates intensity, the type of intensity that makes you wonder what's going to happen next. Sergio Leone would have loved El Palmero.
Mosquito Royale - The Atomic Mosquitos buzz bombed Brave New Surf with this fab surf track. I gotta tell ya, if I was lounging in my backyard and this group of mosquitoes wanted to take a bite out of me, I'd let them ... providing the itch cream was mixed with Mosquito Royale. High-spirited, fun tune.
7 Mares - Very relaxing number by Los Kahunas. 7 Mares has a pretty South Sea Islands flair. It's easy to daydream about clear blue water, palm trees, mai tais and hammocks. Speaking of mai tais, I don't know which is more inebriating, 7 Mares or mai tais. Oh well, it really doesn't matter. They both get the job done. On second thought, the edge goes to 7 Mares. I'm snockered on its sound.
As The Dark Wave Swells - An incredible track by The Bambi Molesters. It's like a 41/2-minute symphony, with many movements. Their remarkable arrangement, replete with horns, strings and piano, makes As The Dark Wave Swells something extraordinary to behold. The mix between surf and orchestral instruments is absolutely breathtaking. The drumming is perfect and accentuates the beauty. As The Dark Wave Swells has to be heard. It's amazing.
La Caja del Muerto - Rapid-fire, hard-hitting surf, with the kick of a bucking bronco. The Barbwires' La Caja del Muerto kicks ass and takes names. The strategic use of horns and strings adds to the muscle of this monster tune. La Caja del Muerto is potent, board-busting surf. Hang on for a great ride.
Ewa On The Beach - Smooooth. Man, this is one smooth surf song. Frankie & The Pool Boys are smoother than a glass lake. Ewa On The Beach would have been perfect in the 1960's television classics 'Surfside 6' and '77 Sunset Strip'. Ewa On The Beach has Hollywood written all over it.
Estratosfera - Lofty, mysterious and predatory surf, with the latent power of an F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber. Be sure to check out that super neat drumming at 2:03. The Thunderchiefs know how to play, big time. A great surf number, The Thunderchiefs reach the stratosphere with Estratosfera.
The Khazar - Better hold onto my bootstraps before The Secret Samurai blow me away. The Khazar is lightning speed surf music with a mind boggling array of double picking, glissandos, staccato attacks, pizzicato attacks, more attacks and then some. My bootstraps didn't help. I'm absolutely blown away.
Witch Doctor - This is a super neat song. The Madeira open it with a cool, rhythmically possessed bass riff. Then some haunting, tremolo laden guitar chords come forth. Now the mood for is set for what is to become an eerie midnight festival of mayhem and madness. Witch Doctor is the perfect snake oil for whatever ails you.
Walking Tall - The title describes it perfectly. Walking Tall has a proud, self-assured feel to it. It should be the theme song for any confident man. Walking Tall generates a feeling of happiness and all things positive. It's an uber cool track by The Eliminators.
North Swell - Surfer Joe pours on the coal with oceans of reverb, waves of shimmering tremolo and dynamite drumming. Check out that explosive drum solo at 1:25. North Swell is pure surf, powerful surf, what instro surf is all about.
Karabasan - Opens with a wicked drum solo that kicks this baby into orbit. The Deadbeats put the pedal to the metal and never let up on the gas. The power and intensity of Karabasan is totally overwhelming. This is Mount Vesuvius on steroids and it's all captured on CD.
Laser Runner - Daikaiju nailed me with this one. I was wearing my headphones and it felt like I was trapped in a video game. Something was there. I don't know what it was, but it definitely was there ... chasing me. As panic set in, I kept yelling at Daikaiju to let me out. Daikaiju's response? Turn up the power. Laser Runner kept growing in strength. That thing kept getting closer. My panic deepened. Then, just like that, it was over. Thank goodness it was only a dream ... at least I think it was a dream.
Floating Home - The Anacondas will relax you with this soothing, dreamy song. Floating Home is the type of music you can imagine being played as you drift, without a care in the world, on gently rolling waves at sunset. Margaritas anyone?
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Brave New Surf offers a truly great opportunity to hear the styles and sounds of 20 terrific surf bands. It's a veritable who's who of the bands making their mark on today's surf music scene. Brave New Surf is one CD you don't want to pass up.
Pipeline Instrumental Review - Issue #88
This compilation creates a great first impression thanks to it's neatly detailed, info-packed insert. It's eight sides contain full band credits for each track with the source album and each musician named. In addition there is an informative paragraph about each act with highlights of their history and releases. Full marks then to Ivan Pongracic (of The Madeira) and Sean Berry at Double Crown for doing such a fine job on this.
But the most important factor is the music, and there's no doubting that this is a well-chosen 20 track compilation. These are all current surf bands with albums under their belts - there are no one-off wonders here, and all bar one of the tracks has been selected from their albums. There is plenty of reverb guitar of course and all are undeniably surf, but the variety that the different bands bring whilst keeping their roots firmly in the 60's is very satisfying - and good news for the future of the genre. One contributory element is the international origin of these bands, they come from Finland, Germany, Denmark, Argentina, The Netherlands, Croatia, Sweden and Italy, as well as from all compass points in the USA.
Duetting treble and baritone leads from El Supernaut announce the album with a storming blast of surf guitar, and with Los Twang! Marvels' busy double-picking and some tasty chords from El Ray it's Europe that opens the door throguh a triple whammy of tracks. The US picks up the challenge with the snappy guitar and 60's organ of The Coffin Daggers, some pounding spy-surf from The Aqualads and a descriptive melody reminiscent of "The Girl From Ipanema" from The TomorrowMen. Flourishing flamenco chords underpin "El Palmero" from The Netherlands' Phantom Four, Washington's Atomic Mosquitos splash out on "Mosquito Royale" before Los Kahunas deliver some South American spaghetti-surf with their immensely dramatic theme "7 Mares". Croatia's Bambi Molesters add colour courtesy of strings on the title track of their "As The Dark Wave Swells" album which leads neatly into The Barbwires' use of strings on their mighty powerful "La Caja Del Muerto".
It's over to America for the next five. Firstly there's some sweetening courtesy of a touch of steel guitar on an acclaimed modern surf classic from Frankie & The Pool Boys and then The Thunderchiefs wear their 60's surf influences on their sleeves with a dramatic melody in the "Exodus" mould. Organ makes it's second appearance in support of the rather frantic "Khazar" by The Secret Samurai but is followed by a mouth-watering taster from the upcoming fourth CD by The Madeira and a contribution from The Eliminators, the oldest group here having formed in 1002 and now joined by surf star John Blair. Italy's Surfer Joe is Europe's biggest promoter of surf music, honoured here by being the only "all instruments by" act. But fear not, he knows his stuff and this is a sparkling performance on all instruments - including drums - and California's Deadbeats deliver a colossal surf blast. This is the last of the more traditional mainstream surf on the album as the mysterious Daikaiju provide the more modern guitar sounds in their five minute surf-rock symphony and The Netherlands' Anacondas to wrap things up with the cosy "Floating Home" in surf-lounge style.
Be warned, buying this album is just the first step - if you're a surf fan you'll soon be hankering after more from most of these bands.Alan Taylor
New Gandy Dancer - Issue #106
Brave New Surf is a collection of the best of modern instrumental surf music from around the world, and it's a brave decision indeed to do such an album for 2011/2012. But then again, Double Crown do great work on compilations with an attempt to find new instrumental product rather than churning out endless comps of artists we already have. Kicking off with a bang, both El Supernaut and Los Twang! Marvels drench us in the passion that is surf guitar in a wild and healthy manner! El Ray, The Coffin Daggers and The Aqualads keep the flag flying with more uptempo twang and spy surf than we could hope for. The TomorrowMen (who we enjoyed on a full length disc last year on Double Crown) drive on with a great cut before The Phantom Four push on with a tasty theme. We've met The Atomic Mosquitos and The Kahunas before and neither let us down on this showing with more of that guitars, bass and drums rock we love. Two other names we know - The Bambi Molesters and The Barbwires - add to the party and the Bambis give us the first slower and beautiful number so far while The Barbwires are merciless with their axes on a grinding rocking surfer. Frankie & The Poolboys actually have a little Shadows in their lead guitar while The Thunderchiefs pull in a little Mexicana to their fine offering. Secret Samurai we know from earlier work and their contribution oozes fast tricky picking. The Madeira are a class act ad their broodin cut impresses. The Eliminators with their clean picked and melodic theme sound great and Surfer Joe just drips with reverb. We loved The Deadbeats and their hard driving style and Daikaiju totally change the format with a really unusual concept which pricks up the ears. The album closes with The Anacondas in a lovely, gentle exotica world that is delightful. There's no Pipelines / Wipe Outs or Penetrations here just a cool blast of NEW material and for many tired ears this is just what we want. There's great edgy surf instrumental in this set from Finland, the US, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Argentina, Croatia, Sweden and Italy. We received this set mid December 2011 but it should be first on your 2012 shopping list. Double Crown's best compilation ever. * * * *Dave Peckett
"I had to drive for three hours and was trying to not fall asleep at the wheel. I desperately threw in Brave New Surf, hoping some music would do the trick. Next thing you know I’m bouncing to the rhythm and wide awake! Great tunes for a road trip or party."
Brave New Surf
Yeah! What a strong comp! label comps are often not that strong, but Brave New Surf is one mother of a collection of modern surf bands. Not just modern surfbands, but really good bands. Highly recommended!
Picks: The Anacondas - Floating Home, Aqualads - Washout, Atomic Mosquitos - Mosquito Royale, The Bambi Molesters - As The Dark Wave Swells, The Barbwires - La Caja del Muerto, Daikaiju - Laser Runner, The Deadbeats - Karabasan, The Eliminators - Walking Tall, El Ray - Cherry Cheeks, Frankie and the Pool Boys - Ewa On The Beach, Los Kahunas - 7 Mares, The Madeira - Witch Doctor, The Phantom Four - El Palmero, El Supernaut - Wonderman from Initio, Surfer Joe and his Boss Combo - North Swell, The Secret Samurai - The Khazar, The Thunderchiefs - Estratosfera, The TomorrowMen - Momentium, Los Twang! Marvels - Sea Of GloryTrack by Track Review
Floating HomeGo-Go Surf (Instrumental)
"Floating Home" does just that... it closes out the album gently, carrying you home on a raft driven only by a warm breeze. Very pretty indeed!
Big whammy, long sustain, spy imagery, and dark surf guitar. James Bond on a surfboard, and superb drums. Thunder and danger and mystery. Great track!
Mosquito RoyaleSurf (Instrumental)
"Mosquito Royale" has an infectious rhythm and an adventure driven melody. Great energy and tone, with notes dribbling like water drops from the lead guitar. Perfect for a coastal drive at the limit. This song really grows on you.
As The Dark Wave SwellsSurf (Instrumental)
"As The Dark Wave Swells" opens with a gentle guitar melody on guitar complimented by tremolo guitar. It becomes a lush easy moving number with a beautiful melody and romantic sound, then another verse in, superb tom toms and keys add spaghetti drama. It's a lovely song that's hard to escape.
La Caja del MuertoSurf (Instrumental)
Violins and horns-keys accompany dark surf guitar for big screen drama. "La Caja del Muerto" is very cinematic, with sweeping panoramic imagery. Highly original and risk-taking. This is totally infectious!
Borgo PassSurf (Instrumental)
Some engaging things happening here, with cool guitar licks and haunted keys. "Borgo Pass" is rather original. Great drum work, and some fine playing from all.
Laser RunnerArt Surf (Instrumental)
Right from the hammered bass line you know that "Laser Runner" is going to be special. Its vibrato guitar and military beat are relentless. This song creates an eerie and scary scene. drama, sophistication, and creativity abound!
Heavy, hard charging, slightly Mediterranean, and powerful. The guitars shred, double pocking both lead and a dark counter melody. This is a monster, with flying glissandos and a tone of energy.
Walking TallSurf (Instrumental)
With the echoed, easy whammy flow of The Shadows, "Walking Tall" moves through very endearing territory. The melody is very well written, and the almost galloping arrangement well suited to it. Its tone and sound are hard not to like.
Cherry CheeksSurf (Instrumental)
Fuzz guitar, bass, and drums provide a garage backdrop for the surf guitar melody. "Cherry Cheeks" is a fine track with a tasteful melody riff and a solid, if easy sound. The chords midstream remind me of Amon Duul II's "Surrounded By The Stars." Original and compelling.
Ewa On The BeachSurf (Instrumental)
This is another very fine track, with an island lead guitar that's all slippery and Hawaiianesque. There's a European flavor to the guitars, but just a touch. The layered axes are really cool, and there are plenty of changes to keep it fresh, as if its chemistry wasn't enough. Excellent!
7 MaresSurf (Instrumental)
Wonderful whammy and a sparkling melody, with jangle rhythm guitar. "7 Mares" is an easy track to like, in part because of it's warm tone, as well as its playful melody. Excellent!
Witch DoctorSurf (Instrumental)
Thick and powerful, as The Madeira often are. "Witch Doctor" sounds dangerous and dramatic, and features pure liquid glissandos. This is a very strong track!
El PalmeroSurf (Instrumental)
Open road adventure with superb drums and a very strong guitar melody. "El Palmero" is a splendid track, with some double picked lines, and many engaging string swipes and chokes. A bit of Spanish flair is here too. The energy here is infectious!
Wonderman from InitioSurf (Instrumental)
Fast, sometimes double picked, dramatic, and very adventurous. "Wonderman from Initio" has a sense of classical Spanish melody, with surf guitar and racing drums. This is a splendid track!
North SwellSurf (Instrumental)
Wonderful muted rhythm guitar on the right, chords and tremolo on the left, and pure surf tone in the center in a classic Astronauts arrangements. The bass is excellent, and the drums rip in the break. "North Swell" is a splendid track with a very cool melody.
The KhazarSurf (Instrumental)
Big drama and splash in this busy guitar exercise in Russian themes. "The Khazar" is a fanciful and exciting piece of music dripping surf from every corner. It's very adventurous and fun.
Powerful muted surf rhythm writhes in support of splendid guitar lines and a tuff rhythm section. A fine melody, dramatic production, and infectious energy. "Estratosfera" grows on you.
Crunchy and open road adventurous, with a vacation on the map. "Momentium" has a sunny disposition. Great whammy chords and drums. The arrangement works really well - beefy without being invasive. I like this.
Sea Of GlorySurf (Instrumental)Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
"Sea Of Glory" is a track with a catchy traveling feeling. The rich tone and superb muted notes, along with the dribbled double picked lines, and the original and very likable melody line really make this shine. It gets finished off with glorious whammy chords, and then it grows on you! Very cool!