Reviews

Post date: 09/13/2016 - 07:20
The Dustaphonics - 100% InstrUmental Compilation

Even if most of their songs feature vocals, you can pretty reliably hear a reverbed out surf twang underneath the Dustaphonics. Well, they went ahead and made things easy for us instro nuts and slapped together a compilation of all their instro cuts. Though I'm not too well-versed in their discography, I don't believe any of these are new cuts. However, it's also a little deeper than their 3 LPs; the exotic and powerful "Twangy Batacuda" seems to come from their guitarist's...Read more

Post date: 09/08/2016 - 07:23
Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited - Music from the 6th Floor

For nearly 20 years Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited have been putting out records that are rock solid and sound like nobody else. This is and while this is no exception to that rule, it is slightly different. The space age sound is toned down a bit, and in its place I hear a bit more of an Italian soundtrack vibe and often a lot more electronic, often in...Read more

Post date: 09/01/2016 - 07:44
BEER/Tommy Valentine release BEER plus Tommy Valentine: 5 Love Songs

So as instro fans we're only really interested in the first 6 tracks of this by BEER, all of whose songs are dedicated to different beers. This belongs a bit in the avant-garde/jazz-surf category that's been slowly picking up steam lately, with plenty of saxophone and some dissonant tones amidst more freeform song structure than we get from most surf. It's pretty overtly rooted in surf though, even riffing on "Surf Rider" in their song "Bohemia". This style isn't for everybody, but I think...Read more

Post date: 08/30/2016 - 07:42
Davie Allan and the Arrows - The Mini Album

I normally have a rule for what I post on this site: over half of the album has to be instrumental. For Davie I'll bend it: 3 instrumentals, 4 vocal tracks. In an email, Davie said that last year's were likely his last physical releases (I guess he's not counting...Read more

Post date: 08/30/2016 - 07:19
The Concussions - Newaygo Sound Machine

The Concussions hit an amazing middle ground between being absolutely crammed with hooks and being understated. What I find is that this combination makes for an absurd amount of repeat spins in the car, especially as background music. Now, I hate talking about instro as background music, but when everybody finds themselves whistling it when they get out, I think that's OK. The Concussions are able to grab that simpler form of riff-based song-writing that seems left in the 60s and they do it...Read more

Post date: 08/24/2016 - 08:02
Tito y sus Supersonicos - Popular vol 1-4

The Supersonicos have a project going: every month they release two EPs full of covers of Uruguayan music until they get to 10 EPs.

Now right off the bat, I know nothing of the music of Uruguay, so all of these songs are fresh to me and essentially their own. But I think that would be the case even if I did know these songs. They've got a great sound on these that seamlessly wanders between surf, flamenco, spaghetti western, and something all of their own. And maybe some more...Read more

Post date: 08/23/2016 - 07:39
The Intoxicators - Eeaster Eggs on Halloween

There's not a whole lot of surf happening on the Florida panhandle (musically or otherwise) but The Intoxicators are a fine representative. Easter Eggs on Halloween has plenty of variety, certainly not locked to a tempo or mood, but it never drags, always seems ready to go. And when it's going, they can really rip. This album is front-loaded with the heavy songs: "Frozen Cossacks", "Sake Shaker" and "Easter Eggs on Halloween" are as savage as The Intoxicators have ever been, and the...Read more

Post date: 08/18/2016 - 07:32
The Kilaueas and Surfer Joe -  Play the Astronauts and More

Here's a fun project. This is a split LP between Surfer Joe and the Kilaueas, each taking a side on the vinyl version. Most of the tracks on here are covers of The Astronauts, and in a pretty faithful manner (no psychedelic Baja). The few originals are in the style of the Astronauts. For Surfer Joe, that means some deep-ass reverb -- that's the stuff! For the Kilaueas they added another guitarist to mimic the Astronauts' 3-guitar setup.

...Read more

Post date: 08/17/2016 - 07:46
Introducing the Exotic Sounds of Tikiyaki 5-0

Tikiyaki 5-0 are a smaller, more portable and guitar-focused version of The Tikiyaki Orchestra. While Tikiyaki Orchestra had no problem finding fans in the surf crowd, this is more surf than exotica, even when they're covering Arthur Lyman's "Taboo", which manages to finish with a rousing crescendo -- definitely a favorite on this EP. That said, "Song of Delilah" and Les Baxter's "Enchanted Sea" keep a bit more of an exotica mood. For the surf nuts, there's a cover of Zorba and the Greeks' "...Read more

Post date: 08/16/2016 - 07:45
Crazy Aces - Garageland

Crazy Aces have made a name in the surf world, but I think of them as more of a Ventures-styled band -- more twangy than drippy and focused primarily on melody. If you've enjoyed their previous records, I think you'll be all over "Scorpions", "Rudy's Revenge" and "Chop and Channel". It's hard to pick a favorite among them. Then they try their hand at spaghetti western with "Trail of the Mystery Men" which is much more cinematic sounding than I expect from them. They trade off a steady drum...Read more

Post date: 08/10/2016 - 07:50
Tidal Baby - UFO Surf Club

This is the first LP from Tidal Baby (formerly known as Grimm Futures) seemingly out of Canada? Their label is, and I swear I hear a bit of a Huevos Rancheros twang to them, so that's my guess. 7 instrumentals and one vocal track with a great loud-as-hell guitar sound complimented well by the bass. They crank out a lot of noise for a 3-piece. This is recorded live and I do think that holds them back a bit, but the songs and the sound are solid and it's definitely worth the free download from...Read more

Post date: 07/30/2016 - 22:52
Martin Cilia - Sleepwalk

The latest from Australia's surf guitar maestro. You've got 5 tracks on this one, four originals and of course the cover of the classic Sleepwalk. As can be expected from Cilia, production is slick as all get-out with reverbed electric guitar floating on for miles on Sleepwalk. I've only heard the snippets below of the originals, but it looks like they've got a solid breadth and some fresh ideas.

At the moment it's...Read more

Post date: 07/29/2016 - 09:55

Though I really do try to stay on top of all major surf releases as they come out, there are plenty that slip by my notice and some I plum forget to talk about. So I'll do them all at once because that's somehow less daunting to me than doing them individually. If I'm missing anything let me know, I'm definitely going to reference this when I build my list of surf releases from 2016.

Said the Ripper - The Hanging at Barbed Wire (Released in...Read more

Post date: 07/24/2016 - 09:25
Robotron - Robotron Versus The Invincible and Indestructible Reptilicus

Robotron is a project by Bjørn Hovland featuring 7 tracks of monstrous fuzzed out tough surf. While a lot of these projects where one member writes and plays many parts tend to sound stripped down, this gives no indication based on the music itself. Partially because this was hardly a bedroom recording: Bjorn hails from Norway, the album was mixed in Brazil and mastered in Seattle!

The kaiju-style imagery of the album comes through in the music: its aggression oscillates between...Read more

Post date: 07/20/2016 - 07:55
The Grave Robbers - Grave Diggers EP

The Grave Diggers play generally aggressive punk-influenced surf with tinges of horror surf. Those tinges are especially noticeable in the back-to-back Ghastly Ones covers. But this is a pretty fun record, they definitely know how to keep up a great energy and pump out a lot of sound for a threesome. Ontop of nice guitarism, they have a bunch of small little tweaks, sound effects, and quirks that add another level of interestingness. This isn't exactly the flashiest cover art -- with...Read more

Post date: 07/18/2016 - 07:32
The Grande Bois - Surf Salvation

The Grande Bois have been a pretty ambitious group since their first release and they're just as inventinve and frenetic on their third LP. Though their album art often deals in horror movie camp, they don't really come off as a horror surf band (especially on sleepy tracks like "Shy Groove", a straight sunset surf tune). Rather, they roll around in strange fiction tropes with playfulness. It gives them a good variety, sometimes playing it straight and sometimes getting pretty goofy and...Read more

Post date: 07/17/2016 - 18:51
King Ghidora - Curse of Poseidon EP

King Ghidora's been on my radar for a while, but I never caught wind of any prior releases apart from reverbnation updates and the like. Even if it's 3 songs, I'm glad to finally have this band in my library. King Ghidora hail from the Man or Astro-Man branch of the instro family tree, and I reckon they probably prefer the later material. KG's style is aggressive but progressive, with tracks 2 and 3 stretching into prog-psych-surf territory at 6 minute lengths. That's long for surf! The...Read more

Post date: 07/14/2016 - 07:15
Sys Malakian - Drifting With The Tide

So while I've highlighted albums on this stie, I didn't pay much attention to the solo work of that band's guitarist Sys Malakian. Drifting With The Surf leaves the chicha influence behind and sticks with a pretty trad surf sound. There's a good amount of variety, though even on the...Read more

Post date: 07/12/2016 - 07:28
The Mermers - Get Swell Soon

This is the debut EP from this Gainesville foursome. From the beginning I get a strong Ghastly Ones vibe, but as the record progressed I think they started to slip a bit more into their own sound. The organ work on this is a lot of fun, especially on "Party Grave" and "Blood Barrel". The guitar sometimes gives me some early Man or Astro-man flashbacks, but on the whole they don't compare that closely. With long track lengths (for surf) and some distinct mid-song changes, this sometimes plays...Read more

Post date: 07/11/2016 - 07:21
Amphibian Man - Waves EP

Ukraine's most prolific surf musician strikes again! Waves is a more sunny, trad surf approach but with a relentless energy. There's a greater focus on melody, though with oodles of speed and intensity kept in the mix. If you're a fan of 13th Magic Skull, I think this will be right up your alley, but it should appeal to a lot of surf fans in general.

If you missed it, I peeled back the curtain on Amphibian Man a bit in an...Read more

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