Tides That Bind

Meet the Infrareds, contemporary surf rock's purest exponents

And the Infrareds certainly deserve a few points in the "prodigious creativity through extensive use of the postal service" category. On their recently released full-length, Recorded on Microfilm, no less than seventeen tracks bear witness to the primal ululations first heard on the Balboa peninsula some forty-odd years ago, and every last one's a scorcher. With any luck, they'll be able to recoup some of the clams they spent on stamps as they tour in support of the disc.

"The word 'tour' is very broad," Fortune says. "If you consider touring playing groups of shows that are out of town together, we do it all the time and are pretty good at it. If touring is something that bands do to make money, we've never been on tour. We think of them as road trips where we get to play a lot of shows."

By all reports, the shows themselves do as much to highlight the Infrareds' ferocious energy and spirited charisma as they do to showcase the group's technical virtuosity and complete command of style. Explains Fortune: "We all come from a punk/rock/hardcore background, as well as all the off-shoots of those styles. Surf just kind of feeds from all those genres.

"Dick Dale pretty much kicks ass," he continues. "I don't really care for his newer stuff, but everything he did in the '60s is great. We're basically just young kids who are into the '60s stuff and like to play it very aggressively."

Although Fortune's diagnosis of the current state of trad-surf is grim at best, there's apparently an upside for the Infrareds. "Instrumental music in California is totally dead right now," he pronounces. "It was popular about five years ago, and there were some great bands doing it, like the Bomboras and Satan's Pilgrims...but it's pretty much a foreign concept now, which is kind of cool for us because it's like we're doing something that no one else is doing. I guess it reinforces our sense of individuality."

Cowabunga, daddy-o.

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