Hypnotzar's debut EP late last year was a welcome surprise and I'm glad we didn't have to wait long for more. Nearly all parts of this record were done by Lev Kuchinsky, but it hardly sounds like a bedroom project and each part is distinct and interesting. "Thermodynamist" has some great interplay between guitar parts and the desolate "Cold Streams of Taiga" has an awesome sense of dread to it. And then we get two really fun covers of songs by At The Gates and Electric Wizard. Ironically for...Read more
The well-loved but tough-to-find "Monster Surfing Time" by the Deadly Ones is finally seeing a vinyl rerelease courtesy of the Concord Records - from what I can tell its first since 1964 when Vee-Jay originally released it. A mint copy of this sells for around $200, with VG copies going for $50, so this should be much easier. This reissue will feature translucent slime green vinyl to add to the horror. Not much is known of the players on this one other than Joe South, but it's a must-play...Read more
The Razorblades have been a staple of Germany's instro scene for well over a decade now and I believe this is their fifth LP. Since I hadn't heard a full Razorblades record since Twang Machine in 2009, I was wondering whether they had changed things up a bit, especially since their video for this album featured a pretty significant amount of vocals.
For such a populous part of the world, it's REALLY hard to find a Chinese surf band (I'm counting Taiwan). Los Coronados are particularly interesting though, perhaps more than meets the eye. These guys claim that they are actually Los Coronados Jr., the grandsons of the original Tawianese surf band Los Coronados back in 1965. This is supposedly the digitized reel-to-reels of their original 1965 recording.
I don't buy it.
It DOES sound very traditional: very simple surf setup,...Read more
Vermont isn't a place that I think of as a surf hotspot. Maybe that's why The High Breaks play the brand of no-frills trad surf that they do: because somebody has to. 10 tracks of surf originals with a strong, bold guitar sound and some great melodies. While most of the record is bright, sunny stuff, I was actually surprised how well they pulled off their few moments of creepiness on "Ankle Breaker" and "Voodoo Wave". I'm glad they went with the sound that they did, but I'm thinking of the...Read more
The Lucianos are comprised of members of big-time sychobilly bands Demented are Go and The Astro-Zombies (side note: the Astro-Zombies have a few instrumentals tucked away in their records that are pretty cool!). This is their first release and it's being put out by Killjoy Records as a vinyl 7" and cassette. They classify themselves as powersurf and indeed "Think Twice Before Cheating" is relentlessly fast and builds to a powerful crescendo. You can order it from...Read more
If you've never taken the time to look into the late 90's surf group Jonny and the Shamen, here's a great way to do it: everything they've ever recorded plus a few unreleased tracks shoved into one $10 bundle. Their music is hard-hitting surf with horror/space/spy themes not unlike early Man or Astro-Man? - close enough that Jonny joined them as Victor Vector. More recently, he was a part of the...Read more
When I saw that this Ventures record was being reissued I thought "I'd never seen that one". That's because it's an alternate edition of the "Mashed Potatoes and Gravy" record they put out.
That explains the tuber-centric tracklist on this supposed beach party album:
- ...Read more
Christian Targa plays for the punk band Blind Pigs who have been around since the 90s, and he certainly didn't leave his punk influence behind; my first thought on the opener "Abdução" was Dead Kennedys. Those first three tracks all have a great sense of panic and terror before cooling down a little bit into the more anthemic "Aos Amigos", which still retains a punk guitar tone while ditching the attitude. He doesn't really slow down entirely until "Nova Lua", a nice closing track. I know...Read more
The Apaches hail from Arizona and a bit of open-air desert sound definitely creeps into this. Sure, it's definitely surf and not spaghetti western or anything, but it tends to deal in solitude more than it does in adrenaline. I believe all of these are original compositions and they have a good sense of when to play pretty ("Grim Fandango" is a good example) and when to punch ("Space Chase"). Download is on bandcamp and by the looks of their...Read more
As many of you are aware, Davie Allan has not exactly been hibernating: he's been pumping out new material on a steady basis since the 90s. However, they're usually self-released and on CD. So thanks to Joel Grind he's not only seing a vinyl release, but it's on the legendary metal label Relapse. While tribute albums don't usually feature the artist that tribute is being paid to, it does feel like that's what's happening here and it's all very fitting.
Each side is two tracks. Davie's...Read more
Tsunamish have been on a steady one-EP-a-year release schedule so far, and this should please if you've been a fan of them this far. For the most part it's upbeat modern-traditional surf rock, though there's a bit more of a punk sound on their Bad Religion cover of "We're Only Gonna Die" and they have vocals on their cover of Holly Golightly's "There is an End".
I've always enjoyed Tsunamish's album art and though the woman on the cover is certainly not showing Amish modesty, this is...Read more
One of the things I like about instrumental music is that you're free to craft your own narrative from the music. This is still the case with Los Surfer Compadres' new album, but they've given you a lot of thought pieces to help you along on their album art: surfing with swords, aliens, a cookout, a protest, a bird with a ring on its talon, an angry god...
Indeed the music itself visits spaghetti western, fuzz guitar, a variety of different moods, though there's definitely a pretty...Read more
This looks like the debut EP from Minnesota's Thee Sturgeons, and they have a lot of fun with it. The most straight-forward surf is "Giant Squid Attack" which already has some fun tradeoffs between guitar parts, but tracks like "Sand Dune" is where I think they're really coming from. Surrounding its middle-eastern flair, is a surprisingly loud fuzzy bass bubbling into a weirdo bellydancing beat with farfisa hovering all around. "Kimchi Gammi" takes that same off-kilter dance groove to a more...Read more
While I think it has gotten better in the 2010s, I think it's understated how often poor sound engineering has held back an otherwise decent surf record. What we have here is the opposite story. Genki Genki Panic's previous releases weren't hampered by their production, but "Spooky Fingers" makes an amazing impression in an instant, setting a brand new idea of what this band is about.
Genki Genki Panic aren't the first horror surf band out there, and plenty have scronked out a fuzzy...Read more
We've got a new 7" out from the Thunderchiefs: trad surf maestros from Austin, Texas. I haven't heard this one yet, but their split with The Surfites "Surf Nut" was well worth it. You can order it from Space Case Records. As far as I can tell, this one is wax only, nuthin' for your hard drives.
Fun fact: if you spoonerize...Read more
Les Tigres du Futur have a sound unto themselves, yet familiar enough for the impact to be immediate. As much as this is a guitar-centric site, they mostly serve as the crunchy, grinding infantry force. Leading the charge is the whirlwind keyboard, which deftly straddles both psych/prog mystery and adventure and a hip-shaking mod beat. If that doesn't sound very surf, it's because it's not; I don't hear a shred of Dick Dale, Ventures or even Shadows in this -- MAYBE Davie Allan or Link Wray...Read more
Two weeks after releasing their Speed Power Turbo Racer EP, Amphibian Man have YET ANOTHER release. This is about as easy of a write-up as it gets: heavy surf covers of songs from the Contra Nintendo game. It's as awesome as it sounds, and it's a free download.Read more
This is the debut EP from Seattle's Delstroyers. The play kick-em-in-the-teeth surf with a little bit of a horror edge to it. The winner of the 4-pack is "Take me to the Hell-Hop" with a some great guitar interplay, and moments of the guitars really cutting loose then cutting back. It's all good, fun, stuff that I could imagine being pretty fun live.
All four tracks are available for free download on their Reverbnation page. Looking foward to hearing what's next from them.
Though the Phantom Operators never keep you waiting long for more material, this is the second full-length from the Tennessee-based group. When listening to them, there's one word that comes to mind: desolate. The guitars go on and on, but with a bit of a melancholy and not so much of that California brightness. It fits the desert theme that runs thoughout much of the Phantom Operators' material.
That's not to say this is a moper: "Haole A-Go-Go" and "Cannibal Run" are more party-...Read more