Bandcamp Friday Review Roundup: November Edition

King Pelican - East Meets West

It's another Bandcamp Friday which means 100% of your money goes to artists, none of it to poor ol' bandcamp, some of it to Paypal. This is probably going to be a shorter one because a) there were a lot of releases but a lot of them were Halloween singles, b) there weren't a whole of of LPs and c) I'm kind of behind on prepping for the finale of the top 100 surf records of the 2010s.

But anyway, here's some standouts

Primeiro Campeonato Mineiro de Surfe - 20 anos

This compilation dropped this morning so I haven't listened to it... it is 59 tracks after all, but there are some great bands in there (Tremlo Beer Gut, Os Gatunos, Dirty Fuse, Intoxicos, Beach Combers, Estrume'n'tal, Blackball Bandits), the price is right and most importantly it's there for a reason! Primeiro Campeonato Mineiro de Surfe is a Brazilian surf music festival that is going virtual in its 20th anniversary year. The name is a joke: it's a surf championship in a landlocked state, but what isn't a joke is 60 bands from around the world streaming performances on Saturday. The link to watch that is here:

The Aqua Barons - Extreme Guitar Conditions

The Aqua Barons sent me an advance copy maybe a month before release when it was still ridiculously hot in New Orleans, but relistening to it now it strikes me that its actual release date of October feels perfect. It's a great trad surf record that doesn't feel the need to be anything bigger than it is, it's comfortably happy with thoughtful and friendly stories told by guitar. It covers a surprising amount of surf sub-styles, and I think they do especially well when they slow it down, but overall I just get this pervasive feeling of "nice".

North Melbourne Surf Club - S/T

NMSC are comprised of members of several prominent Australian musicians, but the one surf fans know best is Martin Cilia. And this record both does and doesn't feel like one of his records -- it certainly sounds like him playing guitar, but this does feel significantly different from his solo material too. There's some heavy Atlantics influence on a bunch of these, but there's also a few songs that are a lot more bright and loose like "Souled Out" and "Nude Twister". Production is definitely pretty glossy but not overly so. It sounds like these guys had a lot of fun on this record.

By the way...

I try to only highlight new releases in these articles, but I feel like while I'm mentioning Martin Cilia and The Atlantics I should point out that they just recently put a bunch of modern and vintage up.

Los Surfistas Muertos - Psycho Surf From Hell

Their first record was pretty borderline for surf and this is probably stepping a little further, but if you like the idea of stewing your surf in with some noise rock and chugga chugga metal, it's worth a look.

King of Hawaii - Road Trip

I have to admit that while I knew about King of Hawaii's previous record Mele Kalikimaka I don't think I listened to it at all. I have some catching up to do. King of Hawaii take a progressive approach to surf music, de/reconstructing it into something that doesn't necessarily sound strange but does a lot of things you don't expect to hear from a surf band. It's an easy-going record but not a simple one! Road Trip is full of fun instrumentation, interesting chord progressions and joy.

King Pelican - East Meets West EP

This record has one foot in eleki, one in spaghetti western -- not a likely combination but they sit surprisingly well together. This trio is sounding bigger than ever, with guitars really getting that sharp shout that sounds great with eleki, bass that moves and rolls, and drums that punch through the air. Some killer whistling too!

Zombie Cookout - Wrong Side of the Sod

This is a wild one and probably closer to theatrical horror punk instrumental (that's a genre, right?) than it is to surf. "Beach Bodies" is certainly its surfiest moment, with more prominent guitar and a surfbeat, while the rest of the record is constantly changing rhythms and throwing in new sounds. Some of y'all are going to like this -- some of y'all are going to balk at my including it.


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