Reviews

Post date: 03/19/2017 - 17:11
Arno de Cea & the Clockwork Wizards - Flash Freezing the Sun

With no releases from Arno de Cea in either the Clockwork Wizards or the Irradiates, 2016 felt kinda... safe (though did his best). He's back though, with another album of impossibly huge guitars and apocalyptic panic.

Flash Freezing The Sun picks up where ...Read more

Post date: 03/17/2017 - 09:20
El Supernaut - Gorilla Fighter

Man, what is it about Finland? El Supernaut have released their 3rd LP and have more than earned some recognition in the instro scene. Gorilla Fighter is a bright, punchy record full of ideas. Their last LP Plays Half Dead was great, but it was literally half (excellent) Dead Kennedys covers. Playing mostly original material now, they sneak in hints of Booker T and the MGs on "Fool For Your Loving", a ska beat on "Die Mauer Brechen", a bit more of a straightforward 90's...Read more

Post date: 03/16/2017 - 07:29
The Chemist and the Avevities - Sounds from Chemistry Town #4

This is the 4th release from The Chemist and even if you missed everything up to this point, the label should give you a good idea of what you're getting: loud, fast, power surf. Not just a trashy take on the 60's sound but instrumentals with oomph and size, definitely of the Man or Astro-man family. "Farm Nightmare" and "Kallocaine" change things up with the drumming and "escape from cerclon" has some theremin freakout. If you're like me, you need to have a regular intake of this sort of...Read more

Post date: 03/09/2017 - 08:06
Surf Out! - The Album

At 19 songs and just short of an hour, there's a lot to digest here. Surf Out! is a duo with some help from friends playing garagey trad surf. At times that duo-ness sounds Flat Duo Jetsy, like on "Tango Whiskey" but they'll also do these slower numbers like "Sunsets and Surfboards". I think "Mariposa" strikes a nice balance between moments of elegance and a damn-it-all grab to make some noise. "Don't Freak Out" almost has a Dinosaur Jr grungey sound to it, and "Big Surf in Winnetka" takes...Read more

Post date: 03/09/2017 - 07:30
Culebra & Thee Evolution Surf School - Uncontrollable Waves 7"

Some straight trad stuff from Culebra here with a focus on melody over racket. Though guitar is at the forefront, the little touches of sax and organ are a nice sub-surface flourish. Though adequate, I think the sound production here isn't doing these songs justice -- there are some nice, memorable tunes here but they don't present themselves well on first listen. My favorite is the opener "Tres Palmeras"

You can buy it on 7" vinyl or digital download from Bandcamp.

...Read more

Post date: 03/07/2017 - 07:26
The Terminators - We Are Ready For Anything For the Mafia's Queen EP

The Terminators play fast, mean, and short surf instrumentals with what I assume is humorous Russian stage banter peppered throughout. It's extremely short, with each song coming in at less than 1 minute and 30 seconds when you skip the talking, but those instrumentals are worth it! They're well produced, well played, and full of energy.

I can't find much else on them, but I like what I've heard.

Apparently they've released more material this year so I'll embed all three. Each...Read more

Post date: 03/03/2017 - 09:02
The Illuminators - Desert Rocks EP

Despite consistently enticing album art, I am not well acquainted with The Illuminators' material. They play modern/progressive instrumentals with a bit of mood and punch to them. There's a desert/spaghetti western theme going on on this EP that probably comes out strongest in "Memento Amorella", which might also be the most melodically memorable moment of the EP. This isn't really a direct Ennio Morricone thing though -- I hear just as much of the Madeira in here as that, but not quite as...Read more

Post date: 03/02/2017 - 07:09
Los Tiki Phantoms - Aventuras En Celuloide

Los Tiki Phantoms are back with another album of lighthearted, carefree, pop-garage surf instrumentals. Though there are a few more effects, brass instruments, and spaghetti western sounds, it still has that bright and sunny Los Tiki Phantoms feel. They don't change the formula much, but I think of them as dependable rather than sounding stale.

Took me a while to find the...Read more

Post date: 03/02/2017 - 06:54

So close to being able to say "Release the Kraken". Anyway, Z and the K's are a trad surf band out of Copenhagen playing 100% covers, including some from the 90's and onwards. I was surprised at how naturally they could fit songs by The Atlantics, The Ghastly Ones and Man or Astro-man right next to more standardized surf standards like Pipeline and Squad Car. Speaking of cohesiveness, the second half of the album was live but a nice enough recording that the talking before and after the...Read more

Post date: 03/01/2017 - 07:35
Nishioka Diddley And His One Man Chip - Surfin' With Nishioka Diddley EP

Every once in a while retro electronic music collides with retro analog rock & roll and we get a chiptune surf record.

The ones I've heard don't usually do covers of classic instro tunes, which does make this especially interesting. However, it's not full chiptune, as there's clearly some guitar in there (am I seriously complaining about guitar use?). I think "Cross Ties" and "Reveille Rock" are the best use of this sound, while the latter two amount to basically...Read more

Post date: 02/27/2017 - 12:26
The Splashdowns - Rocket Tales

Splashdown is when a spacecraft hits the water upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. When astronauts go from space to surf.  It's a great name for the splashdowns, who mix a semi-trad surf sound with a sense of cosmic wonder and adventure. Think  rather than Man... or Astro-man?, with a non-aggressive, thoughtful surf approach and not...Read more

Post date: 02/19/2017 - 08:50
Amphibian Man - Babylon

I , so now it's time to see what he has in store for us in the new year.

Thematically, I didn't notice anything particularly cohesive in this release. It's a bit more patient and perhaps a bit more quick-picky than straight-up melodic, but he still manages to hit a...Read more

Post date: 02/18/2017 - 08:57
The Bahareebas - Tell Me a Story About

In their 4th LP, The Bahareebas have found a sweet spot that I expect should resonate with just about any modern-trad surf fan. Despite a pretty no-frills surf sound, The Bahareebas manage to play with a sense of purpose and emotion in every moment of the melody. It's bright and sunny and energetic, but also with a sense of danger -- while not being vicious. They take cues from many of trad surf's memorable leitmotifs without feeling like rip-offs, just channeling the spirit of the music. I...Read more

Post date: 02/16/2017 - 07:25
Genki Genki Panic - Litanies of Surf

Genki Genki Panic is back after their transformative Spooky Fingers EP. While Spooky Fingers felt kind kind of like a soundtrack, Litanies of Surf is a rock record, dialing back the atmospherics, cranking up the volume and the speed, and keeping the anything-goes approach to their song-writing. Less spooky, but bigger and meaner. Less Danny Elfman, more Man... or Astro-Man and sometimes even...Read more

Post date: 02/15/2017 - 08:00
Los Coronados - Sundaze EP

With their last release, Los Coronados had a story that the grandsons of the original musicians were releasing their fathers surf band master tapes from 1965. Fun story, but I didn't buy it. Now that they're Tupac'ing some new material, I'm especially not buying it. But here's the thing: this is the only Taiwanese surf band I know of. That's plenty enough of a story!

Anyway, three tracks here, strictly trad surf, a little on the laid-back side. Give it a listen....Read more

Post date: 02/15/2017 - 07:53
Dr Phobic and the Phobic Tones - MELOPHOBIA

Lots to worry about here. Dr Phobic serves up 10 instro-metal tracks with titles that end with the phobia suffix.

This metal guitar and dirty bass sound probably won't work for everybody, but my favorite here is "Ichthyophobia". Though after looking up some of the song titles, my favorite might go to "Pithecophobia", the fear of apes.

Digital download is free, but you can also order a CD through their bandcamp page if you'd like.

...Read more

Post date: 02/01/2017 - 08:00
Los Misterios - El Instronauta

This is the second EP from Los Misterios, both of them with some pretty striking album art. By their own description, "4 gunshots that, if heard by Trump, he'd use them to invade some new planet." Their sound is generally pretty trad other than some very prominent (and welcome) organ. I think that element gets especially interesting on "Sexy Safari" but all of these are pretty fun.

Up for download or CD purchase on bandcamp.

...Read more

Post date: 02/01/2017 - 07:51
The Guitaraculas - Preachers of the Night

Man, what a time to be alive. The Messer Chups (or in this case a side project of the Messer Chups) can release an album and you immediately have a chance to listen to it. You used to have to dig around for the one site that seemed to be holding them at the time. That said, if you're looking for a physical copy, that still may be the case as doesn't have it listed yet....Read more

Post date: 01/12/2017 - 16:29
Phatlynx - Huevosaurus b/w Ham Biscuit

More greasy fun from North Carolina's premiere Link Wray/Food tribute band. Huevosaurus may read as a Link-styled song, but it's a pretty direct cover of a song by Huevos Rancheros. Ham Biscuit is a goofy instrumental with a few vocals that belongs on those Frolic Diner compilations. As you'd expect from their LP , it's...Read more

Post date: 01/04/2017 - 07:27
Paquetá - Surfadelic Dreams

Brazil's Paquetá have been around for a less than a year but have already played over 50 shows and released several demos and live tracks. This is the first studio release, a better look at their sound. All five tracks are gritty, howling instrumental surf punk with psychedelic tinges. They hardly ever slow it down, full-on energy and power from start to finish.

Give it a listen!

...Read more

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