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Amphibian Man - No Surfers in My Town

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.

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Glasgow TIki Shakers - Blue Transporter and Happy Halloween

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 their personality as a group.

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The Kilaueas - Touch My Alien

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.

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X-Ray Vision - Panique Au Biblos

X-Ray Vision - Panique Au Biblos

X-Ray Vision as a technology is frequently thought of as gadgetry for means of espionage, and going by that definition it’s a surprisingly good fit for this band, blending spy tones with Astro-Man zip-zoop.

Central to this is the keyboards, swapping duty between swirling hammond-esque sounds and more futuristic electronic sounds and a few in-between. Sometimes in a fittingly spy manner, sometimes reminding me of their fellow frenchmen Les Tigres du Futur with a spastic approach.

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The Del-Vipers - Cannibal Safari EP

The Del-Vipers - Cannibal Safari EP

In 2014 the Del-Vipers came out of nowhere (technically Austin, TX) with the relentlessly charging Terror of the Del-Vipers, one of my favorite surf records of the 2010s. It's hard to believe it's only been 4 years since we've heard anything new from them, but Cannibal Safari is a welcome return. The opener "Cobra's Fang" is exactly the stuff from Terror, an aggressive first strike with pounding surf beat. "Kapu" is a bit more of a stomper, not quite subdued but dialing the tempo back from a 10 to an 8 or so.

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Humanga Danga - Humanga Danga

Humanga Danga - Humanga Danga

Weird name, good band. Humanga Danga hail from Ghent, but I struggle to find much overt Fifty Foot Combo influence. Instead, their own stated influences of Space Cossacks and Langhorns sound just about right in the lead guitar tone: a good modern surf tone with a solid thunk to it and strong attack. It's helped out a lot but a very eager rhythm guitarist that's always punctuating the melody in interesting ways, sometimes making it hard to believe that there's just two guitars.

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The Mystery Men? - Firewalkers

The Mystery Men? - Firewalkers

Firewalkers has had a long road. The original plan was to have it released at the 2017 SurfGuitar101, and The Mystery Men? even played the album in its entirety, essentially treating it as an album release. However, it missed that date and instead they released a preview EP called Embers with some choice cuts from the album. So naturally it felt like it was just around the corner. A year later, they released a revealing that they had been robbed and needed some help to see the light of day. And again, there were preview clips of this record, a few more crumbs.

That GoFundMe hasn’t been a roaring success (hint, hint) but Firewalkers is real. I have heard it. And it’s kind of wonderful that it will make its true debut, CD copies on-hand, at , essentially their own event on their home turf.<--break->

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Impala - In the Late Hours

Impala - In the Late Hours

Who would have thought that after 20 years of silence we’d see seminal instro acts of the 90s like Impala and The Bomboras rise from the grave? While I think surf is having a great year right now, it’s slowly changed since the 90’s, probably a little less traditional, or at least allowed a lot more instrumental music styles under its umbrella.

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