Skip to main content

The Tornados

I don't know why but I'm going through this "60s instrumental Surf Rock" phase right now. This path has led me to an English group called The Tornados. Ever heard the song "Telstar"? That's them.

They use a lot of keyboard/organ and shuffling work on the drums to create a weird, spacey, almost Asian-influenced kind of sound. Not surprisingly, it sounds precisely like what you'd imagine people in the 1960s (the first Space Age) thought Space Music should sound like. The song "Telstar" was in fact named after a satellite.

Amid today's morass of different genres & styles of music, I'm called back to Surf Rock for its charming brightness and the way the songs follow a simple, guitar- or keyboard-driven melody line, dispensing with the verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula of other rock of the era. Surf Rock makes you feel like you're going somewhere, riding a wave, perhaps?

There's also something heavily nostalgic about it, like reading an old Superman comic book or something. You're listening to something that was popular during a very specific time of America's history--the pre-hippie, pre-psychadelic 60s, just as Brit-Pop was invading the country. In fact, Surf Rock probably lost out to Brit-Pop the most. Anyway, Surf Rock was cool to a relative handful of rock fans, flowering for a very short period of time, and therefore it transports you right back to that period of time, even if you weren't actually ALIVE during it.

Feeling Nostalgia for a time that you haven't even experienced, or perhaps haven't yet experienced? Now there is something to ponder.


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…