Hailing from the apparent psych-revival capital of the world, Perth five-piece (though at times, 10-piece) Pond break their Tame Impala shackles on fourth album Beard Wives Denim. Their fuzzy, guitar-laden, funk-groovin’, synth-detailed pop-drama will bestow the gift of tap upon your otherwise motionless foot, and compel you to sway a lighter in time with Mother Earth’s rhythmic breath.
It’s delicious to see a band defy the usual stereotypes of a genre (especially one that takes itself so seriously) and purvey a sense of broken cool, slight self-satire and general fun.
I assume that many others like myself have been led by Tame Impala towards the sunshine-filled clearing that Pond reside in, so let’s get the obvious comparisons out of the way (three members are in both, including Tame frontman and Pond drummer Kevin Parker). While Tame Impala take a hard-and-fast, ‘60s psychedelic rock route, Pond allow a greater range of styles to influence their product. If you were to take a Delorean on a Magical Mystery Tour via a smoky New Orleans funk den and the Congratulations stage of MGMT’s career, you’d end up somewhere in Pond’s current headspace.
It’s certainly diverse. You are told exactly how it is in ‘Moth Wings’, yet allowed to go on your own trip in songs like ‘Sorry I Was Under The Sky’ and the brilliant ‘Eye Pattern Blindness’. You can also sense the experience and confidence that extensive touring has had on the lads – and it’s very welcome indeed.
After following surf competitions for a number of years, watching the pros take on some of the most amazing waves, in some of the most beautiful, far-away lands, I have built up my Must-Visit Travel List to include many islands I can’t even pronounce correctly.
There is one island in particular that has sparked my attention. From it’s stunning coastal landscape and breathtaking skyline, to its jagged, untarnished rocky protrusions, judging and paying consequence to any foreboding surfer who dares to ride her heaving, yet powerful, perfectly crafted peaks.
This island I speak of has, however, undertaken quite a bit of development in recent years. Scholars maintain there has been a few major occurrences directly contributing to the shocking change in the local aesthetics and lifestyles.
The effects of ‘outing’ these once-secret surf spots has been well document in surfing literature over the years.
From the 70’s exploration of the Indonesian Archipelago and consequential exploitation of these areas by Surf Magazines, to the recent Rip Curl Search contests in Mexico. It seems that local communities (especially the local surfing communities) cop the raw end of the weiner after hosting such events.
It’s been said before; the dump and burn attitude, the subsequent hordes of ‘surf tourists’ that arrive, disrespect the environment, the people and the ocean.
Well I’m not here to repeat those statements… I’m here to investigate! I’m here for action!
So, during my next trip (I leave 6 days from the post date of this article) I will investigate, practice real journalism, dig, prod, and pry my way into the heart of the issues affecting this helpless island community at the hands of the evil surf corporations.
I aim to, once and for-all, figure out if the Quiksilver Pro New York contest, held in 2011, is the cause for the substantial commercial development on the Island of Manhattan.
Wish me luck in my journey, I have a feeling I will uncover secrets a common surfer should never know.
I’ve always enjoyed rating the waves that take my breath away. It’s a good way to help remember my greatest personal achievements in surfing.
I rode my longest wave at La Puntia, in Pichilemu, Chile. I slotted into my first real barrel at South Stradbroke Island on the Gold Coast. And CJ Hobgood commented on my best backhand drop at Lakey Peak in Sumbawa.
“Sick drop bro…”
I was pretty stoked…
But my best wave, hands down, no questions asked, was much closer to home.
It wasn’t the classic Kirra of yesteryear (I’ve never surfed that wave, and unless my parents took me out there on my Boooogie board before my 8th birthday, I never had a chance).
To give you an idea of the waves, here’s a video of the final day of the competition (picture this, with cleaner conditions).
The lead up
As we drove in past Kirra Pizza Hut (my friend Lewy and I) we knew this was going to be a day etch-a-sketched into our collective minds. Little did we know someone would take a photo of that drawing, post it on Facebook with a hilarious meme caption, and watch it go viral (odd analogy of ‘memory’ but it’s my blog, I’ll write how I want).
The lines of the enraged cyclone swell had met a ruler overnight. In the crisp morning light a whisper of Southerly air begun to shake hands with a tide who was down on his dumps. The result: a taste in the air. A taste I liken to peanuts mixed with green apples. A salty allure, with the threat of a sour turn. But, when presented in the right proportions, allows you a crunchy, stimulating experience you won’t soon forget.
The south to north sweep was visible from the dunes, a seaway on the way in. The whole ocean was gushing through the line-up.
The rows of swell out from Snapper Rocks created a stairway to the horizon. Tumbling down those stairs was a sorority of pearly wenches, eager to wake you with a tear-at-the-sheets early morning blowjob, or have you scorning your zeal as you try to pry her locked jaw from around your precious Pen 15 club member.
As Lewy and I limbered our creaking muscles on the hard wet sand, we were distracted by the misplaced sound of a haunting didgeridoo. We scoured the immediate area until we spied a young aboriginal fellow standing on Snapper’s jagged rocky outcrop, playing to an audience of readied surfers.
From his perch, he would bellow through his didge, jamming with the sets as they drum-rolled in. When the last wave would hit, he would beckon to the eagerly-awaiting surfers using his native instrument as a WW1 air traffic controller might have used his glow-sticks to usher an engaged B-17 fighter plane into flight.
The oddly musician seemed apt at his trade and, when it was our turn, sent us off with impeccable timing, straight to the front of a struggling line-up. We knew we wouldn’t be there for long, so we adjusted our paddle speed to accommodate our planned three or four ‘laps’ of the 2km Superbank.
As we waited amongst the seagulls for our turn to pick-off the discarded chips, we realised we were already at Greenmount without a wave. We lowered our standards and I snagged an inside cruiser. A couple of pumps and I was in and out, in and out of a cosy little barrel. Kicking off the back, I felt good. Pretty happy to get my feet working before those crunchers we’d seen just up from Pizza Hut.
It was coming up, Big Groyne Kirra.
I was looking north towards the landmark when I heard a whistle. A fellow further up the line-up with two fingers in his bearded mouth was signalling to his mate (the guy on my outside).
Did a cloud just cover the sun?
I could have sworn everything just got darker.
What was looming?
I paddled over the crest of the last wave and saw a wall… Now I don’t know if you could see her from the moon, but from where I was, she looked pretty damn Great.
The ocean decided it was my turn. It blocked access for all the plebs further up the line, then bent and refracted off the sturdy Kirra sandbank straight towards me.
I turned on my heel and, with a renewed energy from my last wave, allowed my arms the freedom to control my take-off.
I paddled with vigour, rising to my feet at the very last moment.
My beat-up, second-hand, 6’3 Emery (my biggest board at the time) held its line as I dropped.
As all epic moments seem to happen, this too, felt like forever.
I recognised the base of the curve and began to pull up.
I watched as the ocean drew a glistening angel-wing awning over me. Only to see it shatter below my feet more ferocity than a loose stalactite slamming into a mossy cavern floor.
I pumped high, bending my knees to push down again.
My eyes focused briefly on the exit, seemingly miles away.
“Ohh no you don’t.”
What the hell was that? I thought to myself…
Then I saw the first big obstacle to my success, or perhaps, my survival.
It was sandy in colour, thick in nature, and wet in dryness…
As the wave hefted herself up onto the Kirra bank, she decided to invest in a series of slabbing sections. Possibly as a way to easily ‘step’ over the impending financial facility (sandbank), or maybe as a way to give the insignificant human, tickling her insides, a reminder of who’s who…
I was so deep.
I rode high again, bracing for the white-foamy protuberance to destroy the perfect green jelly I’d previously dealt with.
A bucking bull appeared beneath my board, my right hand (previously dragging along the silicon wall) was now grasping for a rope to reign-in the new threat.
I bounced, finding stability by leaning against the, now white, wall… but I held on.
A split-second later I found myself in a much darker place. As I focussed on the exit, I saw round two. And this bull was fucking retarded, stupidly angry, and ready to jam its fire-born horns up my urethra…
I pumped again, and braced…
I was going as fast as a 20 year old lad sliding along on a piece of arrow-shaped foam (without the help of a tow rope) could possibly go. But I felt strong.
The confidence I’d gained outrunning the drop and first section allowed me a cheat-code – I was now invincible. I didn’t care if I didn’t make it at this point, I’d already seen, heard, or touched some kind of nirvana.
What else is there?
Then, once again I saw the bull appear.
And once again I grabbed the rope.
No longer was the surface as smooth as a dolphin’s arse, no longer did I feel invincible.
The abundant portion of lip had given her orders to the ocean floor.
The bull bucked and I exploded upwards.
I ducked my head to avoid the roof of the lady’s cavern. I needn’t have. It may, however, have given me the temporary centre of gravity of a young Ke11y Slater.
I was still on my board.
As the beast released me, I saw the final vision.
I stood tall as I exited the cave.
An emulsion of feelings lifted me up into the air as I kicked off the back of the wave.
She had been good to me.
I felt the effect of the adrenalin now. I felt my skin turn to goose-bumps. I felt my smile expose everything to the world.
I sat in the water, simply feeling what I was feeling.
I looked around to see if there was another wave coming, there was nothing. No waves, no people, no seagulls, no nothing.
Just me, in the ocean, about to implode.
A small wave came towards me and I turned to catch it. I casually bellyboarded into shore. I was the last one in the lineup. No one else around at all.
Strange for Kirra, I thought
I got to the sand, took-off my legrope and lay down. My hands were still shaking from the adrenalin; my arms still bore the skin of a chicken.
It’s a bit of an eclectic bunch of vids. Ranging from Jamie O’Brien pushing the ‘odd factor’ in his free surfing pursuits, to a longboarder (Taylor Jensen) who thinks he’s riding a shortboard, and then some Pipe and Snapper footage.
Some single fin sodomy
Snapper serving up a tasty trout treat (April 2011)
‘Nico von Rupp’-turing your skulls with these kegs of calamity.
First day highlights from the Volcom Pipe Pro. Goodness me Pipe is the only Pipe isn’t it…
First off, Merry Christmas and happy New Year’s! I trust you all made-use of this celebratory season, and distributed alcohol-fuelled abuse to all that deserved it!
To kick-start the year, I thought I’d unveil some vintage surfing footage. Many a great soul have wondered if this piece of history was as lost as the energy of a wave as it crashes to shore.
The film maker was a young, time-rich school leaver. The stories I’ve heard, if you’d believe them, were that women held him in similar regards to a champion stallion. Men not only gossiped about him, but they based their own personalities around his qualities (which were many). And his mum thought he was sufficiently cool enough to stay up past 10pm.
It’s hard to recognise the wave locations through the grainy footage, however it seems to be Cloudbreak (before the resort), and classic Kirra (circa 1990).
Take the time to really appreciate the quality of the video.
I’ve written a couple of new album reviews, and I’d like to share them with you all!
‘Locked by Land’
I feel that everyone should discover Jinja Safari as follows; you’re stumbling through a dense and murky forest, exhausted and struggling to stay on your feet. Your concentration suddenly focuses on the gentle rhythm of your surroundings. You become alert as you brush apart the last few branches before a clearing. Once through, the sun saturates the air, and you see beautiful African animals dancing together in perfect harmony.
‘Locked by Land’ is the complete collection of Jinja Safari’s material to-date. It peppers their fun, African-drummy style songs ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Hiccups’ and ‘Mermaids’, through a smorgasbord of luscious new tracks. The boys from Sydney have taken a lot of confidence from their touring, and it shows in their willingness to use whatever instruments they can get their paws on (sitars included).
I’d almost imagine ‘Locked by Land’ to be Vampire Weekend’s secret 1.5 album, slipped somewhere between their self-titled debut and ‘Contra’.
‘Locked by Land’ does have a couple of iffy points (‘Families’ comes to mind). But with a proven live energy behind them, it’s hard to imagine any of their songs falling flat on stage. Their rhythmic drumming creates havoc with your heart’s tempo. The only remedy I’ve found? Jump around like your favourite Jungle Book character on acid.
At the very least, ‘Locked by Land’ will serve as a perfect advertisement for Jinja Safari’s live shows. Please remember though, that is at the very least.
I can just imagine Ben Howard travelling slowly through the smaller country towns of England. Playing in shed-like bars to an ever-expanding crowd. His songs grow louder and louder with each stop – gaining confidence and spirit. His acoustic guitar sounding brighter at every show, his voice holding more passion as he really begins to believe the words behind his songs. And so do his audience.
‘Every Kingdom’ is Ben’s first album, put together after months of continuous touring through England and the UK.
His intricate fingerpicking-patterns patter perfectly (say that five times fast) throughout ‘Diamonds’, ‘Everything’ and ‘The Fear’. More than once, he’ll have at least one of your feet tapping, don’t fight it, it’s ok.
And it’s in ‘The Fear’ that Ben challenges us to think about our lives, and the barriers we put on ourselves due to our emotions. It really reminds me how powerful they can be. His songs seem to be able to do that.
Are you taking the piss mate? You havin’ a go? What’s wrong with wearing Crocs™? I’m just learning how to SUP™. Give us a break!
Those are the responses I’d imagine Sterling Spencer has received after releasing his latest 40 minute FREE surf flick.
Surf Madness! parodies the balls out of pretty much everything there is to parody in the surfing world. He’s not afraid to pay-out other surfers as well, Rasta’s part has a lovely backing track that will either; make you sing with laughter, or calm your inner being.
The surfing tracks Sterlo through a host of known spots (Indo, Hawaii, Cali, etc.) but it also chucks in a couple of slabs I haven’t seen before. All the big names are there (if only for a second) and Taj has a killer section.
Airs, tubes, wipeouts and laughs are all in there. It’s free so I’m not complaining at all.
You continue to tell us ‘The Message’ is what you’re all about. With annonimosity being a key part to your position, because the messenger is not important?
Well that’s cool, but…
I believe the presentation of ‘The Message’ is the most important issue you face right now. That is, if you actually want anything to change.
The stance I am taking in this post, is not to dismiss or ridicule your intent. But to give some feedback on how ‘The Message’ is coming across. I am doing this because I believe it is justified argument, however it doesn’t always come across this way.
I think the passion and emotion “The Message” is soaked in, gives off quite a strong smell of kerosene (powerful, kinetic and highly flammable).
And yes, if a spark is lit, your message may catch fire.
BUT, the steady stream of raw fuel you pour on the pit, may actually be causing people to stand back to “wait and see”.
Just like any normal person can sense the danger of standing too close to fuel that’s about to ignite, I think surfers (especially anyone with any real pull in the surfing world) can sense the danger in standing too close to the source of ‘The Message’, especially if they are the ones with access to a lighter.
Basically, I’m saying that you’re alienating your audience.
Here is a list of things to think about;
– Come up with some clearly defined goals and push these out through your blogs, twitter and facebook.
– Stop personally attacking anyone who writes any (non-ASP defamating) surfing stories (The average surf fan still enjoys reading these).
– Use less abstract references (surely you are trying to educate, rather than confuse).
– Speak to the common surfer, appeal to their wants and desires of surfing entertainment (comps, locations, vids, etc.)
– Find and show positivity when you can. A constant stream of negativity and hate doesn’t make for compelling content.
I want the tour to be better, I want to see more quality surfing, I want surf companies to provide a safe environment for young surfers, and I want ‘The Message’ to get through.
Am I off the mark? Or is this something to think about?
I’ve recently written a couple of short album reviews for Scene Magazine. I wrote these ones about “Iron and Wine’s” album Our Endless Numbered Days and “Washed Out’s” new one, Within and Without. So without much further ado…
Our Endless Numbered Days
“Iron and Wine”
Sub Pop Records
I was orginally going to state how annoyed I was at finding Iron and Wine AFTER he was featured on the Twilight Soundtrack (not that I have seen Twilight, I promise!). However I later realised I’d heard Samuel Beam’s intensely personal cover of “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service quite a few years ago. I couldn’t help but smile.
I went back through his catalogue and stumbled across These Endless Numbered Days.
If you’re a fan of soft finger-style acoustic guitar melodies, a warn, husky voice with substance, please take the time to let Iron and Wine, wine and dine you.
I get skeptical when I think I hear a forced, breathy leading guitar man play his sickly-sweet sounds. However the difference with this album, is that I actually believe it. There is something so honest about the line “One of us will die inside these arms / Eyes wide open, naked as we came / One will spread our ashes ’round the yard,” that had me trusting what Sam has to say, I needed to listen further. And so should you.
Within and Without
Sub Pop Records
I like chillwave. It feels comfortable and cosy – nostalgic even. If I were to take my summeriest Instagram filter, apply it to a dream about the beach, then somehow sway gently in a shimmery breeze, I think I would get pretty close to describing Washed Out’s latest slice of pineapple pizza.
Within And Without will take you on a postcard synth journey of the late 70’s and 80’s, without the need for sunscreen, sedatives, or that ever-elusive time machine.
The album will happily stay on repeat all afternoon, reaching out for engagement during “Eyes Be Closed”, “Amor Fati” and “Before”.
And for better or worse, these tracks will be on Chillout Sessions for years to come.
I haven’t been in the marketing game for too long, but I can certainly say I understand the fundamentals. I can also confidently say I understand the way social media works. As much as the next guy anyway.
I don’t know if they ASP realise it, but they offer a product, and essentially, they’re a brand.
Brands are based around consumer perception.
Effectively managing that perception is a massive part of any brand’s business.
An example of great social media and brand perception building came to me recently from Filtrate Eyewear.
Filtrate were running a simple Facebook competition with free sunnies as the prize. I clicked the link and became Filtrate Eyewear’s 800th fan. They are based in America, so after contacting me, it took them a little while to get the sunnies posted to me. Then, two weeks later when I opened the package, it contained TWO pairs of brand new sunnies! Plus a hand written note from the marketing manager APOLIGISING for the delay!
They were sorry that it took them two weeks to give me two pairs of free sunnies!
Now that’s good service!
Which (back on topic) is more than I can say for the ASP at present.
If you’ve been following surfing on Twitter, you would know about @Rottmouth – The unabashed, sleuthing deviant from several worlds under, who (for better or worse) drops clues, questions and knowledge (however cryptic) about the state of the surfing industry.
With most of his wrath directed squarely between the ASP’s eyeballs, he has conjured up quite a following of people who not only agree with a lot of his charismatic posts, but PASSIONATELY agree.
We Surfers are a passionate bunch, we like a story and we love surfing. We have also heard about the ‘perfect surf trip’ or the ‘undiscovered’ wave more times than I care to make a metaphor about. We are looking for controversy, and the ASP is serving up three squares a day.
So, with all this ‘detest’ running through the veins and clogging up the arteries, what are the ASP doing about it?