Reckless surf music that don't give a damn!
Surf music has all the appeal of a Tel Aviv sideshow marketing “strangest dick in the world.” Roll up, roll up, my friends, five shekels to see an uncut penis, a wad of pink wrinkles so disgusting you’ll shriek with pleasure!
But what if I told you that good surf music existed. That it had a honk, and a beat and a… feeling… that was more surf than anything.
Here’s ten that do surf with a flourish. A couple you might know; most you won’t.
1. Beach Rats by Los Growlers
The best tune ever written about being a kid chasing the surf dream and the reality that squeezes in as adulthood beckons (drugs!). Take this verse.
“Strawberry noses, snakeskin backs and knees all covered in wax
Showoffs begging for attention, trying to show ‘em that we’re rad
It’s easy to forget about the world outside of the town
Feeling free with no rules in the sea, but even fish eventually drown…”
And the refrain, “Beach rats , reckless days, foul-mouthed salty kids
All day healed by the sun and wrapped up in the ocean’s lip…”
2. Single Fins and Safety Pins by the Japanese Motors
Before Tomorrows Tulips Alex Knost was the frontman of the most fabulous Japanese Motors. This was back when catch-y tunes were seen as a cop-out, of course. The finest gig I ever went to was a Jap Motors show aboard a boat swishing around a great harbour. The roof was low, there was no stage, and we shucked and jived as Alex, the master puppeteer, manipulated our strings. This song is about the highs (surfin’ and lovin’) and lows (that damn 405 freeway) about being a surfer in California. “Drop your pants and grap your shades,” advises Alex. Why, yes, Mr Alex!
3. Surfers are Back by the Barracudas
While the Sex Pistols were flaming in London in 1977, the Barracudas were parodying (or was it homage?) the Californian sound. But, somewhere in there, it turned into a British longing for waves and bright balls in the sky.
“Here in London town
There ain’t much fun getting around
People don’t understand
Ya gotta live for the sun…”
4. Summer Fun by Tijuana Panthers
Another Costa Mesa band (alongside Los Growlers) that owns the new surf sound. The lyrics don’t have depth (Summer fun, summer fun, Summer fun, summer fun) but who’s chasing existentialism?
5. Last Summer by the Barracudas
Another great moment from the London surf-punk band. This is total parody. And who doesn’t love parody. “You know I was a surfer…once,” the Barracudas announce solemnly, before launching into a spectacular story of a big-wave surfing suicide.
6. Summer’s Almost Gone by the Neptunes
Play this when summer’s on the way out. It’ll make you weep for those lost, long days.
7. Sur La Planche by La Femme
Who knew the French would strike the crowning blow for modern surf music? Half of the band is from Biarritz (surf!), the other half from Paris (chic!) and their 2013 hit Sur La Planche (On the Board) is a first-person narrative of a surfer describing the invincibility surfing gifts him. Although it ain’t all feel-good. “Si tu oses me pousser dans les rouleaux, je t’attends sur la vague, ou sur la plage dans le sable…”
“If you dare to push me in the barrels, I’ll wait for you on the wave, or on the beach in the sand…”
8. Hallucination Bay by the Neptunes
Psychedelic pop wrapped around all those little surf towns we mow through for the weekend. “It’s on the coast and it’s not too far, come on baby, we can take my car down to… Hallucination Bay, Hallucination Bay…”
9. My Beach by the Surf Punks
Surfing on Heroin by The Forgotten Rebels
Such tough talkers! But catchy beat!
I’m so fucked up I can’t remember my
name Tried it once, I’ll never feel the
same. I’m swimming in a sea of puke.
Lend me a quarter play myself on the
juke. Got my kid brother hooked
yesterday. Pimping him pays for my
I’m surfin’ on heroin. I’m surfin’ on
heroin. Get a needle gonna stick it in.
I’m surfin’ on heroin. I’m so drugged up,
I’m so fucked up. I’m surfin’ on heroin.