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Non-Prog CD Reviews



Review by Gary Hill

It’s pretty tough to find a lot of information about this outfit. They are apparently fairly new. The studio release here sounds like an electronic tinged take on retro guitar driven rock like Dick Dale and the Ventures. The live album says it’s from 1964, but I’m pretty sure it can’t be. Again, I can’t find enough about these guys to make the completely clear, but I think some of the music referenced in the big medley might actually have come from later than that. That disc, though, sounds like a long lost Ventures album to me. This is a cool set, whether these guys are a legitimate relic of the past come back to life or someone new channeling the old sounds.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Disc 1

Broken Rider (with Kishi Bashi)

There is a cool electronic bit at the beginning of this. Then it launches to a full acapella treatment. The vocals seem layered. There are bits of electronic effects that comes across later in the tune.

Fuzzy guitar brings in a great Latin sound. As this evolves it reminds me of something The Ventures might have done. This is an instrumental.
Escape from Rum Island
Here we get another cool instrumental that feels a bit like something The Ventures would do, but with some Cramps in the mix.
Pop a Wheelie
There is an old time rock and roll sound to this, but the vocals are processed in modern ways. This is a fun retro meets modern rocker with the sounds of race cars built into it.
16 Million Candles
Retro sounds are the idea here. This is like a Booker T. and the MGs does prog kind of thing in a lot of ways. There is something that sounds like theremin used nicely here. It might literally be theremin, but there are no detailed credits (only guitars, bass and drums), so it’s hard to say for sure. There are also some non-lyrical vocals.
Change My Life (with Guccighost)
This is an intriguing cut. Parts of it land in electronic techno type territory. The vocal sections, though, are more of a mainstream rocker. It’s a fun cut despite (or perhaps because of) its weirdness.
Tiki Sleep Cycle
The sounds at the beginning here are probably electronic, but feel like tuned percussion. It gets twisted and evolved into something more abstract and space oriented. Later a sound like a synthesized dog bark emerges here and there. This is another instrumental.
R.I.P.(with Jason Rigby)
This energized rocker is very much a retro tinged thing. It’s classy, too. It’s also instrumental. It reminds me of the kind of music that made up the theme song to “The Munsters.” It dissolves to trippy space later and then gets a bit of a jazzy groove as it moves out from there.
Chasin' Me Down (with Primadonna)
Retro rock and roll based, this gets a psychedelic twist on the crazed section at the end. The mainstream parts are bouncy and catchy. That closing segment is noisy, weird and cool.
Is There Only One Horse?
Here we get a cool electronic music meets psychedelia and an almost country element.
Point Broke
The Ventures meet a modern edge on this killer instrumental.
Roll Tide (with Armen Ra)
A strange electronic percussion element starts this. Eventually it grows out into more of a rocking thing. It’s quite proggy and almost symphonic, though. Guitar takes control of the thing bringing some great jamming later. It’s another that begs comparisons to things like The Ventures. As this continues that theremin like sound is heard and the piece moves out toward progressive rock territory.
Disc 2 – Live in Reno 1964
The Big Medley

I love this killer medley. It’s built with such great surf guitar sound. While you might not recognize every piece of music here, it’s a safe bet you’ll find plenty of familiar melodies. This is very much the same kind of music that acts like Dick Dale and the Ventures also created. When they say this is the “big medley,” they really mean it. It’s over 26 minutes in length.

I really love the bass on this. That applies to both the crazy playing and the sound of the instrument. There are some intriguing musical elements beyond that, bridging the space between stoner rock and surf guitar music.
This is a mellower cut. It’s more of a surf guitar ballad. It’s cool stuff and a nice change.
The Little Medley
Here they deliver a roughly seven minute slab of guitar rock classic music.
Baritone Jam
This is a cool jam with some country elements along with more typical surf rock stuff. It’s basically another medley and does include some non-lyrical vocals.


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