Post date: 12/16/2023 - 15:03
It's December, I'm very busy working on the Gremmy Awards, but I have to squeeze in a review because this was sent to me months ago before the aire was frigid. And I would guess that Chad and Cherry won't be reviewing it, so somebody has to!
Chad Shivers sent me this album, and he's the only name I know on it, but I want to be clear that most songs are written by "The Frigidaires", Chad is simply listed as "guitar, vocals", and that there's two other members sharing...Read more
Post date: 10/06/2023 - 07:38
Bandcamp may have changed hands again recently, but it looks like they're still giving up their portion of sales on the first Friday of every month, so "all" of your money goes to the artists (so long as you count Paypal as an artist). And as semi-usual, I'll draw some focus to recent surf releases worth a look. October is always a big month for surf releases...Read more
Post date: 09/07/2023 - 14:51
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
Post date: 08/26/2023 - 06:54
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
Post date: 08/04/2023 - 06:33
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!
Post date: 07/15/2023 - 22:23
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
Post date: 06/19/2023 - 08:47
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, by donating their share to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a worthy cause for trying to buy more music on that day.
Post date: 06/07/2023 - 15:15
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
Post date: 05/19/2023 - 07:43
The Desolate Coast entered the surf scene as a new project of Eric Cranfield of Seattle's , 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
Post date: 05/18/2023 - 15:27
After feeding myself a pretty ample helping of Bomboras while writing , 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
Post date: 05/13/2023 - 11:14
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
Post date: 04/07/2023 - 08:11
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
Post date: 04/05/2023 - 15:39
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
Post date: 03/24/2023 - 09:07
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
Post date: 03/18/2023 - 10:53
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
Post date: 11/04/2022 - 07:50
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
Post date: 10/15/2022 - 16:12
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
Post date: 10/07/2022 - 08:24
Today is Bandcamp Friday and for once I started writing this up earlier than last minute... but unfortunately this has been one of the slowest release periods of the year!* I guess that makes it easier for you to buy ALL of these great releases that came out in the past month.
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
Post date: 09/01/2022 - 14:26
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
Post date: 08/25/2022 - 13:35
I'm writing this review of Wave Electric immediately after reviewing The Wave Chargers simply because I find the juxtoposition of their names funny.
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