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The Sentinals “Latin’ia”

01/04/2011

I doubt that the Sentinals were anyone but their mothers’ favorite of the first-wave instrumental surf bands, but this song is the pinnacle of moody atmospheric rock for its era.  The bold picking in the intro almost immediately tucks itself into a basic “latin” rhythm, but something about the tone of the drums and guitar has this sort of seductive shyness that draws you in.  One of my pet theories is that these SoCal high school kids were the same kind of kids as current post-rock musicians, young men (mostly) in love with the first beautiful music that seems to speak directly to them, with new sounds suggesting mystery and adventure.

I’m one of them, my surf band recorded a version of “Latin’ia” last spring and we’re finally getting around to mixing it.  Personally, it was the most challenging song I’ve learned to cover, not because it’s difficult but because I’m more of a banger than a subtle player, and this is an early masterpiece of understated guitar majesty.

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