Post date: 09/25/2018 - 22:20
Ted Boys Marinos - Surf Sessions

Album Good.

Trad surf records are some of the hardest ones to write about, or at least to write something unique. You have to grasp at the intangible or embellish something irrelevant into something meaningful. I've been listening to this album for a few weeks now and I've made no progress with those avenues.

This album doesn't show you anything new, doesn't do anything in an exceptional manner, it's just a collection of great surf songs. Even "Adrenal", which...Read more

Post date: 09/25/2018 - 21:59
Humanga Danga - Humanga Danga

Weird name, good band. Humanga Danga hail from Ghent, but I struggle to find much overt Fifty Foot Combo influence. Instead, their own stated influences of Space Cossacks and Langhorns sound just about right in the lead guitar tone: a good modern surf tone with a solid thunk to it and strong attack. It's helped out a lot but a very eager rhythm guitarist that's always punctuating the melody in interesting ways, sometimes making it hard to believe that there's just two guitars. These songs...Read more

Post date: 09/07/2018 - 11:50
The Mystery Men? - Firewalkers

Firewalkers has had a long road. The original plan was to have it released at the 2017 SurfGuitar101, and The Mystery Men? even played the album in its entirety, essentially treating it as an album release. However, it missed that date and instead they released a preview EP called Embers with some choice cuts from the album. So naturally it felt like it was just around the corner. A year later, they released a...Read more

Post date: 09/07/2018 - 10:18
Impala - In the Late Hours

Who would have thought that after 20 years of silence we’d see seminal instro acts of the 90s like Impala and The Bomboras rise from the grave? While I think surf is having a great year right now, it’s slowly changed since the 90’s, probably a little less traditional, or at least allowed a lot more instrumental music styles under its umbrella.

Perhaps that’s exactly why Impala is back. In the Late Hours is not a surf record. While it feels comfortably at home with their back...Read more

Post date: 08/24/2018 - 10:12
Los Protones - Misión: OA4

The trouble with releasing a greatest hits album (in Los Protones’ case ) as an active band is that your next release is expected to rise above that bar. Los Protones show that they’re willing to rise to that challenge,...Read more

Post date: 08/17/2018 - 11:04
The Head Henchmen - Oh No! It's the Head Henchmen

This music isn’t about commercial success, so just about everybody’s in it for fun. So it feels kind of wrong to judge a band by how much fun it sounds like they’re having, but damn if these guys don’t sound like they’re having a little more fun than the rest.

The Head Henchmen are a pretty traditional surf group and you’ll hear a lot of very familiar licks, but they have a great sense of why they’re used. The percussion is a huge...Read more

Post date: 08/17/2018 - 10:57
Reverb Nation: Live at the 2017 Surf Guitar 101 Convention

For those that got into surf somewhere after the 80’s and before bandcamp, compilations were key for exposure to more surf groups. That’s slowed down significantly, with only a handful of notable ones in the past few years (off the top of my head Brave New Surf and Monsters of Surf). Reverb Nation serves a dual purpose of commemorating a great lineup at the Surfguitar 101 convention (the tracks are mostly in the same sequence of the performances) and as a...Read more

Post date: 06/29/2018 - 09:15
The Bradipos IV = Lost Waves

In 2016 The Bradipos IV after 11 years The Bradipos IV released their comeback record The Partheno-Phonic Sounds Of… It was a great record, and gauging by the hype at Surfguitar 101, a lot of people agreed. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait very long for the next one.

While Partheno-phonic was comprised of traditional neapolitan songs, the new record is a bit more of a straightforward instro record, especially as they tend to be today. That means a few covers, some dipping into other...Read more

Post date: 05/29/2018 - 08:23
King Ghidora - The Secret Origin of an Unknown Planetary Destroyer

In surf music we don’t deduct points for being derivative so I’ll go ahead and confirm what you have already deduced from the album art: there’s a pretty heavy Man or Astro-Man? influence here But who among us thinks that the universe couldn’t use another Project Infinity? That’s basically what’s going on here: not so much the experimental, sciencey side of MOAM but the loud guitars and punk energy.

“Punk energy” is a hard thing to quantify, but the important thing...Read more

Post date: 05/24/2018 - 18:40
I Fattones - I Fattones

We are gathered here as worshippers of the vibrations of the guitar string, but stand before you today telling you that good surf music can be made with the guitar firmly relegated to a supporting role. Many of you may be quick to cry heretic, but the elders know that the saxophone was once a very respected rock & roll instrument, including in the surf realm.

The saxmanship displayed here is, I think, palatable to even the most skeptical surf fan as the energy...Read more

Post date: 05/20/2018 - 09:16
Tor Jones - Toro Jones EP

Always cool when somebody that listens to my show shows me their music, and it’s especially cool when it’s good! This EP comes out swinging with “Bat Outta Hell!” and “Bone Vampire” which have a Huevos Rancheros vibe except with a beefier low-end. Then “Lighthouse Point” cools it off a bit, reminding me strongly Los Straitjackets’ classic “Close to Champaign”. Then “Noche Sin Luna” goes for the creepy vibe before a cover of Sandy Nelson’s bouncy “Big Noise from the Jungle”. Then...Read more

Post date: 05/17/2018 - 08:15
Volcano Kings - Midnight on Switchblade Street

If I’d have known that Volcano Kings were going to release three more EPs after , I would have rationed my hyperbolic praise for them to span the next review. I don’t know much about them, and though they label themselves as a group that makes soundtracks (among many...Read more

Post date: 05/17/2018 - 08:09
The Cameramen - The Cameramen

The first track of Sunken City gives you a good cue of the album to follow: atmospheric lead-in giving a sense of setting and narrative, some vocals reinforcing that, then breaking into unmistakable surf guitar.

But yes, vocals. I usually focus on entirely instrumental bands but I think this is a pretty palettable approach for a surf fan, with a vocal style that sits somewhere between Boss Martians and Man or Astro-man. It’s hard to describe, but the vocal stylings...Read more

Post date: 05/16/2018 - 09:41
Frankie and the Pool Boys - Spin the Bottle

Frankie and the Pool Boys are still allowed to be a called a supergroup (because they’re super!), but I think they’re done being a side project. For one, they’re a band now -- a core group of members playing on every song instead of a hodgepodge gang of guest artists. And at three LPs they’re starting to rival or exceed the output of some of the bands their members were known for.

Despite slashing the guest list, this still sounds very much like a Frankie and the...Read more

Post date: 05/15/2018 - 09:41
The Madeira - Center of the Surf

Center of the Surf is a live recording of surf giants The Madeira playing at the 2017 Surfguitar101 Convention in Torrance, CA: essentially the center of US surf music fandom and surf music history. Present in the audience was Mark Linett, a 3-time grammy winning producer and engineer capturing it all.

Also present was me. I’ve already talked about that show and...Read more

Post date: 04/14/2018 - 12:16
Sonido Gallo Negro - Mambo Cosmico

Sonido Gallo Negro isn’t a surf band but I’ve noticed that they’ve got a lot of surf fans. After months of drifting around on Spotify, their third LP has finally seen a proper release.

Let’s back up a little bit. In the late oughts Barbes records released the Roots of Chicha compilation, which brought attention to the chicha music of Peru. The folks behind this compilation were in a band called Chicha Libre and released their first LP Sonido Amazonico, named after the Los Mirlos...Read more

Post date: 04/14/2018 - 12:01

Go to their bandcamp page and it says released January 18th and I've been listening to this one since then, but they told me their album release date was March 30th so I waited a bit. With that extra time I've been trying to nail down what it is I like about CARLO but it remains elusive. It's hard to even pick out a real standout track, as I've found this record is best taken as a whole. It's the mood really, laid-back and adventurous at once, like a day trip to a swimming hole. While...Read more

Post date: 04/10/2018 - 22:59
Arno de Cea and the Clockwork Wizards - Retro Futurisme Volume I

A new album from Arno de Cea and the Clockwork Wizards is a stop-what-you’re-doing thing. He’s on top of his game and delivering a surf sound that nobody else has. But admittedly, two tracks in I found myself a little apprehensive about writing this review. What more is there to say about his nearly-perfected, patentable Brutal Surf? After two albums of the stuff, are there any worlds left to obliterate? 

...Read more

Post date: 03/23/2018 - 11:48
Shark Attack - Chum Punch

New Orleans’ instro scene is a weird one but as of lately a surprisingly active one. We’ve seen releases from surf punks , the au naturale and the unnatural...Read more

Post date: 03/11/2018 - 10:30
Blackball Bandits - The Lost Mission

It’s been great watching Blackball Bandits find their way from a couple of bandcamp so-called-demos to a proud members of the Double Crown roster (and featured on the soundtrack to a ). They’ve done a great job of retrofitting retro surf feel and attitude to more modern surf song structures.

The Lost Mission is...Read more


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