California

Tikiyaki 5-0 release Introducing the Exotic Sounds of Tikiyaki 5-0 EP

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' "Shockwave" and a killer original "Supernova" that is 100% pedal-to-the-metal surf.

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The Kaygles release Sunstroke EP

The Kaygles - Sunstroke EP

Here's one I almost passed by completely. Between the - I'm sorry but - terrible album art and the genitalia joke in the band name, I figured this would be some awful snotty garage-style surf rock a la Wavves. I took the risk though, and was immediately bowled over by some top-notch honkin' sax over a surf beat. This the good stuff: well produced trad surf with memorable melodies, nice big guitar sound backed up by some smartly accenting bass and keys. The first two tracks definitely outperform the second half, but it's all good. Mark 'em down in your book, or whatever.

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The Me Gustas release Learning to Ride EP

The Me Gustas - Learning to Ride EP

The Me Gustas have shrunk from 3 to 2 members between their last LP and this EP, but it doesn't show. They've doubled down on the spaghetti westerns, and that solitary feel fits a guitar-and-drums combo pretty well. Though short, it's got a fun spirit to it and 50% of your purchase of the EP goes to the organization Guitars Not Guns.

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The Volcanics release Stompin' Garage

The Volcanics - Stompin' Garage

The Volcanics aren't the most celebrated band on the Double Crown roster, but they're one of the most solid. While the mailman hasn't brought this one to my doorstep just yet, from Double Crown's descriptions this sounds like more of the same. More of the same means killer trad instrumentals that hit the sweet spot of testosterone and melodic sensibility sitting next to some great upbeat garage tracks. Not to mention I've always thought the production quality on their records hits just the right crispness and tone to get that great energy of the 60's classics.

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Shark in the Water release Every Week is Shark Week

Shark in the Water - Every Week is Shark Week

Since my mind is on the Gremmy Awards lately, this is easily categorized into the category, with distorted metal guitar tone 100% of the time, growling basslines, and a generally mean temperment -- in a fun way of course. I think the best marriage of these surf and metal sounds come through in "Unagi Tsunami", which is possibly the silliest of the bunch which chants of "Uga Chaka" underneath the scuzz. 

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Blackball Bandits release Aqua Profunda EP

Blackball Bandits - Aqua Profunda EP

Just two months ago Blackball Bandits released their , which I thought was too good to be called a demo. They've also called this one a demo, and at this point they're really pushing it. This is a little bit different than the last one: not as rough-and-tumble, less punk and less spaghetti western.

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Pounded by the Surf releases No Waves

Pounded by Surf - No Waves

Earlier this year we got a surprise album dropped on us by of Hot Snakes (backed by the also excellent The Blind Shake). Pounded by the Surf aren't as outward about their alter-ego, but there was enough here to be suspicious: their album is exceptionally well-produced, came out of nowhere and they're touring both the US and Europe...

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The Illumignarly release Apocalypse Gnar

The Illumignarly- Apocalypse Gnar

The Illumignarly come out swinging with the quick and powerful track "Beeriodic Table of Sharks" but as you get a little further into that you hear a moment of spaciness that hints at the couple of prog elements that come out in "Neo Rubicon" and "Cannibal Castration" (a vocal track). "Tall Can" and "Dude I Like Your Shredder" are 100% surf rock shredding material. This is a pretty impressive EP with a lot of ideas in it and a whole lot of oomph.

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Par Avion release Surfing the Friendly Skies

Par Avion - Surfing the Friendly Skies

Par Avion clearly love the surf sound, but don't let it get in the way when they have other ideas. "Unchained Melody" has a great Duane Eddy meets modern-surf twang to it and sets the tone well for the rest of the album. But then the song "Par Avion" has a less motivated, more post-punk melancholy to it. Then the next song features a cello, the next one has a great orchestral spaghetti western sound to it, but then there's a pretty straightforward cover of Misirlou.

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Davie Allan and the Arrows release 50th Anniversary and King of the Fuzz Guitar

Davie Allan 50th Anniversary

It's been 50 years since Apache '65, the first LP by the Arrows, and Davie Allan has released TWO albums to commemorate this. He explained this in the I did with him the other day: he was working on the 50th Anniversary album and was worried that the people at Curb records were taking too long to clear the rights to those songs, so he went ahead and started working on King of the Fuzz.

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