Listen to this while high: Susan SurfTone's Shore.
Behind the buzz: L.A.'s Susan & the Surftones were a tuneful part of the revived surf-rock scene of the '90s, when bands like Los Straightjackets, The Blue Hawaiians and Man or Astro Man? began to work the genre's buzzy instrumentals and goofy-foot humor back into the mainstream. Even established gremmies like Insect Surfers and The Tornadoes benefited from the renewed interest, with the latter's vintage-'60s "Bustin' Surfboards" figured memorably into Pulp Fiction. Susan's guitar-playing has won so many plaudits from press and fans alike, so fuzztone expectations are, well, high.
Today's weed: King Louis III. This breakfast of rockist champions can take your head off faster than that other King Louis.
Blister Beach: I
hadn't much kept up with Susan's music since The Surftones The
Originals, almost ten years ago, and forgot the aural welts Susan's guitar
makes in the air. "Shore," "Jade" and "Tide" are excellently frugworthy genre
exercises, but the album really starts to chug with high, lonesome "Train."
"HuDu" is a tricky-fingered near-classic of the genre to rank alongside "Mr.
Moto" or "Church Key." By this point, listeners with stacks of albums by The
Ventures, The Challengers and/or The Lively Ones will be in very familiar, if
not bitchin' tubular, waters, with the same shambolic drumming and intricate
guitar-picking. Susan, indeed, is one of the late masters of old-style,
pre-psychedelic surf guitar, as the long, moody, twilight cover of The Doors' "Riders
on the Storm" at the end demonstrates. This is the shore at night, when there's
nothing around but lumps of black seaweed and the occasional roving maniac,
mind alive with unsavory amphibian thoughts.
Deeply satisfying for surf buffs and yearning, intriguing stuff for gremmies
and gidgets. Produced by Steven Kravac (Less Than Jake, Blink-182), this drops