Post date: 06/10/2022 - 13:33
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
Post date: 06/05/2022 - 08:19
I have some old EPs from The Hang-Ten Hangmen dating back to 2010, playing trashy lo-fi surf with a bit of a dark edge to them. They turned that around with their much more bright and bouncy EP "Destination Saturn", which had some great expensive-sounding production and beach party vibes. They followed that up in 2018 with their LP "This is Boss", which doubled down on the party feeling with big foot-stomping vibes, sax, and keeping guitar tones fairly clean.
Post date: 06/04/2022 - 07:19
The Del-Vipers shot out like a rocket with their debut LP Terror of the Del-Vipers, then carried that momentum onto the more musically diverse EP Cannibal Safari. So you might be a little a little startled by how unstartling this album starts: with with friendly, sweet Shadows-ey guitar. On their second LP, The Del-Vipers have crafted a much more global, expansive sound that does more than just rip... but also still rips.
Their Cannibal Safari ...Read more
Post date: 06/03/2022 - 08:39
Well I thought today would be Bandcamp Friday. I typed up this whole article and then checked i and apparently the next one is in September. It's nice to have a roundup of reviews anyway. Here's some notable stuff to come out since the...Read more
Post date: 05/25/2022 - 16:08
I'm glad I caught this one, as the name doesn't exactly scream surf. I mean, maybe you knew that Mary Ann Hawkins was . Maybe you knew about their two previous EPs (one on...Read more
Post date: 05/17/2022 - 16:42
I remember when Northwest surf guardian Thom Head said I needed to listen to this local Seattle band The Delstroyers, and made sure I got a copy of their first EP. I remember hearing it and thinking he wasn't kidding. Since then it's been a lot of fun watching them go on to do bigger things. They released a blast of a debut LP, put out a cool 7" on Hi-Tide, and I've seen them play on two US coasts -- my then-unborn son even started kicking along to a pre-SG101 show, the first time he'd done...Read more
Post date: 05/11/2022 - 17:06
As global as the surf scene is today, I feel like we only get glimpses of what's happening in Japan. You hear about how tiny villages have "Ventures" bands, we know about eleki, Surf Coasters, and from what I hear it's a great place to tour playing surf music -- with all that in mind there must be more than the likes of The El Caminos, The Royal Fingers, Mach Kung Fu, 18.104.22.168's, Toni OK, Rat Holic, The Routes, Lulufin the Woohoo and Switch Trout. After all, those bands are all REALLY GOOD....Read more
Post date: 05/06/2022 - 08:31
I haven't done one of these in a while! It's another Bandcamp Friday, where Bandcamp skips its cut of sales and passes them to the artists. It's been a packed April, and full of lesser-known names to boot, so it's a good time for me to get back to sharing my finds. Here's some standout releases that I noticed, and I probably forgot some too. This is only April and early May releases, even though there was some great stuff in March too, and I they're super short since I wrote this whole thing...Read more
Post date: 05/05/2022 - 20:57
The Surfrajettes are the biggest ambassadors of surf music to emerge in a while, largely stemming from the viral success of their "Toxic" youtube video. I've caught them being played on my radio station by other DJs, several friends have sent me the aforementioned video, and my friends at a record store alerted me to this album being in stock when I walked in for Record Store Day without my asking. Of course in the internet age no attention is ever purely good attention, and surf...Read more
Post date: 02/25/2022 - 18:07
SSSU's unique blend of surf and lounge (for lack of better description) have been a beloved facet of the surf ecosystem for 25 years. However, though I think they never lost a step, their more recent efforts felt a little "library" (again, for lack of a better term). A little more genre-expansive, experimental, and a little less guitar. I always thought it was probably all they could do to keep from going stale, and they did it well.
To say that Flawless...Read more
Post date: 08/20/2021 - 12:58
I should have seen this coming. There have been plenty of surf cover bands and surf cover albums. I've seen a few covers of modern songs by bands like . The New Waves released , and that was pretty fun....Read more
Post date: 08/06/2021 - 08:17
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...Read more
Post date: 08/05/2021 - 12:30
Just about everything I've written about this band has something talking about how I thought they were special when I first heard some demo EPs on bandcamp years ago. And I can't think of a better intro, so looks like I just did it again. But at this point I think I need to retire the narrative of ascending stars in the surf scene. Their first LP on Double Crown, The Lost Mission, was excellent and even found its way into the...Read more
Post date: 07/01/2021 - 14:19
I'm hard-pressed to think of a current surf band that's as straight-up delightful as Les Agamemnonz. Their image is outwardly ridiculous, robed in colored tunics and barefoot, coupled with some of the most inventive stage antics and a simply joyful attitude when playing.
To be a goofball is not necessarily to be an idiot. Balancing this out are their strikingly thoughtful recordings. Amateurs in particular feels equal parts big and small, ambitious but humble, and I think they're even...Read more
Post date: 06/08/2021 - 21:40
I've heard of surf bands springing from many genres. PLENTY of punk-influenced surf bands, some from a jazz background, but I think traditional New Orleans style jazz is a first. 80% of JJ and the Trash Dogs are also members of Tuba Skinny, one of the most well-loved groups from that scene.
However, this is not trad jazz surf. I don't know what that would sound like, but I'm open to it. Perhaps the way the two bands most inform each other is their attention to detail in replicating...Read more
Post date: 06/03/2021 - 11:31
It's kind of a given when doing a review that the band is, well, a band, and the album is an album. Truthfully I don't think I understand what Chung Kings are. Their facebook description is "Chung Kings is a moveable feast of like-minded musicians expressing its love for Lo-Fi Surf, Ethio-Jazz, Latin, Rhythm & Blues and Exotica." I'm not sure that really clarifies it much. They've described this album as a compilation, which explains the names of groups in parentheses.
Here's an...Read more
Post date: 05/19/2021 - 12:15
This one came out a few months ago and I would have missed it completely were it not from Ferenc's review in The Continental Magazine. If you have it, read that. This Finnish stuff always tends to sneak by!
Pekka Laine is no stranger to surf music, being a member of Sultans of Jungle and The Hypnomen. The Hypnomen's surf records are fantastic, but years ago they added vocals and went in a psych direction. When that sort of thing happens you can only just shrug and...Read more
Post date: 05/07/2021 - 08:06
Another day when bandcamp gives up their cut of profits from sales and gives them directly to bands. Paypal ain't givin' up their cut, so on average bands get 93% of what you pay today vs 82% on a normal day. Of course, it's getting to the point where there's another way to support bands: MAYBE you're able to go see them live! Say hi to a...Read more
Post date: 04/16/2021 - 16:49
I feel like I've mentioned in past Gremmys something along the lines of "There weren't a lot of big releases this year" which had me wondering "What is a big release?". I mean, this is surf music, even Los Straitjackets are far from a household name. But this does feel like a big release year, with big releases from Les Agamemmnonz, Pollo Del Mar, Arno de Cea & the Clockwork Wizards, Surfer Joe, and of course these guys. They've hardly been dormant, with two...Read more
Post date: 03/05/2021 - 10:38
Bandcamp Friday means Bandcamp doesn't take a cut of what they sell, so ALMOST all of your purchase will go to the band (almost because Paypal exists). Which is to say it's a great day to stock up on music. It's also become a time for me to go back and write something about some recent releases to help guide you.