CJSW Gold: Prairie Surfin’

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The year was 1981 — Blondie’s “The Tide is High” was topping the charts, Ronald Reagan was president of the United States, and CJSW was just a campus radio station pining for an FM license. In these simpler times, CJSW provided almost nothing by way of formal training for on-air hosts. Legend has it that “CJSW Gold” – a photocopied list of “essential albums” – was the closest thing to training new recruits received before diving into the world of live radio.

CJSW Gold proved to be nothing more than a brief moment in CJSW history. However, in the spirit of honouring the past, we decided to resurrect CJSW Gold as a list of multi-decade spanning, genre-bending essential albums, curated by the programmers at CJSW.

As host of Prairie Surfin’, Jay Heule knows a thing or two about surf and garage rock. Here are the six albums Jay has graced with his stamp of approval to be a part of CJSW Gold. Make sure to check out Jay’s show on Sundays from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on CJSW 90.9 FM, and anytime at cjsw.com. Interview by Alex Moher. 

Jay’s picks:


1. Worship the Sun (2014) – Allah-Las

2. Can’t Get No (2013) – Dead Ghosts

3. Was Dead (2007) – King Tuff

4. Damp Face EP (2012) – La Luz

5. Beach Party (1981) – Marine Girls

6. Hung at Heart (2013) – The Growlers

1.Worship the Sun – Allah-Las

Jay: “Timeless surf and garage rock n’ roll riffs, capturing the vibes of empty and endless summertime beaches. Hazy and nostalgic tunes for rippin’ around and hangin’ 10.”

Notes: Worship the Sun is the second studio album from Los Angeles-based four-piece Allah-Las. The record gives off some serious 1960s vibes with its dreamy, west-coast psychedelic sound.

2.Can’t Get No – Dead Ghosts

Jay: “Radical lo-fi rock n’ roll from these Vancouver dudes, with surf, garage and country vibes. Can’t Get No is packed with rowdy summertime heaters and non-stop good times.”

3.Was Dead – King Tuff

Jay: “Weirdo Vermont dood Mr.Tuff delivers the catchy good ol’ fashioned rock n roll hits on Was Dead. Fun tracks and some wicked cover art!” 

Notes: King Tuff frontman Kyle Thomas has made a name for himself as a force in contemporary rock music, both as a frontman and as a member of rocker Ty Segall’s sometimes backup band The Muggers. In 2013, Burger Records reissued 2008’s Was Dead.

4.Damp Face – La Luz

Jay: “La Luz’s first EP; filled with retro surfy riffs and tubular sunny harmonies. 5 of the best mellow spaghetti western beach babe surfin’ tracks around!” 

5.Beach Party – Marine Girls

Jay: “Whimsical beach tunes from 1980s England. Maybe not the most classic album, but how can you go wrong with an album called Beach Party!” 

Notes: Beach Party received modest commercial success as post-punk group Marine Girls’ debut album. By 1983, just two years after the release of Beach Party, the band was officially disbanded; however, the influence of Marine Girls lives on through the likes of LCD System and Nirvana.

6.Hung at Heart – The Growlers

Jay: “An eclectic mixture of spooky surfy country garage pop rock n roll, Hung at Heart is a radical mix of burned out beach bums making the best beach tunes.”

Notes: Hung at Heart is the third studio album from The Growlers. Hailing from Southern California, The Growlers have made a career pioneering a sound that has been dubbed as “Beach Goth”