Tag Archives: media

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

© Robert W. Ross, 2013. All rights reserved.
© Robert W. Ross, 2013. All rights reserved.

I’ve got everything I need, and things to do. Things are going to change.

This post was prompted by The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

Some other entries:

Surf Artist Highlight: The Bambi Molesters

So what’s in a band’s name? When you hear “Bambi Molesters”, does it put you off your groove just a little? Continue reading Surf Artist Highlight: The Bambi Molesters

Surf Movie Sunday: The Endless Summer

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 5.10.10 PM

I was on Hulu earlier this week and discovered a category of surf movies; I nearly had an aneurysm. I decided that now was a great time to start a limited run serial on surf movies, and now I present to you Surf Movie Sunday, with no promises of how long it will last but I will watch a different surf movie every Sunday and then post a short description with a general review with a rating of some sort that I will determine by the time I am done with this one. Sorry it’s going up so late, even if you read this the moment I post it there’s a pretty good chance it’s already Monday where you are. I have had nothing but bad luck

I had to do Bruce Brown’s The Endless Summer first, because it is considered to be the seminal surf movie. In this 1966 documentary, Brown follows two California surfers on the “endless summer”, a journey across the world, following the summer season and trying to find waves wherever they went. These two surfers hit Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, East Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii, finding new surf spots and meeting new people, having adventures, and spreading their love of surfing across the world. This is the film that inspired future generations of surfers to do the same, and brought surfing to these new places later on.

The plot description doesn’t do this film justice, however. From the surf music theme and the Disney-esque incidental music, to the wisecrack-laden narration that kept us laughing through most of the movie, this film serves as both an education in what surfing looks like and an inspiration to go find some waves and see what you can do on them; certain points of the narration feel like you’re gleaning important pointers, too – Brown talks about how surfers deal with shallow surf, vertical corals, waves that break against a wall, waves that come in diagonally to the shore (I think if you start on the near end you can ride pretty far out), et cetera.

I felt this movie was so worth my while I kept it in the queue because I want to see it again. In other words, I give this movie . . .



I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. The narration is wonderfully humorous, the surfing is real, the movie was over before we knew it. Even more to it’s credit, the wife enjoyed it and laughed right along with me and found it very interesting, so crazy-surf-otaku-Rob is not leading you up the primrose path, I promise! If you subscribe to Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime, you are in luck – The Endless Summer is available on both right now. Sorry Netflix subscribers, you got left in the cold.

If you subscribe to a service that offers this film or know how to otherwise see this movie for free (legally) then please let us know it the comments below.

Saturday Jams: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

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So! Just two days ago I’m willing to bet that most of us got together with friends and relatives, drank generous amounts of beer, ate prodigious amounts of charred animal flesh and mayonnaise-bathed boiled potatoes, and enjoyed a fantastic light show when the sun went down; perhaps you made your own contribution to said light show. The idea is that we got together in order to celebrate the hard-fought appropriation of the centre of this beautiful and bountiful landmass which many of us now inhabit – a move that, according to one very tall and wise man, was “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

As high-minded as the ideal was, it’s been an interesting 237 years since then; the fledgeling United States of America expanded to fill the territory it now inhabits, displacing and disenfranchising entire populations of indigenous people; then we almost tore ourselves apart over the issue of states’ rights, although American history ostensibly tells that we fought about slavery, which may have at the time served as the red herring it does today; we added first Alaska, then Hawaii the the roll call of states under Federal rule, and we’ve fought countless wars – all in the name of liberty and equality, huzzah! Four Presidents have been assassinated in our history, and the last successful one (with all due respect, of course) actually delayed a watershed event in American musical history by two and a half weeks while the nation mourned. When CBS finally aired its shelved story (shelved after it played in the morning, but not in the evening on November 22) about Beatlemania on December 10, 1963, one girl in Maryland wrote her local radio station asking why they didn’t have music like that in America. The radio station – conveniently located in our nation’s capital – responded enthusiastically, and for the second time the British managed to set fire to America.

The first time was a literal burning of the nation’s capital in 1814 by British forces. This tends to be glossed over in American History class, because it’s the only time our nation has ever been successfully invaded by a military force, led interestingly enough by one Major General Robert Ross. As of today, I am to the best of my knowledge not a time-traveling military commander; I will let you know if that changes.

This event (the musical one) was to be known as the “British Invasion”, and you can blame its popularity with American youth in part on the fact that they were sick of teen idols, and that the invasion came in the wake of a scandal where radio stations and DJs were being paid by record labels to play their music, thereby suppressing competition by outside musicians. The rest of the blame goes to the fact that awesome music was coming by the boatload from England. Here’s a short list of some of the better known ones:

  • The Kinks
  • The Animals
  • The Searchers
  • Mungo Jerry
  • The Status Quo
  • The Foundations
  • David Bowie
  • The Tremoloes
  • The Tornados (A surf band, hello!!!)
  • Donovan
  • The Troggs
  • The Yardbirds
  • The Mindbenders
  • The Move
  • The Marmalade
  • The Zombies

Oh, um, and the Beatles, of course. This total turnaround of historical precedent where it wasn’t everything American but everything British changed the flavor of rock music forever, and unfortunately contributed to the popular demise of instrumental surf music, but we know you can’t keep a good genre down. 🙂

For today’s Saturday Jams, I’ve laid down just a few of my favorites from the British Invasion. Enjoy!

–Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks – other hits include All Day and All of the Night, You Really Got Me, and A Well Respected Man.

–She’s Not There by The Zombies (live performance) – they’re also known for Time of the Season

–The Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. This was a big deal; the audience’s behavior was considered astounding at the time. It’s a longer video, but you get both sections of their performance from this first appearance on America’s most popular show at the time, and you get to see how the British Invasion gained so much traction.

Now, please enjoy what’s left of your weekend. On Monday, most of us go back to work!

Featured image credit: popstache.com

Saturday Jams: how to re-make it in the biz

This week, we’re looking at recycled music: song covers. Most – if not all – bands do this at one time or another; they cover songs, essentially re-making them. And the longer we’ve gone without a new iteration of the song, the better – at least in my opinion. After all, who wants to hear a new version of Milli Vanilli’s Baby Don’t Forget My Number every few years? Not I, said the fly! There are benefits to covering songs though, including having an easy go-to for bands that are still starting out, and possibly being even better than the original; of course, that judgement tends to be a matter of opinion. The only way to know for sure is to do it and hope it hits!

Our first song hearkens back to that last known temporal bastion of brotherly love, the soulful 70’s. Earth Wind and Fire recorded their song September at the same time they recorded their 1979 album I Am, but released it as a single in ’78 and not on the album, for some reason – probably because it’s an awesome song. Did I mention that my birthday is in September? September 7. The song mentions the twenty-first night of September, which is divisible by seven, so numerologically, I’m totally there. Week three of Robstravaganza! September hit the top of the R&B chart and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, so they must have known it was solid gold, baby. Pomplamoose, the true indie duo known individually as Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte, recognized that as well and covered it in their VideoSongs series, which are as much fun to watch as they are to listen and sing along to:

Our next pick comes from a band that saw it’s heyday in the 90’s ska revival. One-hit-wonder Spiral Starecase’s 1969 Top 100 hit More Today than Yesterday has only been covered commercially a few times, and in 1998 Goldfinger brought back to the fore this wonderful song as a single for the soundtrack of the Adam Sandler movie The Waterboy. The video is nothing special, so feel free to read another post while listening to this gem:

“Love is stronger than thunder” -Milli Vanilli

Saturday Jams: A New Route to the Indies

Today’s Saturday Jams post features two songs by bands I have considered to be indie bands – bands whose music is more or less produced independently of major record labels. It could be self -produced and then released via a major label or the band’s own label. You can start indie and stay inside, or get signed; but indie can also refer solely to the genre of music you’re playing, which sounds ambivalent but is most easily identifiable with folk music, in my estimation.

Or first pick fits that bill.  The Decemberists are an indie folk rock band, but the album that the following track came from – The King is Dead – was released by Capitol records, leaving the question in my mind of whether the term indie is just a genre label for the Decemberists or a legitimate designation of independence. Either way, they’re good and I enjoy their music. My favorite song by The Decemberists is about being a good neighbor and finding your place in the greater and smaller communities; here’s Don’t Carry it All:

Our second song pick comes from the definitely true indie band Foxtails Brigade. They produce and release their own music without major labels, distributing it via iTunes and their website. I prefer their Farmhouse Sessions over their regular albums because the sound is just better, in my own opinion. I’m not sure what the song is about yet, but I like the simple folk instrumentation and staccato vocal lyricism of Don’t Look Down:

Saturday Jams: a new aural tradition?

This morning I responded to blog buddy Andra Watkins’ post – or at least I thought I did but it’s not there now – about my favorite song from the 80’s. I realized I could do something with this and so I think I will start a new aural tradition I will call “Saturday Jams”. Every week I will post a few songs for your consideration. They will be songs I like. I will try to choose stuff that isn’t heard on every street corner but I make no promises. So without further ado, here are my two all-time favorite songs from the 1980’s:

Happy – Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo

This song first caught my attention as the opener to the movie Summer School. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend it because it is just great.

Learning to Fly – Pink Floyd

You know, I actually had a lot more to this post but somehow the WordPress app lost it when I posted it, so forget it. We’ll try again next week.