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Death Wave - Mare Incognitum

Death Wave - Mare Incognitum

Despite hearing their first EP, something about this led me to believe that it would be fast-n-nasty metal-tinged surf, but Mare Incognitum actually adopts a pretty normal modern surf sound at a normal pace, just dwelling a bit more on the darker side. That's no complaint though, each of these is punchy and fun, almost always danceable, and with a good sense of when to go big, when to sound a little nastier, and generally how to stay interesting and fun.

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Galactic Gold - Digital Vape

Galactic Gold - Digital Vape

I've often seen talk of drum machines in surf but it usually seems like a solution for bedroom composing and the inability to form a band. I gotta say that most of the music I've heard with them is... eh. But there are some bands that have fused surf with synth and drum machines very well, such as earlier Messer Chups and Matorralman. Galactic Gold sounds like neither and pulls it off well.

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The Flying Faders - Tectonic Shifts

The Flying Faders - Tectonic Shifts

Chad Shivers (organizer of the Southern Surf Stomp, plays in The Mystery Men?, KBK, plenty of others bands) champions The Flying Faders’ debut album No Sweat as one of the best surf albums of the past 10 years. I like it, but it never quite grabbed me enough. I couldn’t tell you why, and I can’t tell you why their new LP seems to fix whatever it was. Tectonic Shifts is a great album.

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The New Shaker Sex Addicts - We're In This Together EP

The New Shaker Sex Addicts - We're In This Together EP

The over-the-the top party feeling that you get from a band name that seemingly promises you both sex and (presumably) butt-shaking feels kind of ironically imposed when you actually listen to this album. It’s not sad or particularly listless or anything, it’s totally danceable, but there’s a sour and strange feeling to this. My first thought was a sort of vaporwave via surf, but I think something closer would be a Twin Peaks comparison. Not so much directly to Angelo Badalamenti, but the feel of the show itself.

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Moms I'd Like to Surf - Beach Control to Major Knob

Moms I'd Like to Surf - Beach Control to Major Knob

The surf band with perhaps the most uncomfortable name since Bambi Molesters have finally released their first full-length, and that mindset of pushing out of the comfort zone is all over this thing. However, this isn’t achieved by merely adding a theremin or doing a spaghetti western song; it’s with unexpected syncopation, different guitar tones, subtle effects and instrumentation. Not only is the band trying new things, but the listener is challenged as well. And most importantly, it works.

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Bande de los Apaches - Forever

Bande de los Apaches - Forever

Here in New Orleans it’s carnival time. Nearly every night this week there are parades all over the city. Once you’ve been to enough of these parades, they lose a lot of their appeal, and as that happens your focus draws away from the flashy floats and the beads flying through the air and towards one of the most underappreciated facets of New Orleans culture: the high school marching bands. The New Orleans tradition of small brass ensembles have been slowly getting more of their due, but these marching bands don’t cut albums and are rarely experienced outside of carnival. 

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Reverb Brasil releases Brazilian Tsunami Box Set

Brazilian Tsunami

Brazil truly seems like its own little world, a nation known for its cultural output, yet it always feels like it's not exactly put out there as much as the rest of the world peeks in. For Brazilian surf music, they have a champion advocating on their behalf: Reverb Brasil, headed by Leopoldo "Mocotó" Furtado. Reverb Brasil is to some extent a label, but mostly a platform to spread the word about Brazilian surf music. Reverb Tsunami is their most strident statement yet.

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The Cholla releases Link of the Surf Guitar EP

The Cholla - Link of the Surf Guitar

I think cartridge-based video games and surf music have a lot in common, having to impart feeling without the aid of vocals and having to do so with a very limited set of sounds available. Going even further than that, surf often tries to evoke a sense of danger and adventure, which is very familiar territory for video games. The themes that stand out in video games stand out because they're great: you're usually going to hear them on a loop, often for hours, so if you still like them after you've completed the game then that's a feat.

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