The second release from Viernes de Hongos brings in 6 songs full of mood and mystery. Their 2014 release was a bit more menacing, with a lot more fuzz, but this one has a bit more variety. "Agente Naranja" and "Numeros Rojos" are the boldest, but don't sleep on the creepy "Beso del Payaso". They've also got a cool cover of Rocket Man in "Popurusso". It's rare that you'll catch me saying this, but the one vocal track "Hippie Marihuano" is fun too, with...Read more
The Weisstronauts are a long-running instro band that have been consistently cranking out well played weekend-ready jams. They have a bit of a kitchen sink sound, with capital S Surf never really taking a center stage appearance, and most songs sounding different from the one that preceeded it. But if you gotta, I hear some Shadowy Men, Chet Atkins and some direct Vic Flick. The most full-out rocker is the third track "Teenage Wedding" but this album really isn't to be taken as pump up music...Read more
When I played the song "Out of Surf" on the radio show, a caller excitedly told me it was a cover of Max Romeo's reggae classic "Chase the Devil". So now I'm suspicious that the other tracks on here are obscure covers that I haven't figured out yet.
Cover or not, they're all enjoyable, with a wild, lively energy. "Surf Virus" features a sax taking lead...Read more
Here's a short release from the Spanish modern surf foursome Surflamingo. Everything I try to write about this is avoiding what I really want to say: there's a surf cover of "Green Hill Zone" from Sonic the Hedgehog.
Their take on it is fun and matches their overall tone and playing style really well. They get creative with it too, with some nice buildups and even switching to a ska beat at one point.
Yes, there's also, a cover of the Game of Thrones theme. I've...Read more
Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets have been friendcrushin' for a while, with LSJ having joined Lowe as a backing band on a few occasions. That leads us to this album of instrumental Nick Lowe covers. Not too familiar with Nick Lowe? Me neither, but these translate very well and don't simply feel like guitars "singing" vocal parts. Los Straitjackets have long ago expanded their sound past the 60's surf vocabulary, so the latin percussion on "Checkout Time" (...Read more
Five Fingers with Parasol are a trad surf band with with an energy that matches their look. Entirely upbeat, and lighthearted enough to mix The Simpsons theme into their song "Piedra, Papel o Cangrejo". For a trio it sounds surprisingly full, though they are sometimes helped by a fourth guitarist. Sometimes it's hard to convey how good a plain ol' trad surf record can be, but Five Fingers here have done a great job of tapping into that simple essense of fun that real surf is all about. It...Read more
For whatever reason, I skipped over The Wave Chargers first EP, but now that they've struck again I'm paying attention. They play crashing, fast and loud trad surf with a lo-fi production. Definitely getting a little bit of an Apemen vibe from it and they namedrop Les Cavaliers and The Wangs, which I think are appropriate too. Though all tracks are great, the cover of Johnny and the Hurricanes' "Crossfire" really nailed it.
Digital download via bandcamp or 7" vinyl. Would love an LP...Read more
It's finally here: the comeback record after 8 years following their last comeback record Psychsploitation. They've refocused back on a trad surf sound with a simple, melodic riff-based focus. For a 3-guitar lineup, they keep it surprisingly organized and patient, with those extra layers just making that surf sound deeper. Listening to this on vinyl (more on that in a sec), the combination of those three guitars in unison with a great natural reverb, and top-notch...Read more
The Deep are a trio from Germany that, despite the simplistic surf-ish cover, have a lot of big ideas. This is not your 60's surf by a longshot, taking more cues from moodier groups like Bambi Molesters or maybe the Mermen and focusing a bit more on sound than an infectious beat. The result is cinematic, somewhat psychedelic, and a surf record that engages your frontal lobe a bit more than your lizard brain. If you're a fan of the Aussie band The Break then this might work well for you. "...Read more
Regretfully it wasn't until the end of the year that I actually sunk my teeth into The Isotopes' 2016 release Overstay Their Welcome. Looks like they're already back with a new one, and this time I'm paying attention.
The name of this record suggests a bit more of a trad surf bent than their style-hopping previous album, and that does seem to be happening by perhaps a smidge, but there's still a lot of very fresh non-60's ideas going on with different...Read more
Doyley and the Twanglords is an all-instro pursuit from Diablo Records owner Philip Doyle, who has played guitar for rockabilly and psychobilly bands like Guitar Slingers, Demented Are Go, and The Klingonz. Like many 'billy nuts out there, he's got a penchant for surf as well, and this is a compilation of his instrumental efforts over the last 20 years.
Thoughout these 20 tracks, that rockabilly beat and (predictably) twangin' guitar is probably the most consistenly...Read more
In 2016 as part of Record Store Day festivities at Third Man Records, Man or Astroman played a live set recording directly to acetate... which sounds pretty appropriate for both the band and the label. That performance is available on vinyl now--and from what I've heard it's vinyl only, no digital download.
You can grab it from...Read more
For a while WJLP's Petomaniac was one of the best free surf/instro albums you could find on bandcamp. They've since decided to get paid for it, though still pretty damn affordable (and very worth it) at €5. Though they've sprinkled instrumentals here and there since then, but they're back to a full instrumental record with a spacey sci-fi movie theme.
Their take on Sci-Fi generally means a lot of organ, healthy reverb, and a pretty casual tempo. If that sounds...Read more
After a series of great EPs, The Cavaleros have finally gone and put an album together. If you've been following them this far, nearly all of these will be familiar to you. Heck, half of them are covers, so that might still be the case if you've never heard them. Still, there's reason to be excited, because The Cavaleros are exciting! Their loud and raw sound is fast and punchy and just the right amount of lo-fi. It takes a special breed to do a Link Wray cover that doesn't just make you...Read more
Everything on bandcamp and social media about Spacecramp is meaningless nonesense, so I guess I kinda expected something more ridiculous in the music. But we've actually got a pretty straight-faced though fun instro record. There's not exactly all that much surftone; it's more reminiscent of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. It starts out with the fun and energetic "Whistle Monkey", but also swings into a spacey sound with the later half of "Whip-n-out Burger" and even gets kinda nice and...Read more
If your idea of Russian surf is steeped in B-movies and creepiness, Air Cats band are here to show you a brighter side with a more Shadowsy/Rautalanka guitar tone. Their songs are adventurous but cool, with a tendency to get bouncy rather than nasty ("Billy Bones Boogie") and mysterious rather than creepy ("Hours & Minutes"). It's a fun record to sit back and enjoy the ride, and your wallet can sit back too: free download.
Black Flamingos' name and album art suit them well: fun and exotic, but with a sketchy side. There is a beach party going on for sure, but somebody said they saw a shark.
First and foremost, this is a surf record. "Flamingo Twist" and "Cock Grease" are plain ol' fun party tracks with no hint of anything "wrong". But there's tinges of jazzy drumming, some darker, slower, more minor key guitar playing, some harpsichord, (!) some eerie whistling that adds a bit of a...Read more
Man, what is it about Finland? El Supernaut have released their 3rd LP and have more than earned some recognition in the instro scene. Gorilla Fighter is a bright, punchy record full of ideas. Their last LP Plays Half Dead was great, but it was literally half (excellent) Dead Kennedys covers. Playing mostly original material now, they sneak in hints of Booker T and the MGs on "Fool For Your Loving", a ska beat on "Die Mauer Brechen", a bit more of a straightforward 90's...Read more