Reviews

Post date: 06/08/2019 - 08:14
Galactic Gold - Digital Vape

I've often seen talk of drum machines in surf but it usually seems like a solution for bedroom composing and the inability to form a band. I gotta say that most of the music I've heard with them is... eh. But there are some bands that have fused surf with synth and drum machines very well, such as earlier Messer Chups and Matorralman. Galactic Gold sounds like neither and pulls it off well.

I think the success lies in the...Read more

Post date: 06/07/2019 - 12:15
The Flying Faders - Tectonic Shifts

Chad Shivers (organizer of the Southern Surf Stomp, plays in The Mystery Men?, KBK, plenty of others bands) champions The Flying Faders’ debut album No Sweat as one of the best surf albums of the past 10 years. I like it, but it never quite grabbed me enough. I couldn’t tell you why, and I can’t tell you why their new LP seems to fix whatever it was. Tectonic Shifts is a great album.

Tectonic Shifts starts with two ferocious surf scorchers,...Read more

Post date: 06/07/2019 - 11:42
The New Shaker Sex Addicts - We're In This Together EP

The over-the-the top party feeling that you get from a band name that seemingly promises you both sex and (presumably) butt-shaking feels kind of ironically imposed when you actually listen to this album. It’s not sad or particularly listless or anything, it’s totally danceable, but there’s a sour and strange feeling to this. My first thought was a sort of vaporwave via surf, but I think something closer would be a Twin Peaks comparison. Not so much directly to Angelo Badalamenti,...Read more

Post date: 05/26/2019 - 08:05
El Zeb - El Zeb 7"

This is a band that’s straight-ahead with their delivery, so I’ll do the same: El Zeb nail it.

There’s no special sauce to El Zeb -- in terms of pure sound they could be mistaken for any of thousands of surf groups. They don’t need it because they have the personnel: Sebastien Fevry of Los Venturas, Sam Bolle probably best known as Dick Dale’s touring bassist, and Dusty Watson whose drumming resume includes so much surf & garage royalty that we’ll just settle and...Read more

Post date: 05/25/2019 - 09:29
Maeds Dominos - Copacabana Switchblade EP

Let’s jump straight to what’s important here: percussion.

A lot of bands reach for that spy sound, and while some try to get there via mimicry of John Barry, the real key isn’t in what you’re twangin’ but what you’re bangin’. Maeds Dominos sometimes have the snare restricted to surbeat, but you can expect it to be joined by bongos, glockenspiel (?), tambourine… it’s extremely well done and expands the whole feeling of the songs beyond mere guitar aggression.

But if you’re a...Read more

Post date: 05/05/2019 - 19:22
Amphibian Man - Metal Goes Surf

Of all the different directions that Amphibian Man has taken, this was the easiest to see coming. Shortly after releasing , Amphibian Man of surf versions of metal...Read more

Post date: 04/29/2019 - 22:13
Messer Chups - Mondo Harp

Y’all, I do my best to stay on top of this stuff, so I felt like a chump when I walked up to the merch table at our local Messer Chups show to find an album I’d never seen before. Their new one no less! To be fair, Mondo Harp has been strangely under the radar, with barely any mention on facebook and not yet having made its way to bandcamp or even Amazon. The opening track “Humanica” has a video available but it’s promoting the tour, not the album....Read more

Post date: 04/15/2019 - 21:45
The Volcanics - Forgotten Cove

I’ve been looking forward to this album for a good while now, especially since I saw the artwork way back at SG101 last year. Though the album cover evokes a bit more narrative and intrigue than anything they’ve had previously, it wasn’t the draw of something new that attracted me – it was the promise of what The Volcanics always provide.

What I like about The Volcanics is that despite sounding as a trad group should, their dogma to the genre isn...Read more

Post date: 04/15/2019 - 21:37
Cherokee Astro - s/t

The opening track “Song of the Samurai” establishes the vital statistics of this band: speed, guitar pyrotechnics -- stuff I like but not necessarily standout features. Good song, but there’s more to this band. Cherokee Astro generate a good momentum but also a good...Read more

Post date: 03/13/2019 - 08:48
Moms I'd Like to Surf - Beach Control to Major Knob

The surf band with perhaps the most uncomfortable name since Bambi Molesters have finally released their first full-length, and that mindset of pushing out of the comfort zone is all over this thing. However, this isn’t achieved by merely adding a theremin or doing a spaghetti western song; it’s with unexpected syncopation, different guitar tones, subtle effects and instrumentation. Not only is the band trying new things, but the listener is challenged as well. And most importantly...Read more

Post date: 03/01/2019 - 11:14
The KBK - Acute Exposure: The First Ten Years

Man or Astro-man led the charge of a new b-movie punk branch of instrumental surf. That reach extended globally but their crash-landing in Alabama left a radioactive fallout that spawned instro bands within a small radius for years to come. Kill Baby Kill (now The KBK) came along much later, but spilled out of the same crater and stuck around long enough to make an impact on many of us. When I spoke to Chad Shivers, organizer of Southern Surf Stomp, member of the Mystery Men? and...Read more

Post date: 03/01/2019 - 06:27
Bande de los Apaches - Forever

Here in New Orleans it’s carnival time. Nearly every night this week there are parades all over the city. Once you’ve been to enough of these parades, they lose a lot of their appeal, and as that happens your focus draws away from the flashy floats and the beads flying through the air and towards one of the most underappreciated facets of New Orleans culture: the high school marching bands. The New Orleans tradition of small brass ensembles have been slowly getting more of their due, but...Read more

Post date: 02/01/2019 - 09:12
Los Surfistas Muertos - s/t

The debut album of Los Surfistas Muertos wastes no time getting to business, launching into mean, buzzy guitars within five seconds -- delayed only by a “muahahaha”. This opener is just a surface-scratch of what’s inside, though, with even their other loud songs outclassing that level of noise.

When you first hear the guitars kick in on “Redacted” there’s definitely a little bit of a “whoa”, with the thickness of that distortion approaching noise-rock levels. That...Read more

Post date: 01/25/2019 - 11:11
Brazilian Tsunami

Brazil truly seems like its own little world, a nation known for its cultural output, yet it always feels like it's not exactly put out there as much as the rest of the world peeks in. For Brazilian surf music, they have a champion advocating on their behalf: Reverb Brasil, headed by Leopoldo "Mocotó" Furtado. Reverb Brasil is to some extent a label, but mostly a platform to spread the word about Brazilian surf music. Reverb Tsunami is their most strident statement yet.

...Read more

Post date: 01/24/2019 - 23:10
The Cholla - Link of the Surf Guitar

I think cartridge-based video games and surf music have a lot in common, having to impart feeling without the aid of vocals and having to do so with a very limited set of sounds available. Going even further than that, surf often tries to evoke a sense of danger and adventure, which is very familiar territory for video games. The themes that stand out in video games stand out because they're great: you're usually going to hear them on a loop, often for hours, so if you...Read more

Post date: 01/13/2019 - 09:37
Llobarros - Exotica & Fuzz

This short debut EP from Llobarros gets a lot done. It starts out with a great, trashy trad surf song that will probably excite in the same way that The Wave Chargers have recently, moves into a guitar-exotica number that could fit right in on one of those Surfer's Mood compilations (or that Technicolor Paradise comp that Numero Group recently put out), then moves into a more progressive-styled nasty instro with fuzz guitar and some really growly bass, then another exotica-...Read more

Post date: 01/13/2019 - 08:56
JJ and Trash Dogs - Por Do Sol EP

JJ and Trash Dogs are the newest New Orleans surf band, I believe with only 4 shows so far, two of which I attended and somehow missed the band. Arg.

However, I've spoken to the other bands that played with them Friday night and everybody was pretty thrilled with what they heard, and there was a specific reason they cited: it's classic trad-styled surf, something that we in New Orleans have almost never had access too (trust me, I've been looking). Two guitars, bass,...Read more

Post date: 11/23/2018 - 11:33
Amphibian Man - No Surfers In My Town

Amphibian Man has emerged from its tadpole phase as a one-man bedroom project into a 3-piece band that performs live and does real band things like not release music every 2 months for free. First and foremost, I'm happy for them. Amphibian Man has been one of the biggest stand-outs in surf in recent years and I love that they're making money from it both from records and from people seeing them live. Wish it could be me but Ukraine's not too close.

Whereas previous albums seemed to...Read more

Post date: 11/02/2018 - 12:13
Glasgow Tiki Shakers - Happy Halloween

The Glasgow TIki Shakers have a unique sound that’s hard to pin down. They’ve never been about noise, power, cavernous reverb. They’ve got this staccato jumpy groove to them, feels relaxed and uneasy often at the same time. More tiki spirit than a lot of surf bands to don a hawaiian shirt, but way too surf to be even close to exotica. Honestly, I think I’m failing to describe it, but suffice it to say that even as they change forms from one song to next, it still feels in line with...Read more

Post date: 11/02/2018 - 11:40
The Kilaueas - Touch My Alien

Sometimes I worry that I lean a little too hard into the sound production quality of an album vs songwriting, but for a band with such apparent surf fanaticism as The Kilaueas it really does feel like it’s the missing piece. The guitar sounds so much bigger and deeper than their previous LP Waki Waki Woo, the reverb so wet and loud enough to fit their stage act.

The song-writing is in modern surf vein and they mostly stick to that -- no token spaghetti western, etc...Read more

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