Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week, we are featuring songs by bands performing during the 24th Shake The Shack Rockabilly Ball, September 22-24 at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Today’s selection is “Grunion Run” by Insect Surfers from their 2006 album Lyve in the Valley of the Sun on Kalaallit Nunaat Music.
If you click ‘Photos’ on the Insect Surfers’ website, the first thing that pops up is this Burning Man sculpture designed by group founder Dave Arnson of an ant with an arm (leg?) around a surfboard...I just thought that was worth mentioning. Also noteworthy is the fact that they have been putting lava lamps on their amps when they play since 1986...Actually, there is a lot about the Insect Surfers that is noteworthy. Check out their highly entertaining website for more.
As is the case with a good deal of surf bands still out there playing today, it is abundantly clear Insect Surfers are instrumental surf rock purists who do it for no other reason than a love of the genre. Formed in Washington DC in 1979, they proclaim themselves “Planet Earth’s longest running modern surf band,” and they’re probably right. They relocated to LA in the late 80s and have been playing up and down the coast and releasing albums ever since.
Today’s featured song, “Grunion Run,” is a perfect example of the kind of freewheeling surf rock you’d expect from a band like Insect Surfers. It’s a live recording, too, so if you’re wondering what to expect when they take the stage at the Tractor Tavern on Thursday night for the Rockabilly Ball, this is it. If you’re still looking for a little more to whet your appetite for Thursday night, they’ll be playing live on KEXP airwaves Thursday at 3:00 PM. Here they are playing their song “Diamondback” in 2009: