Back in 2016 Amphibian Man came out of nowhere with eight fantastic, high-energy releases in the span of about a year and a half. Things have changed a lot since then. The one-man project turned into a band, played shows, released a few more albums that were more of an instrumental skate/post/punk sound. And of course being from Ukraine there's there's the aspect of having your homeland invaded from Russia, a topic that I don't think I can begin to wrap my head around. Last year's LP was...Read more
Music reviews typically are here to answer one question: Is it any good? I operate by a "if you don't have anything nice to say..." rule so my answer is always either "yes" or I avoid answering. However, a new Ventures record is under heavier scrutiny, and will likely face nastier questions like, "Are these actually The Ventures?" and "Should I even care?" After all, this is their first LP in 24 years, and the lineup contains zero original members.
Vincent and Magdalena of Hi-Tide...Read more
Oh no. It's another Bandcamp Friday and I still have so much stuff to write about Surfguitar101 Festival. But there have also been so many releases I want to talk about! So as usual, I'm going to challenge myself to be as brief as possible while still saying something substantive. Buy these records!
The new surf label House of Tabu is releasing Archipelago: The Great Hits of the Madeira. Normally I wouldn't review a greatest hits album. There are certainly plenty of new releases that I'm not reviewing that are more worthy than talking about songs I already know. But I thought it would be a fun exercise to approach this differently: how about I make my own greatest hits and see how it matches up?
So here's how I approached this: I did a quick listen to The Madeira's...Read more
The next Bandcamp Friday is in August and I've come to rely on these to push myself to do quick reviews of recently released surf music. In the meantime, Bandcamp honors Juneteenth by donating their share to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a worthy cause for trying to buy more music on that day.
The Dream of the 90s is alive, sometimes even in Portland. And this being surf music, that 90's dream is of the 60's I guess. The Bomboras are back, Pollo Del Mar is back, Bradipos IV is possibly more active now than in the 90's, I'm getting ready to see The Volcanos at SG101, we've even been promised Langhorns. Satan's Pilgrims are perhaps the least surprising, leaving at least one album in each decade since and having been on a bit of a streak in the past five years. However, this ...Read more
The Desolate Coast entered the surf scene as a new project of Eric Cranfield of Seattle's The 'Verb, and that legacy echoed into the new band. Though Desolate Coast were certainly different, there were similarities in their guitar sound, their grasp of mood, and appreciation of misty pacific northwestern landscapes and grayscale-plus-pink displayed on album covers.
It's hard to say...Read more
After feeding myself a pretty ample helping of Bomboras while writing their review, it was pretty nice to jump from such a high energy level to one that could compete! The Obsidians aren't exactly high profile: No label, simple album art, basic online presence, I believe they don't have members from previous surf bands, and I don't see them mentioned in...Read more
The Bomboras were a standout group of the 90's surf revival, bolstered by a wild live show (not that I ever saw it) and a little extra visibility from one of their albums being released on Rob Zombie's label. Their sound was loud and savage, full of wild energy without adopting overt punk influence, sticking with fuzz over distortion and letting the organ do a lot of the talking. They called it quits in the year 2000.
These records were good, but I wouldn't say that any were can't-...Read more
Today is Bandcamp Friday which means Bandcamp doesn't take a cut (but Paypal still does) and more money goes to the bands. That makes it a nice time for me to pick out a handful of primo recent surf releases for your spending spree.
Normally these only cover the last month, but this is the first of these that I've done this year between Gremmy Awards, finger surgery, and as I'm writing this, Norovirus, so I'm going to stretch out a little further. The March output...Read more
The nice thing about being part of a small genre is that reunions are often as low-stakes as starting the band in the first place. It's not like they had to run the numbers to see if a big tour would be financially worth the effort. From I gather from the liner notes, they went on hiatus to devote more time to families and life stuff, played a few shows over the years on special occasions, and then started jamming during the pandemic and thought "this is nice". No big engineered comeback, it...Read more
Previously as part of the Gremmy Awards I released a big list of every surf release that I had come across in the past year. This year I decided to keep it as a rolling, consistently updated list. It's less fun at the end of the year, but it's more helpful this way.
A few things to note:
- Must have been released in 2023.
- Inclusion on this list does not mean that I've listened to it.
- Exclusion from this list could mean I don't know about it, that I haven't ...Read more
Daikaiju have been around for 20 years and in that time have performed... I'm gonna take a conservative guess and say 2000 shows. And yet in that span they've only released three albums. That isn't a suggestion that they should *do more*, because they're about as active as any band I know, it's just surprising. Truth be told, rarely during a Daikaiju show do I think "here's my jam!" because not only is it often loud enough to be hard to pick them out, but chances are between bizarre audience...Read more
After last month's relative dearth of new surf releases, sure enough October picked up the pace, accelerating towards Halloween day. And sure enough there were a ton of releases on that day. Stop doing that. Anyway, shall we unwrap some leftover Halloween candy?
These are in no particular order. There were some great singles as well from the likes of Surf Hermits, Atomic Drag, Surfrajettes and others, but in the interest of time I gotta leave them off and focus on...Read more
I've really been struck by how many fantastic surf releases this year, and every time I reflect on this I've reminded myself that there are a few looming releases threatening to crash my mental list of favorites. Any Satan's Pilgrims release holds that promise, but this is a particularly meaningful one as it's the last one that will feature their classic lineup with their late guitarist Dave Busacker who passed away in March 2021.
While aspects of the production of this album were...Read more
Of course, this drought is basically over as of today. There's records by Los Atarrayas, The Jagaloons, Zak & the Krakens, The Dreadtones, Magnatech, singles by Black Flamingos,...Read more
It's been forever since the last Bandcamp Friday roundup I've done and there have been a whole ton of excellent surf releases. Unfortunately this one lands in the middle of a vacation with little internet or even time availability. But I've got a bit of a window to do something here, so I'm going to highlight as many as I can before my son finishes his nap or this laundry gets done. I'm really going to try to focus on quantity of reviews over quality, though the whole point is that the music...Read more
They're a band that I had underestimated. Their previous EPs and singles were cool, but not necessarily enough to get too excited over. But Art at MuSick Records usually seems to know what he's doing, and when I saw their pre-release LP at the SG101 Convention that trust in him, combined with the record-buying
The Wave Chargers made a big impression on me with their intial handful of EPs. Raw and lo-fi traditional surf recordings. There's nothing particularly unique about that, but they did it well, and in particular some of their covers brough out a viciousness missing from the originals -- that's not to say they did it better than the bands themselves, but I think we sometimes forget that even the classics might have been a little stiffer from studio stagefright.
Then their debut LP felt...Read more
The Manakooras are not what you think they are.
Comprised of Jeremy from The Aqualads, Ted Pilgrim, Brian and Gary from the Intoxicators, Tim from the Reverburritos and others, this is not a surf supergroup. This is an exotica group, and there's even less noticeable surf guitar than on previous releases they've done. Don't approach this like Tikiyaki Five-O, expecting surf covers of exotica, this is exotica enough that the surf musicians are really my only excuse for reviewing it. It...Read more