Reviews

THE SURFDUSTERS “Save The Waves” CD:

“…Surf music with lots of Fender reverb and saxophone, back dropped by Farfisa organ and a driving rhythm section. These are the children of Dick Dale and The Ventures and they treat the form with respect and, thankfully, no irony.”

 BC Musician #85, Peachland, B.C. Canada, March/April, 2011

“The Surfdusters have managed to find depth in a genre that is often just passed off as novelty. These are completely original, honestly conceived tracks from a group of people who obviously love both the music and the ocean. ‘Save The Waves’ is a well-rounded collection of fuzzed out rockers, mid-tempo rumblers and mellow cruisers that are fun, rambunctious and, at times, oddly serene.”

Mark Paulhus, Discorder, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, March, 2011

“This anthology from The Surfdusters is taken from their two albums, compilation CDs, cassette releases, out of print vinyl, unreleased cuts and all eleven of the tunes that they contributed to the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon series…Reverbed guitars rule throughout although there is support from Farfisa organ and the occasional touch of sax…they then ring the changes impressively with variations in tempo and arrangement, mixing medium-pacers with slower pieces, using organ or sax, adding Hawaiian or Eastern flavours, and employing different guitar sounds…Highly recommended for fans of the traditional surf style.”

Alan Taylor (Pipeline #86, Surrey, England, Summer 2011)

“…bouts of shuffling grooves and vocally absent melodies full of a fun, loose, breezy delivery.”

Keith Carman (Exclaim! Toronto ON Canada, 2011)

“Probably Canada’s best known surf outfit of the last twenty years. The Surfdusters are back in the picture with this rather nice 27-track compilation of their best original work…you just know you’re getting a lively album full of twang, surf and action!”

Dave Peckett (New Gandy Dancer #96, Gateshead, England, February, 2011)


VARIOUS ARTISTS “Instrobeat” CD:

“Rich Hagensen has gathered up a number of bands from the Vancouver, BC scene…styles vary enough to keep it flowing and many of these bands have either not gotten outside the scene much, or are first issued here…This is one collection you should go after.”

Phil Dirt (Reverb Central, Santa Cruz, CA U.S.A., 2002)

“There have been quite a few independent label compilation CDs released in North America which feature tracks from current instro bands. We’ve had the good, the bad and the positively ugly, but I can’t remember one to beat this set from Rich Hagensen’s Fireball label. The quality of the bands, their performances, the material and the production are all streets ahead of the pack…”

Alan Taylor (Pipeline #55, Surrey, England, 2002)

“Excellent release from Fireball in Canada of twenty different rock instrumental bands all bursting with vitality and octanes of energy…”

Dave Peckett (New Gandy Dancer #64, Surrey, England, 2002)

“This is a whopping 25-track collection by 20 different Canadian surf and rock instrumental bands…there is quite a variety of sounds and styles…a strong compilation.”

John Blair (“Surf Nooze” in Discoveries, Iola, WI U.S.A., 2002)

 

THE SURFDUSTERS “Surf After Dark” CD:

“This is the 2nd CD from Canada’s grandaddy surf band, The Surfdusters. They again demonstrate that they are not bound by silly notions of trad limitations, but rather explore further their rich instro appreciation & history.”

Phil Dirt (Reverb Central, Santa Cruz, CA U.S.A., 1999)

“Vous aimez le Surf ce CD vous plaira.”

Guitar & Drums, France, 1999

“…Great to listen to & no doubt fine to surf to.”

Dave Peckett (New Gandy Dancer#54, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne”, England, 1998)

 

VARIOUS ARTISTS “Have Reverb – Will Travel North’ 7” Vinyl EP:

“This is a new release from Fireball Records and is a sampler of some of the instro sounds that can be

found in Canada today…The Surfdusters do not disappoint us with their spy-thriller “Danger Beat”. The group retains a nice trad feel and sound throughout the tune. Mark Brodie returned home from Japan…and wound up laying down “Spy Chase” for this record…Mark shows that he hasn’t lost his surf chops or tone…”

Robert Dalley (Surf Music USA, Salt Lake City, UT U.S.A., September, 1997)

“Four “cool Canadian combos” (all from BC) serve up – or perhaps “surf” up – some fine instrumental action here…Long live reverb.”

Scott Ingram (Exclaim!, Toronto, ON Canada, September, 1997)

“This is great! The Surfdusters have never sounded better than on ‘Danger Beat’, their reverb-drenched guitar squelching somewhere between surf and space on this R C Johnston original…”

Alan Taylor (Pipeline, Autumn 1997, Surrey, England)

“The Great White North may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of surf bands. If you think of cool guitar instrumental bands, Canada’s Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet does immediately come to mind. Here are four more from up there…Worth tracking down.”

Larry Yoshida (Shemp! Vol. 1 No. 21, 1997, Kahului, Hawaii)

“The Surfdusters have been pumping out their brand of reverbed instros for some time now making them veterans of the sound in the Great White North. Their ‘Raincoast Rumble’ was one of last year’s better CDs from international territories, so it’s good to see another track from them ‘Danger Beat’…Lots of splashy reverb and energy abound.”

John Blair (‘Surf Nooze’ in Discoveries, August, 1997, Iola, WI  U.S.A.)

 

THE SURFDUSTERS “Raincoast Rumble” CD:

“Overall sound is clean but with a powerful punch.”

Point Break Volume 2 #3, Hamburg, Germany, 1997

“…They have developed a surf guitar sound that, while true to the Californian waters that inspired all surf, manages to make their Canadian input that bit special…”

Dave Peckett (New Gandy Dancer, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, 1996)

“…That’s why I like this CD…no lyrics…no pretentious bullshit…just mindless mescal-tinctured waves of bikini atoll serfdom.”

Cosmic Debris, Shawnigan Lake, B.C. Canada, 1996

“…Fierce instrumental surf music with twangy guitars and gnarly saxophone. It’s hard to pick a favorite track on here, cuz they’re all so good…”

Sean Berry (The Continental #4, 1996, Bellingham, WA  U.S.A.)

“The Surfdusters debut album ‘Raincoast Rumble’ released on Fireball Records is a wonderful mix of styles and musical textures, ie. distortion, acoustic flamenco rhythms, and baritone sax beefing up just a portion of the songs…”

Honey Grommet (‘Bonzai Boogie Part II – The Encore’ in Axis, September, 1997, Olympia, WA  U.S.A.)

“…Their powerful sound allied to some nifty compositions makes for rewarding listening…”

[NOTE: This review ends with a quote from ‘Raincoast Rumble’s final track: the memorable Message From Nardwuar [famous Canadian deejay/musician Nardwuar The Human Serviette] – “What Beethoven said in four notes, Link Wray said in three”.]

Alan Taylor ( Pipeline #32, Autumn, 1996, Surrey, England)

 

THE SURFDUSTERS “Party On 92! Live” Cassette:

“…This excellent tape covers the period of 1989-91, and features a bunch of live tracks, (some with their original bassist and drummer, too) from various sources including the band’s basement studio, shows at various Vancouver clubs like The Railway Club and The Commodore Ballroom…The sound quality varies but needless to say it’s all rockin’ stuff!”

Alan Wright (Cryptic Times #5, Seattle, WA U.S.A., Spring, 1994)

“the Surfdusters doing their own blends of reverbed out twang that’ll get your toes itching to grab on to your ironing board. Foam and sand’ll be flyin’ high as the tunes blast from your boom box on this tape of classic rockin’ surf music.”

What Wave, London, ON Canada, 1992

“Canadian instrumental stalwarts Rich Hagensen and R C Johnston have been trading guitar licks in The Surfdusters since 1989 and this cassette is a compilation from various gigs and basement sessions over the years 1989-91. The “dusters” part of their name refers to western-type tunes but the bulk here are surf-related, and of a high quality too. This mix of classics and sparkling newcomers is a potent blend…Without plagiarizing others’ work they can give their own compositions that essential sixties feel and add nineties power. Grab yourself a slice of fun…”

Alan Taylor (Pipeline #17, Spring, 1993, Surrey, England)  

 

“Waves of Pleasure” 7” vinyl EP:

“…three tunes by The Surfdusters grab your interest and keep it there…on ‘The Moons Of Jupiter’, we have a thunderous musical voyage into time and space…”

Richard Baillargeon (Rendez Vous 94, Haute-Ville, Quebec Canada)

“…The band does three fine instros with ‘Phantom Train’ featuring the cool sax courtesy of Gordie Bertram…Fans of instro/surf music should certainly check these cats out…”

Alan Wright (Cryptic Times #5, 1994, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.)

“…dynamic with fabulously drippy guitar opening up on ‘March Of The Invisible Traffic Cops’. Rasping sax joins in for a trip on the ‘Phantom Train’, a slowish riffer with some tastily echoed guitar in support – great sound and a good number…”

Alan Taylor (Pipeline, Summer 1994, Surrey, England)

“Sterling surf especially on the heavily reverbed ‘Moons Of Jupiter’ and beautifully supported by a fearful ‘Phantom Train’ and a steaming ‘March Of The Invisible Traffic Cops’. Good band, good sound – good buy!”

Davy Peckett (New Gandy Dancer #40, 1994, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England)

“…another fine release from the Vancouver based group The Surfdusters…The song that really got me excited is ‘Phantom Train’ written by rhythm guitarist Rich Hagensen. This is the closest that I have heard The Surfdusters get to sounding like a true surf band. The wailing sax is reminiscent of The Lively Ones sound and a sound I would like to see The Surfdusters play more. Canada is very lucky to have a group like The Surfdusters around and they might be the catalyst to get many American to ‘take off to the great white north!’”

Robert Dalley (Salt Lake City Music Appreciation Society newsletter, October 1994, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.)

“Board Meeting” Cassette:

“Way cool comp of 3 surf bands from the west coast of Canada that features WW alumni The Fridge Magnets. Also featured are The Sand Dooms and The Surfdusters doing their own blends of reverbed out twang that’ll get your toes itching to grab on to your ironing board. Foam and sand’ll be flyin’ high as the 12 tunes blast from your boom box on this tape of classic rockin’ surf music.”

Dave O’Halloran (What Wave #21, 1992, London, Ontario Canada)

“…All groups are into the original instrumental surfsound and have one thing in common, Ralph Johnston on lead guitar…It’s nice to know that some guys keep the original style alive in the 90’s.”

Surfer’s Rule #26, August, 1992, Sweden

“…lead guitar throughout is by R C Johnston, joined in The Surfdusters by Canada’s Mr. Instrumental, Rich Hagensen…It’s The Surfdusters who come closer to sixties surf on ‘Riptide’ and their own “The Reef’ and ‘Mexi-Fried’, although the sound is clearly original rather than an attempt at imitation. The guitars ring crisp and clear throughout their set which includes the (very) old Neil Young countryish instrumental ‘Emperor Of Wyoming’ and ‘Telstar’…”

Alan Taylor (Pipeline #11, Autumn, 1991, Surrey, England)

“The wild guitarist Ralph Johnston, has done it again…this Canadian rocker continues to explore the sounds of the surf guitar and takes it where no one has gone before. His ability on the guitar is extraordinary and he delights many with his surf and surf-like instrumentals…I am especially impressed with ‘Tel-Surf’, a unique arrangement that will have everyone surfin’ in space…The music is well packaged in a zip-loc sandwich bag which includes the cassette, a package of Kool-Aid, an informative picture sleeve and an ad for bed-wetters. You better add this to your collection of Ralph Johnston’s tapes and records while it is still available.”

Robert Dalley (Discoveries, January, 1992, Iola, WI  U.SA.)

“This is the dogs bollocks, the pedigree of these performers is without question, these are surf guitar instros with plenty of reverb and classic ‘wet sound’. Their version of ‘Tel(star) surf’ is ultra slow and appears to be coming from ‘Twin Peaks’…”

Trev Faull (Outlet #41, March, 1992, England)