Makin Waves Record of the Week: The Grip Weeds’ “Trip Around the Sun”

The Grips Weeds have made what may be their best album ever, “Trip Around the Sun,” at their own House of Vibes studio in Highland Park.

  I used to have an issue with bands who wear their influences overtly on their collective sleeves. But The Grip Weeds are so damn good at mashing up the sounds of the ‘60s, especially the British Invasion, their new and best-ever LP, Trip Around the Sun, is a testament to the Bob Dylan saying, “You don’t get older, you just get better.”

  The Beach Boys and The Byrds also get nods on the exceptionally well-made LP, which was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by members of the band at their own House of Vibes studios in Highland Park and New York City. All multi-instrumentalists, Kurt Reil, who mainly plays drums, recorded and mastered the LP, while wife, Kristin, and brother, Rick, who mainly play guitars, helped mix it. The professional level at which they did all that makes me want to recommend the studio to anyone who wants to make a good record. The rich separations and dynamic nuances of each track are gorgeous. One thing’s for damn sure: this band are having a blast on this record, and fans of ‘60s rock will too.

  So let’s take a spin through each track:

  • “Vibrations” – The Age of Aquarius rears its hippie head with Kurt’s loving mix of The Beach Boys and The Beatles that makes for an exciting love story about a relationship that’s so real, words need not be spoken because the vibes are so strong
  • “I Like Her” – Country-tinged Kinks-like power-pop that also recalls Ringo’s Beatles take on the Buck Owens hit “Act Naturally” in thought and texture from Rick, with winning slide work by Kristin and delicious harmonies by all
  • “After the Sunrise” – Tale of broken hearts and second chances by Kurt, featuring rousing, pretty acoustics; clever, heartfelt lyrics; slide work by Kristin that feels like a sunny nap under a sweet magnolia tree, and lush, soulful harmonies, including great vocal interplay between the husband-and-wife part of the team, particularly Kristin’s haunting echo
  • “Mr. Nervous” – Rick’s mining of the pop gold of The Who, The Stones, The Faces, The Yardbirds and early Pink Floyd, whose great nuances include a closing tambourine rattle and exotic percussion that work well underneath rich, raw vocals, crunching guitar sounds and pretty, lush harmonies
  • “Casual Observer (To a Crime)” – Rich, soulful pop-art tapestry that Kurt splatters with the splendor of ‘60s psychedelic and Mod stylings to find a creative cure for apathy and laziness in a raucous and rousing way
  • “Reality Stand Still” – A rare Kristen vocal turn on a tune she co-wrote with Kurt that recalls the power-pop of the early Who, as well as the psychedelic pop of early Pink Floyd captured on a Moog played by Rick
  • “Truth Behind the Lie” – Kurt tune that features excellent harmonies and a great walking bass line by Dave DeSantis, the only member of the band not a relative
  • “Times I Wasted” – cute ‘60s pop from Rick in the tradition of The Beatles and The Byrds
  • “All Things Bright” – Another vocally rich treat ala Kurt that also scratches a psychedelic itch in the spirit of The Byrds’ “Mr. Spaceman”
  • “Letters” – Box Tops-inspired treat from Rick
  • “She Tries” – Stellar Beatlesque harmonies and melody throughout with a great use of harpsichord in the first of two bridges written by Kurt
  • “Trip Around the Sun” – Stirring, soulful closing title track on which the Reil brothers give a nod to the maximum R&B of the early Who, luscious pop harmonies of The Beatles and the psychedelic artiness of Pink Floyd; kudos to Dave and his excellent John Entwhistle like bass line.

  Hear this great album recreated live on Oct. 20 at Lovin’ Cup in Rochester, N.Y. The Grip Weeds also will be at Bop Shop Records earlier that day also in Rochester.

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at