Thurston Lava Tube The Pink Elephant with Nipples for Tusks / Free Su

For the past 25 years, Alan Jenkins has been making music under a frighteningly long list of bands, including the Deep Freeze Mice, the Chrysanthemums, the Creams and Ruth’s Refrigerator. His latest project is the Thurston Lava Tube, named after a cave made by a volcano in Hawaii and play surf music whilst retaining the psychedelic sound that many of his earlier projects possess. The Pink Elephant with Nipples for Tusks is the band’s third album and it doesn’t stray too far from the formula of its predecessor — lots of nice tunes with funny names ("I Didn’t Bite The Dinosaurs”), with a few covers (a strangely arranged "Mrs. Robinson”) thrown in for good measure. Just like Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet weren’t a surf band, neither are the Thurston Lava Tube — they just happen to play surf music. It isn’t just twang-y guitars on every track though, and the presence of Blodwyn P. Teabag (Jenkins’ wife) on organ adds another dimension to things. Free Surf Music #3 is, not surprisingly, the third and final instalment of a series featuring an earlier incarnation of the Thurston Lava Tube, hence Jenkins taking top billing on the sleeve. Recorded back in 1999, it is a lot less focussed, more experimental take on surf music than The Pink Elephant — although it still has a few real highlights, including the 11-minute epic "Grand Central,” which meanders through a variety of styles. The pick of the titles in this case are "I Walk the Lion” and "Deploy the Frog Exaggerator!” What makes Free Surf Music #3 the more notable of the two releases is the inclusion of three more albums in mp3 format from the Cordelia Records back catalogue. These include a live concert by both Ruth’s Refrigerator and the Creams, peppered with some well chosen covers of Guided By Voices, They Might Be Giants and Wire, as well as a compilation of unreleased material by a variety of Cordelia bands, and acts as a wonderful introduction to Jenkins’ non-surf musical life. (Heads Up)