Once again, today Bandcamp isn't taking a cut of purchases made on their website which makes today an excellent day to stock up on surf records. They got a little mysterious on us -- apparently June didn't have one and instead had a special Juneteenth event. I don't know if there was a July one, but in any case I have a lot to catch up on since the last one of these I did was May. That was so long ago we have a whole new coronavirus
Before I get started, there are some great new releases that I've written reviews about, so I'll just link them here. They're all awesome.
OK. Onto the rest. Here are some things that I think you might find interesting, in no particular order.
Cheap Violent Cats - Keep Em Peeled
This is the second Cheap Violent Cats release this year (and based on his facebook, more coming soon), but this is easily my favorite release of theirs. It's a much chunkier sound and harkens back to Rapido T Lusso's solo EP.... in fact it shares a track with it. Great loud and fast stuff, and though we've probably all heard somebody cover The Model at this point, it's the trashiest one I've heard.
Edit: and I wake up and there it is: another release! Haven't gotten to listen yet.
The Manakooras - The Southern Surfxotica Sessions
Hopefully you're acquainted with this exotica group comprised of several high-profile surf group members. These are all covers I believe, though I don't recognize all of them. Some are pretty well-tread, like Misirlou, but some are much more modern, like a cover of The Mystery Men?'s "Sky Lanterns". Heavy on steel guitar, not very heavy in many other respects. Grab a drink, have a seat, watch the sunset for a bit.
Atomic Drag - Atomic Drag EP
Great debut EP of aggro stuff here with a bit of a horror edge to it, I believe by just one guy. While the originals are great, I actually love his take on Cecilia Ann, letting the keyboard take the melody with a subtly buzzy tone to it. Can't wait to hear more.
Zerox monthly releases
Zerox has been releasing at least two tracks per month and while sometimes they're a little too out there, they're very often more melodic than the quirky electronics would have you expect at first glance.
The Guantanamos - Asylum Escape
It's cool to see more releases from this solid group that I saw at Surfer Joe. This is a pretty straight ahead modern-trad surf record with good guitar lines and some very propulsive drumming.
Répéter - Bad Twang
A cool record full of sparse desert twang sound, maybe with a hint of dub. Chilled out and exotic. While I don't think Khruangbin is a great comparison, I do think cut down a path for artists like this to make guitar instrumentals with a different set of moods than we might expect.
Big Mick and the Curl - Dune
I don't think this is insipired by the upcoming film based on the Frank Herbert novels, but it's pretty spicy nonetheless, particularly on that opening track. Solid modern surf from some music industry veterans that have been in a few pretty prominent bands.
The Cholla - Anthropocene
Yannick Peings released this solo effort about a month before his main band Blackball Bandits released their LP! And I think if you're a fan of one, you ought to look into the other too. This album is a little more experimental than Blackball Bandits, maybe a little more metallic and psychedelic, but they certainly don't feel like worlds apart. Furthermore, these certainly don't feel like half-baked castoffs from Blackball Bandits -- it's a very album-ey album.
I do hope that this serious effort doesn't divert this project from releasing more video game and TV theme covers though.
Louie Zong - Surfin' GBA
Here's an easy one. Surf covers of songs from several Pokémon games. This guy is actually pretty prolific though most of his stuff isn't actually surf, you might find it worth exploring.
Dipygus / Cosmic Reef Temple Split 7"
Two bands doing metal with a pretty good dollop of surf. These are absolutely both metal songs more than surf, but I think it's pretty fresh and I bet for some people this might be the most exciting thing in here.
The Tarantinos - Leather Weather/Suzie Q
Not to be confused with The Tarantinos NYC, two great surf tracks, one a cover both excellent, both pay-what-you-want. It's not much more complicated than that.
The Breakers - Torch Light
This is a hard one to break down in a quick way as it's frequently shapeshifting and trying new things, and there's a whole 18 tracks to digest. Overall, this certainly isn't a traditional surf record, with a bit of a post-punk feel to the guitar playing (despite a mostly surfy tone) and an overall dark feel to it. There are some synthy bits too, and I gotta say those were really doing it for me, like on the track "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald". Give it a shot!
Found Drowned - Untested
Found Drowned have always been about raw and fast. Their FDR EP might be the only 7" I have that has 7 songs on it. This is pretty similar, with only one song breaking the two minute mark and two under the one minute mark. It's also one dollar, though it's a benefit for friends whose house was flooded so feel free to spend a little more.
Mike Brookfield - Hey Kiddo
Mike generally hails from the virtuoso blues-rock guitarist realm, which tends to be a little dangerous of a starting point for an instrumental surf record. I think he gets it though, this album is full of fun, concise guitar hooks that you'd expect from a surf record. I wouldn't say that his typical style is completely banished from this record -- it can get a little too noodly for my tastes -- but those feel like indulgences rather than the norm, and really that might come down to taste as to whether that's a negative. Anyway, it's on the list for a reason. it's a good and competent surf record.
Black Valley Moon - Spectral Melodies Vol. 1
I was worried when this band's second release was vocal, but back to instro they go! This EP's sound is a little more homogenous than their debut LP, but it's a good sound to stick to. Super energetic, and wide-open, maybe with a tinge of post-punk in there. All tracks are great. The only weird thing: the digital is pretty overpriced with 4 songs at $10... and the vinyl is pretty affordable also at $10.