FMF Episode #20 – Surfing

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DJ:  Hello again and welcome to Feel Me Flow!  Today we’re gonna grind some gnarly waves in our surfing episode!  International Surfing Day is typically held on the third Saturday of June, which just passed last weekend.  Originally brought to mainland USA by Hawaiians and Native Polynesians, the sport saw an explosion in popularity in the 1960s Southern California scene.  With help from a plethora of beach movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean’s music, and the beat generation books about running west, the sport would become a staple in the area.  Every teenager wanted to skip school, head to the beach, and catch some waves!  In honor of the sport and its venue, we’re playing all kinds of surf and beach songs.  We’re gonna hear songs about locals only, surfing birds, menstruation, a few covers, and get real wavy at the end of the show.

Behind us, we heard The Tornadoes doing “Bustin’ Surfboards” from 1962.  The band released one album with the same name including the song but never made it past that.  Quentin Tarantino would later use this track in his 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction.

Kicking off our show is the infamous SoCal band Surf Punks.  While not making waves in the mainstream, the band had a local following.  You can look at this one of two ways, really interesting or really terrible.  Either way, enjoy!  Here’s “Meet Me At The Beach” from Surf Punks.

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DJ:  Surfer Blood released their debut album Astro Coast in 2010 to very positive reviews.  The band has gone through all kinds of drama since their inception, including losing their bassist to sarcoma along with lead singer John Paul Pitts getting arrested for domestic battery.  The rock star life may not be for everyone it seems.  After getting through the tough times, the band ushered a comeback this year with the release of Snowdonia; their first with new members Lindsey Mills and Mike McCleary.  We played “Floating Vibes” from their debut.

FIDLAR begged to be heard in their ode to drummer Max Kuehn.  “Max Can’t Surf” comes from their debut LP.  Minnesota’s finest surf rockers The Trashmen gave us their famous hit “Surfin’ Bird” from the 1963 album of the same name.

The Trashmen would stop releasing material in 1967 until 2013 when they would unite with Deke Dickerson for a four-song EP.

Kings of the beach Wavves played us one of their theme songs from the album of the same name.  “King Of The Beach” follows a vibe first put out by the almighty surf punks.  Although the production values are vastly different, the song structure between “King Of The Beach” and Surf Punks’ “Meet Me At The Beach” is pretty close.

More SoCal alternative coming your way now with Weezer doing “Surf Wax America” from their self-titled debut.

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DJ: Pearl Jam released Backspacer in 2009; their first since No Code to hit number one and longest-charting album since 1998’s Yield.  Fueled by the raucous “The Fixer” and acoustic “Just Breathe” the album would go on to be their biggest seller of the 21st century (so far).

Before Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, we played Joe Strummer and The Clash doing “Charlie Don’t Surf” from their 1980 triple LP Sandinista!.  The Sandinistas were a political party named after Augusto César Sandino, who led the Nicaraguan resistance against the United States occupation of Nicaragua in the 1930s.  The album would find mild success compared to the follow-up Combat Rock, which launched the band into international fame.

Boston band Pixies took plenty of cues from The Clash’s punk rock view.  Black Francis notoriously put out a classified ad seeking a female bass player who liked both Peter, Paul And Mary and Hüsker Dü.  Kim Deal was the only one to answer and showed up without a bass guitar as she had not known how to play.  With the release of the single “Here Comes Your Man” in 1989, the band reworked another track from Doolittle; “Wave Of Mutilation”.  They slowed the song down and gave it a bit of a surf feel, hence the title of the version we played, “Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)”.

Before Pixies, we played Canadian indie musician Afie Jurvanen, or Bahamas as he is known.  “Waves”, the lead track of his Bahamas Is Afie album, helped kick off an LP that would go on to win the Juno Award for Adult Alternative Album of The Year.

Weezer kicked off the set with “Surf Wax America”.

Alright, let’s get into some plagiarism!  The Beach Boys ripped off Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” so blatantly that Chuck Berry now shares songwriting credits with them.  Granted, the melodies are basic and easily identifiable, it is still quite similar.  Listen for yourself!

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DJ:  The Drums‘ first single “Let’s Go Surfing” was first released on their debut EP Summertime.  The song would get a slot on their debut album a year later and would make it onto a Volkswagen commercial.  That whistling, it’ll get you every time.

Prior to The Drums’ surf jam, we heard an ode to menstruation from Seattle’s Tacocat.  The song’s music video would put them into the national spotlight after Katy Perry stole their image and shark costumes for her infamous Super Bowl performance.  The band wasn’t too happy about getting ripped off but also wasn’t interested in a giant legal battle over a dancing shark.  To their credit, to us, it totally looks like she lifted that vibe.  Shame on you Katy Perry, like you need to steal from anyone!

From a “Crimson Wave” to the blue waves of Malibu, we featured Jan And Dean and The Beach Boys back to back.  Both groups led the surf craze days of the early 60s, although The Beach Boys would go on to achieve a much larger amount of fame.  Jan And Dean are credited with pioneering the vocal harmony sound that The Beach Boys would make famous.  Nearly every other song they wrote was about surfing, all the way to Jan Berry’s car wreck.  After spending two months in a coma, Berry would work his way up to walking again and eventually make it to the studio a year later.  They recorded an incredibly psychedelic album in 1967 (Carnival Of Sound) that wouldn’t see the light of day until 2010 when Rhino would release it.  We played “Surf City” one of Jan and Dean’s biggest hits.  The Beach Boys’ Chuck Berry ripoff “Surfin’ U.S.A.” played before that.

Now we’re gonna do a bit of a beach block bash.  While some of these bands are a bit more known than the others, they’re all still pretty unknown to the main public.  For that reason, we’re gonna feature all five bands as Set 4 Score bands!  Here’s Feel Me Flow’s favorite New Zealanders, Scared Of Girls, doing “Beach Teens”.

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DJ:  The Frights didn’t have intentions to become a full-time band when they played a one-off Christmas show in 2012.  After an audience member approached them in hopes to sign them, they decided to go with it.  Hailing from SoCal, their second LP was produced by Zac Carper, the frontman of FIDLAR.

Surf Curse put out a stellar album this January 2017.  Clocking in at 25 minutes and 9 songs, you’d think it was an EP, but the album carries like a full-length.  The band headlined a free show at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in June of 2017.  Their supporting acts were Tacocat (heard earlier) and Starcrawler (a previous Set 4 Score) band.

Howler wedged our “beach block” with the side-1 track-1 from their debut America Give Up, “Beach Sluts”.  After breaking up in 2017, the future was unknown for the members of Howler other than lead singer Jordan Gatesmith, who formed Wellness in its place.

SoCal beach goths The Growlers released their fifth album City Club last September.  With a track produced by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, the band has started to build a following outside of California.  The band holds the annual Beach Goth festival in Oak Park, CA every year, and is scheduled to host again this October.

At the head of the set was Auckland, New Zealand’s Scared Of Girls.  One of the first little-known bands we played, we felt it was unfair to not feature them on a Set 4 Score and give them their dues!  Their debut EP SUCK is available now.

Might as well continue the beach theme, right?  I mean, that’s why we’re here today!  Here’s Beach Slang doing a blistering cover of Dramarama‘s “Anything Anything”.

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DJ:  Fenix TX first called themselves Riverfenix until River Phoenix‘s estate filed a cease and desist order towards the band.  River Phoenix died outside The Viper Room; the nightclub on Sunset Strip partly owned by Johnny Depp.  After Blink 182 bassist Mark Hoppus heard Riverfenix the band’s debut, he helped get them signed to MCA and had them open a tour with Blink 182 in 1999.  After band drama caused tension between members, Fenix TX would split after just a few years together and two full-length albums.  They did, however, reunite for a few shows and EP in 2016.

Peach Kelli Pop played “Nude Beach” from the third self-titled LP they’ve released to date.  We featured PKP as a Set 4 Score artist in our Dreams episode and are big fans of theirs.  They released Which Witch in April of 2018 and are rumored to have  new LP on the way.  The question is, will it be self-titled?

Australian group The Delltones gave us their cult classic “Hangin’ Five” from 1963.  Not traditionally a surf group, the band would morph sounds and make surf music to jump on the surfing bandwagon that the early 60s provided.

Before “Hangin’ Five”, was The Ramones doing “Rockaway Beach” from 1977’s Rocket To Russia.  Their third album in two years, and second of 1977, would offer a slight surf rock vibe mixed in with their punk rock.  They would cover “Do You Want To Dance” by Bobby Freeman, and “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen on the album as well.

Leading our set was Philly punk band Beach Slang.  They Here I Made This For You: Volume 2 earlier this year, an EP full of covers and sequel to Volume 1 from last year.

Sticking with Philadelphia, let’s hear some Philly R&B with The Orlons.  Are there even beaches in Philadelphia?!  Doing their surf track “Surfin'” from the surf compilation Everybody’s Goin’ Surfin’, here’s The Orlons.  Surf.

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DJ: Brian Eno joined up with John Cale in 1990 to put out a collaborative album titled Wrong Way Up.  The album would yield Eno his only single to reach an American chart with “Been There, Done That”.  In 2000, Sugar Ray would cover the track for the Danny Boyle movie The Beach.

The Aquadolls are out of La Mirada, California and although they have massive plays on Spotify they have yet to break it big nationally.  We have no idea why!  Expect them in a Set 4 Score soon.  They’re too good to not feature on their own.

Before them, we heard New York indie band Cults doing “Go Outside” from their 2011 debut.  The song has always held such a positive, sunny vibe to it and that was the entire reason we played it.

Brian Eno joined up with John Cale in 1990 to put out a collaborative album titled Wrong Way Up.  The album would yield Eno his only single to reach an American chart with “Been There, Done That”.  In 2000, Sugar Ray would cover the track for the Danny Boyle movie The Beach.

Beach Fossils are on the verge of exploding into the mainstream with the release of their latest album Somersault.  After a stint in HBO’s Vinyl, the band found themselves playing to bigger crowds and surpassed the 1,000,000 listeners mark on Spotify!  Congrats to Beach Fossils, keep up the lo-fi luster!  On that note, we’re gonna wrap up our surfing show and hit the beach!  Join us next time on Feel Me Flow! Hang loose brah…

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