This piece was originally published June 3rd, 2013.

Susan Surftone Too Far Icon TemplateAh, it’s almost Summertime again my friends.

Nothing goes better in these warm, delightful days of the Sun, than a few road trip adventures motoring off to a little seaside vista accompanied by some wild and woolly instrumental surf rock.

Simply put, well played surf rock never goes out of style.

Like many fans of the surf rock genre, I have never actually surfed, but since I was a child, the early Beach Boys records made an indelible impression. Like many other “Kooks,” I too have been catching that mythical wave and mentally “getting barreled” for years.

More recently, I have been digging a superb practitioner of this music, Susan Surftone. She is easily one of the best boss gals to ever sling a guitar and create her own wonderful surf rock sounds.


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This piece was originally published November 7th, 2011.

Susan Surftone Post TemplateSurf Music.  For folks who have heard of this musical genre, often what immediately comes to mind is the early music (and often album covers) of The Beach Boys, and doubtlessly the “King of All Surf Rock,” the incomparable Dick Dale, whose music and songs are equated with that iconic lonesome surfer image, such as the one depicted on the film poster for 1966’s Endless Summer.  A music to go with images indelibly etched into our conscience

While few people will probably ever climb onto an actual surf board, and many have absolutely no interest at all in anything related to these polished boards, whether it be surfing on them, learning about the culture, or issuing the cries of “Cowabunga!”—except of course loving some visits to a site of surfing, namely an oceanside beach for a warm vacation—there is nevertheless very much to enjoy within the music that has taken a name from this sport.

Approximately three generations of surf rock music makers have appeared beginning with Dick Dale who really defined the genre in the early ’60s. One of surf music’s current practitioners has not only led a surf combo for many years, but swims against any of the notions that surf bands are relegated to the male mammal only.

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This piece was originally published February 10th, 2010.

Tiki Mug Icon #3

Welcome back once again to this, the third installment of The Mystery Box’s Luau Hut: My take on all things from the world of Tiki.

Woonsocket, RI native and guitarist extraordinaire, Duke Robillard, was recently nominated in the Traditional Blues Album category at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

While he didn’t win (this was his second time being nominated!) in a recent interview, Duke humorously took the entire event in stride: As both a great thing to be nominated for an award with so much attention and positive recognition of the music he is making; and being invited to attend the ceremony, with an aisle seat no less, that allowed for a clear view of all the flashy big celebrities to stroll by.

I believe Duke termed the whole experience sort of “ridiculous.”

Duke Robillard is one of those homegrown, self taught musicians that has achieved the mighty.


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CHAINO / KAVA KON: Tiki Exotica Music’s Zombie Bamboos in the Zero Gravity Lounge

This piece was originally published August 31st, 2009

Tiki Mug #2 IconWelcome back to the second installment of The Mystery Box’s Luau Hut: My take on all things from the world of Tiki.

This week I take a look at two new album releases that are both currently residing here under the thatched roof in Tiki-ville HQ.

These albums share similar qualities of what makes Tiki so much fun—a dreamlike fantasy and make believe musical playground world that really doesn’t and never really did exist—just like the best Tiki anything.

These albums are similar enough so that they both sit side by side nicely as companion listening, yet, at the same time these recordings couldn’t be more dissimilar—each arriving from different places within Tiki music’s history.

The first album is a reissue of a 1957 release from a mysterious Tiki Exotica performer of the past named Chaino. The other album is the second release from a modern primitive Detroit duo that call themseleves Kava Kon.

Kirby Allan presents CHAINO: Eye Of The Spectre (Dionysus 2009)



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LUAU HUT PART 1: Chasing the Polynesian Dream…

This piece was originally published June 22nd, 2009

Tiki Mug IconWelcome to a recurring new Mystery Box series: The Mystery Box Luau Hut — my ongoing look at all things from the world and history of Tiki Culture and Exotica music.

Since childhood, like many other fans, I too have fallen under the spell of all things Polynesian themed a.k.a. Tiki.

Never a month goes by that I don’t rekindle that fondness in some way.

So I am happy to report that Tiki style not only manages to still exist (if you seek it out) but also continues to inspire newer artists, designers, and musicians who wish to escape into its dreamy world of imaginary exploration.

First, a look at the origins of this colorful style.


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