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The Head Henchmen - Oh No! It's the Head Henchmen

The Head Henchmen - Oh No! It's the Head Henchmen

This music isn’t about commercial success, so just about everybody’s in it for fun. So it feels kind of wrong to judge a band by how much fun it sounds like they’re having, but damn if these guys don’t sound like they’re having a little more fun than the rest.

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Reverb Nation: Live at the 2017 Surf Guitar 101 Convention

Reverb Nation: Live at the 2017 Surf Guitar 101 Convention

For those that got into surf somewhere after the 80’s and before bandcamp, compilations were key for exposure to more surf groups. That’s slowed down significantly, with only a handful of notable ones in the past few years (off the top of my head Brave New Surf and Monsters of Surf). Reverb Nation serves a dual purpose of commemorating a great lineup at the Surfguitar 101 convention (the tracks are mostly in the same sequence of the performances) and as a surf compilation.

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The Bradipos IV release Lost Waves

The Bradipos IV = Lost Waves

In 2016 The Bradipos IV after 11 years The Bradipos IV released their comeback record The Partheno-Phonic Sounds Of… It was a great record, and gauging by the hype at Surfguitar 101, a lot of people agreed. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait very long for the next one.

While Partheno-phonic was comprised of traditional neapolitan songs, the new record is a bit more of a straightforward instro record, especially as they tend to be today. That means a few covers, some dipping into other sub-genres (particularly Western in this case) and a bunch of originals.

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King Ghidora releases The Secret Origin of an Unknown Planetary Destroyer

King Ghidora - The Secret Origin of an Unknown Planetary Destroyer

In surf music we don’t deduct points for being derivative so I’ll go ahead and confirm what you have already deduced from the album art: there’s a pretty heavy Man or Astro-Man? influence here But who among us thinks that the universe couldn’t use another Project Infinity? That’s basically what’s going on here: not so much the experimental, sciencey side of MOAM but the loud guitars and punk energy.

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I Fattones release I Fattones

I Fattones - I Fattones

We are gathered here as worshippers of the vibrations of the guitar string, but stand before you today telling you that good surf music can be made with the guitar firmly relegated to a supporting role. Many of you may be quick to cry heretic, but the elders know that the saxophone was once a very respected rock & roll instrument, including in the surf realm.

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Toro Jones releases Toro Jones EP

Tor Jones - Toro Jones EP

Always cool when somebody that listens to my show shows me their music, and it’s especially cool when it’s good! This EP comes out swinging with “Bat Outta Hell!” and “Bone Vampire” which have a Huevos Rancheros vibe except with a beefier low-end. Then “Lighthouse Point” cools it off a bit, reminding me strongly Los Straitjackets’ classic “Close to Champaign”. Then “Noche Sin Luna” goes for the creepy vibe before a cover of Sandy Nelson’s bouncy “Big Noise from the Jungle”. Then they wrap it up with “Unraveler”, with a sound more in line with the first two tracks.

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Frankie and the Pool Boys release Spin the Bottle

Frankie and the Pool Boys - Spin the Bottle

Frankie and the Pool Boys are still allowed to be a called a supergroup (because they’re super!), but I think they’re done being a side project. For one, they’re a band now -- a core group of members playing on every song instead of a hodgepodge gang of guest artists. And at three LPs they’re starting to rival or exceed the output of some of the bands their members were known for.

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The Madeira release Center of the Surf

The Madeira - Center of the Surf

Center of the Surf is a live recording of surf giants The Madeira playing at the 2017 Surfguitar101 Convention in Torrance, CA: essentially the center of US surf music fandom and surf music history. Present in the audience was Mark Linett, a 3-time grammy winning producer and engineer capturing it all.

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