The Break is:
a. Brian Ritchie’s band with members of Midnight Oil which has an album called Church of the Open Sky.
b. When a wave crests and falls particularly a place where the surfing is really great. See also surf break, point break, beach break, reef break, shore break, big wave break, etc.
c. Both a. and b.
If you listen to KROQ, you’ve heard the Violent Femmes on and off singing “Blister In The Sun,” “Add It Up,” or “Gone Daddy Gone.” It’s still hard to believe Violent Femmes broke up after nearly making the 30 year mark of being a band during which time they put out other great stuff that you don’t hear on the radio during Flashback Lunch. You may have also heard the Australian band Midnight Oil during your growing up years in LA.
If you have a yearning to hear more of Brian Ritchie’s scintillating basslines, your wish has come true. If you have a yearning to hear new surf music, your wish has come true.
Unbeknowst to most of America, Midnight Oil have roots in the surf pubs of Sydney. Strange, but true, LA is not the only place where people surf. Sometimes LA gets egocentric…
Midnight Oil and the Femmes met at the inaugural Earth Day Concert in Australia. They became friends and shared a tour manager for ten years. When Ritchie moved to Hobart, Tasmania, the inevitable occurred. They jammed and started writing tunes.
It’s such an oddly fantastic journey that an American kid from Milwaukee would move to Tasmania. But so long as we can find some tunes on the internet, all is well. The result of their jam sessions was a collection of surf-flavored tunes which those in So Cal would truly enjoy.
For some, surf music has set boundaries, but Ritchie said, “We’re not following those parameters. We understood it was a surf theme, but no music is fun if you are too much of a purist about it, or if you set too many constraints. You have to have some freedom.” Rules were always meant to be broken when it comes to music. We like that out here in LA—breaking rules and breaking waves.
The Break combine multiple elements from many genres. Songs such as “Phobos Grunt” are equal parts surf and space rock. And while Ritchie’s role isn’t as transparently front and center as it was in Violent Femmes, he pops out with riffs whenever the song allows. The songs are all named after surf breaks in Australia such as Winkipop, Five Rocks, and Cylinders. Here are some track by track details: www.thebreak.net.au/images/Jims_Tacks.pdf
Also, check out www.surfmusic.com for more about classic surf bands and more recent music. A documentary focused on surf music in the Los Angeles area called Sound of Surf covered 50 years of surf music, including the surf punk revival of the ‘80s.
You can listen on their myspace page. They are actively touring in Australia. Check it out at http://www.myspace.com/thebreakau/ You can buy it on iTunes. http://itunes.apple.com/au/album/church-of-the-open-sky/id366767533 or at Amazon.com. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they’ll be touring to LA.
Check out my blog at www.KeepMusicking.blogspot.com