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Cinematic Instrumentals and Surfy Dance Tunes

From Retro Instrumentalists TarantinosNYC - by Delarue,  2020

TarantinosNYC III-Small Cover with edge.

The TarantinosNYC are one of New York’s most entertainingly cinematic bands. With a name like that, it would be pretty pathetic if they weren’t. In the spirit of the Ramones, all four Tarantinos – lead guitarist Paulie, bassist Tricia, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Louie and drummer Tony – are a rock family. They started out back in the late zeros playing Quentin Tarantino film music, then began writing originals. Their latest album, simply titled III is streaming at youtube; they’re headlining the monthly surf rock show at Otto’s tonight. March 7 at around midnight.

It’s a good lineup, starting at 9 with the deliciously creepy, Balkan-tinged Plato Zorba, then Link Wray cover band the Wraycyclers and at 11 Atomic Mosquitos spinoff Killers From Space. For anyone shuddering at the prospect at spending a Saturday night in the East Village, consider that these surf shows tend to draw an older and less Instagram-obsessed crowd, compared to the shrieking frat/sorority clusterfuck at the surrounding watering holes.

The band open the new album with a cover of Link Wray’s The Shadow Knows which with the organ is more elegantly enveloping than it is Frankenstein-ish – although that jaggedly tremolo-picked guitar bridge is spot-on. You’re Gonna Lose That Curl, the first of the originals, is an upbeat early 60s-style go-go surf tune with roller-rink organ and Wipeout drums.

With a luscious blend of twelve-string guitars and keys, their instrumental version of the Grass Roots’ Midnight Confessions – from the Jackie Brown soundtrack – blows away the original. After that, (Please Don’t) Dead End follows a familiar series of progressions, like a slicker take on classic-era Ventures.

The group put a surreal latin soul spin on a sentimental old Beach Boys ballad and follow that with Shaken Not Stirred, a mashup of Balkanized Ventures and crime jazz that weirdly works much better than you’d think (this band do that kind of thing A LOT). They wrap up the record with the moody Vegas noir ballad Holding You in My Mind, with an aptly enigmatic vocal by guest Elena Barakhovski. If you like your surf sounds on the diverse and surprising side, you should also check out their fantastic 2015 release Surfin’ the Silver Screen.

The Continental.jpg

March, 2020

This group has always specialized in playing songs of the cinema, whether it's covers or originals. With the covers, they either record songs from movies that are surfy to begin with, or they make nonsurf songs surfy. However, they always include a few originals as well, coming up with tunes that fit right in with the covers. This CD only has 7 songs, but they are all great. Starting off with a Link Wray classic, "The Shadow Knows", is a great start - the other covers are "Midnight Confessions" from Jackie Brown and The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". The rest are originals, including "You're Gonna Lose That Curl" which you can hear on this issue's included CD. The last song is the sole vocal tune, featuring the talents of Elena Barakhovski, but it's so good that I doubt even the strictest instro-only fan would not like it. It's like a long lost Bond film classic - in fact, while I like all of the instros here, this is probably my favorite song on the disc. If you haven't had a chance to hear this combo yet, this is a great place to start. (

December 2019  -   Album Review    TarantinosNYC III

As indicated by its title, this is TarantinosNYC's third release. A seven song EP with four originals and three covers, it follows Super Sounds Of The Cinema and Surfin' The Silver Screen which were reviewed most favourably in Pipeline 98. Inspired by the music selections in Quentin Tarantino's films, they "specialise in the great crossfade between '60s' 70s surf, soul, spy and spaghetti western that makes gangsters, samurai, failed thieves and even bastards somehow more hip and more appealing." As a four-piece with guitar and keyboards TarantinosNYC are able to deliver a range of sounds, and the opener The Shadow Knows is a fine example of organ supporting guitar without intruding in any way. This has all the menace of Link Wray's original and it never sounded better. The other covers are The Grassroots' Midnight Confessions (as used in Tarantino's film Jackie Brown) and a beautifully sensitive recording of Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds. The spiky You're Gonna Lose That Curl is an original with '60s organ providing interludes as snappy drumming drives along the stinging guitar lead to a fiery climax. (Please Don't) Dead End is an insistent duet for guitar and '60s organ while Shaken Not Stirred swells tastefully as a '60s spy theme with a swing break midway for variety. This is only the band's third release in ten years which is just one reason for the consistent quality of their output.

 - Alan Taylor

The band is presently comprised of guitarist Paulie Tarantino, bassist Tricia Tarantino, keyboardist Louie Tarantino, and drummer Tony Tarantino.

The Tarantinos NYC frequently perform at Unsteady Freddy’s Surf Rock Shindig, which has taken place at Otto’s Shrunken Head on the first Saturday of each month for the past 16 years. At Otto’s tonight, the Tarantinos NYC once again blended a sparkling dose of 1960's-1970's surf, spy and spaghetti western soundtracks with similarly-rooted original instrumentals.
Paulie Tarantino mastered an authentic vintage twang to his guitar work, and manipulated a variety of subtle sounds and textures that kept the songs sounding unique. This was more than simply reverb on steroids. This was one case where the concert was more enjoyable than the movie.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Recap: Asbury Park Surf Music Fest & The Asbury Park Promenade of Mermaids, 8/27/16

Next up, the Tarantinos from NYC start their set of spaghetti-western-infused surf jams. Their sound may be fit for a soundtrack but this is no background music. The crowd has filled in by the stage. There is nowhere to move on the promenade. The band is beaming and feeding off the energy. A woman in thigh-high boots and floral patterned dress twirls around in sync to the rhythm. A man is gyrating to the point where I am no longer sure if he is dancing or convulsing into a seizure. Good times!

Music Web Express
Although The Supertones are sometimes referred to as the best surf-rock instrumental band in NYC, not far behind are another fine band called The TarantinosNYC. The NYC part is part of the band’s name and, like true New Yorkers they rise to the fore with their 2015 album called "Surfin’ The Silver Screen". Specializing in surf, soul, spy and spaghetti western music, the band tackles both the classics and a bunch of fresh originals. Among the covers is a fine version of “You Only Live Twice”, one of the coolest James Bond themes, and other tracks from movies such as Pulp Fiction, Our Man Flint and Austin Powers. There’s even a track credited to the late, great founding bassist of The Shadows, Jet Harris, on a cover of “Man From Nowhere”. With one killer track after the next, "Surfin’ The Silver Screen" is time well spent for instrumental surf-rock guitar enthusiasts.

New York Music Daily
Reviews our CD.    Click Here for the Full Review

TarantinosNYC ...are... best known as a surf band, but as you would hope from a group with a film fixation, they have a cinematic side. Their music is catchy, and fun, and sometimes pretty creepy, much more unpredictable and occasionally epic than what most straight-up surf outfits typically play. Between them, lead guitarist Paulie Tarantino, bassist Tricia Tarantino, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Brian Tarantino and drummer Joey Tarantino make up one of New York’s most consistently interesting, original, entertaining bands. They have a new album, Surfin’ the Silver Screen.

Shindig – one of the six first-class originals here – makes a good opener: purist reverb surf guitar hitched to swirly organ, the rhythm section holding a classic Ventures beat. The organ and digital production give it a more current feel, yet also enable the band to put their own stamp on it. Bullwinkle Pt. 2 is the first cover, lowlit with Paulie’s lingering, noir, reverb-drenched tremolo-bar chords. Then they reinvent You Only Live Twice as a glittery showstopper, Brian’s organ front and center. It’s almost like ELO doing a surf song.

Dust-Up, another original, mashes up hints of monster surf and a Dell Shannon standard: it’s hard to imagine any band other than this one that would have come up with something this improbably successful.

Quincy Jones’ Soul Bossa Nova is a bizarre hybrid of roller-rink theme, garage psychedelia, a vintage soul strut and artsy late 70s Britpop. With its vamping repeaterbox guitar and some dancing tremolo-picking from Paulie, Spanish Steps sounds like Link Wray in a hurry to get a Lee Hazlewood desert rock groove on tape.The theme from Django – Tarantino’s best film by a mile – gets a richly watery, jangly, psychedelic arrangement with layers of acoustic and electric guitar and keys that elevates it above the cartoonish original. Pushed along by Tricia’s dancing, period-perfect early 70s soul bassline, Lo Chiamavano King comes across as a more artsy take on what could pass for a big Roy Ayers title theme.

Elena Barakhovski contributes soaring vocalese on Korla’s Theme, an artfully nebulous, ominously crescendoing Dick Dale-style Red Sea stomp with all kinds of cool variations – it might be the album’s best song. Then they slow things down to a misterioso swing with an impressively lush cover of Shake Some Evil by 90s cult heroes Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Positraction, another original, manages to blend Booker T, 60s go-go music, surf and swing without anybody in the band stepping on anybody else. Then they do Les Baxter’s Hell’s Belles as blazing psychedelic soul. The album ends with Man from Nowhere, a rare spy-surf gem first recorded by Shadows bassist Jet Harris on the soundtrack to the obscure British film Live It Up, pairing a brooding baritone guitar hook against uneasily airy keys. Surf bands typically live for rarities, but this is an especially sweet find. For that matter, so is the whole record.


As I sit here today getting ready to indulge in some musical content, I am reflecting on all of the amazing acts I have already seen this summer, and it’s not even half over... I recently discovered a band that I am totally into. They are different from what I usually feature in this column, and that’s the most exciting part. They go by the name of TarantinosNYC. I think we all can put a definition on the band name, but one day I will sit down with them and we will get the full scoop. In the meantime, let’s get to know their sound and style, shall we? I don’t know about you, but I am ready.

TarantinosNYC started as a band back in the stone ages of July 2005. They have a blended sound of “surf, soul, spy, and spaghetti western.” They may have made up that genre combination, but you have to admit, it’s intriguing as all hell. Members include Paulie Tarantino, Tricia Tarantino, Joey Tarantino, and Brian Tarantino.

The first track I took a listen to that got my blood flowing was “Spanish Steps.” I forgot to mention, all of the jams are instrumental. If that’s your thing, you will thoroughly enjoy this. It really showcases just how talented they are as musicians. This song makes me want to sit on the beach in California with a beer in my hand and the sun setting behind me. Come on, if that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will! Another groovy tune is called “Lo Chiamavano King.” Although the title may be hard to pronounce, it’s extremely easy to dance to.

Upon reading the description of their band, they hit the name right on the head with this one. They stated, “We specialize in the great crossfade between instrumental ’60s-’70s surf and soul that makes ’90s gangsters somehow more hip.” This may be the truest statement ever spoken. After all, if you’re into this genre, you know that during the early years of rock music, many surf bands provided soundtracks to people’s imaginary perception of what California life was like. I could hear their tunes being on soundtracks for movies like Jaws and those old-school Elvis flicks, and I mean this in the best way possible. I am on a mission to catch their live set, and show up in a bathing suit.


TarantinosNYC’s Surfing The Silver Screen, is available now, and I highly suggest you pick one up. And don’t worry, I love the beach, but don’t surf, however, I am still entitled to love surfer music! I think the reason I am such a fan is, through the ear, it’s lighthearted and fun, however, so many punk and rock bands have been influenced by surf rock, and this is no exception to the rule.

If you want to learn more about TarantinosNYC, join their family (figuratively, not literally), and catch their live shows...Be sure to tell them Maria sent you...

Although it's great to listen to brand new, original surf, sometimes it's nice to hear some classics - they kinda remind you why you got into this music in the first place. You can't argue with the song selection - “You Only Live Twice”, “Bullwinkle Pt. 2”, “Our Man Flint”, “Soul Bossa Nova” and more. From the band's name it should come as no surprise that there are four tunes from Tarantino flicks, plus a bunch of other cool 50’s-70’s movie tunes, and there are 6 original tunes as well. 17 songs in all and enough variety to guarantee there's something for everyone on this disc.

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