The first LP from Operation: Diamond Bikini follows the example laid forth by their first EP: generally fast and forceful surf with dash of quirky sense of humor thrown in. That humor usually takes the form of sound clips, which compliment the music well and don't go overboard. Guitar tone is generally pretty clear and staccato and have the...Read more
This is the second LP from Winnipeg's The Catamounts. Though there's plenty here for the guitar nuts among us, there's an equal helping of organ - not the fun, mod go-go kind, but more of a crazed, mysterious, atmospheric kind. So now it's sounding like a horror surf record, and yeah it could probably sit well on your halloween playlist, but they're more about intrigue and mystery - hence covers of The Sicilian Clan and You Only Live Twice. It's not too deep in the fog...Read more
The Insanitizers were nice enough to send me Guitar Fun well in advance of its release date and said something about having time to take it all in. They weren't kidding. There's 23 tracks here with musical styling spanning straight ahead surf, Joe Meekish instrumentals, rautalanka, a harpsichord tune (I realize it's probably not actually a harpsichord), and... man, I don't know what. True to their name, it does sometimes feel like you're going slightly insane. This is partly because of the...Read more
Team Void ain't as mean as they look. Sure, their guitars often have that deep horror tone to them, but packaged along with that Lucha mask is a set of vibrant mariachi horns. I mean, give the opener "I Am Six" a listen and all you'll hear is "Party!". It's got a lot going on, and kinda reminds me of Los Plantronics. Now don't get me wrong, there's plenty of horror surf stuff in here, like on the title track "Robot Killer", but I think secretly monsters like to have a good time same as...Read more
Not to be confused with the Beyonderers, these Houstonians play sax-heavy instros with a wacked-out exploratory attitude. The opening track "Woo-loo-loo" sets the example well, with some great twangy surf guitar at a medium tempo, that delves into a pretty unhinged sax solo. They're never all that heavy, but sway between dark and mysterious to fonky on "kyu-jyu-jyu" to plain ol' nutso on "Bananas con Platano". If you dug the latest release from Beninghove's Hangmen you're in...Read more
Even if most of their songs feature vocals, you can pretty reliably hear a reverbed out surf twang underneath the Dustaphonics. Well, they went ahead and made things easy for us instro nuts and slapped together a compilation of all their instro cuts. Though I'm not too well-versed in their discography, I don't believe any of these are new cuts. However, it's also a little deeper than their 3 LPs; the exotic and powerful "Twangy Batacuda" seems to come from their guitarist's...Read more
For nearly 20 years Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited have been putting out records that are rock solid and sound like nobody else. This is #7 and while this is no exception to that rule, it is slightly different. The space age sound is toned down a bit, and in its place I hear a bit more of an Italian soundtrack vibe and often a lot more electronic, often in...Read more
So as instro fans we're only really interested in the first 6 tracks of this by BEER, all of whose songs are dedicated to different beers. This belongs a bit in the avant-garde/jazz-surf category that's been slowly picking up steam lately, with plenty of saxophone and some dissonant tones amidst more freeform song structure than we get from most surf. It's pretty overtly rooted in surf though, even riffing on "Surf Rider" in their song "Bohemia". This style isn't for everybody, but I think...Read more
I normally have a rule for what I post on this site: over half of the album has to be instrumental. For Davie I'll bend it: 3 instrumentals, 4 vocal tracks. In an email, Davie said that last year's 50th Anniversary and King of the Fuzz Guitar were likely his last physical releases (I guess he's not counting...Read more
The Concussions hit an amazing middle ground between being absolutely crammed with hooks and being understated. What I find is that this combination makes for an absurd amount of repeat spins in the car, especially as background music. Now, I hate talking about instro as background music, but when everybody finds themselves whistling it when they get out, I think that's OK. The Concussions are able to grab that simpler form of riff-based song-writing that seems left in the 60s and they do it...Read more
The Supersonicos have a project going: every month they release two EPs full of covers of Uruguayan music until they get to 10 EPs.
Now right off the bat, I know nothing of the music of Uruguay, so all of these songs are fresh to me and essentially their own. But I think that would be the case even if I did know these songs. They've got a great sound on these that seamlessly wanders between surf, flamenco, spaghetti western, and something all of their own. And maybe some more...Read more
There's not a whole lot of surf happening on the Florida panhandle (musically or otherwise) but The Intoxicators are a fine representative. Easter Eggs on Halloween has plenty of variety, certainly not locked to a tempo or mood, but it never drags, always seems ready to go. And when it's going, they can really rip. This album is front-loaded with the heavy songs: "Frozen Cossacks", "Sake Shaker" and "Easter Eggs on Halloween" are as savage as The Intoxicators have ever been, and the...Read more
Here's a fun project. This is a split LP between Surfer Joe and the Kilaueas, each taking a side on the vinyl version. Most of the tracks on here are covers of The Astronauts, and in a pretty faithful manner (no psychedelic Baja). The few originals are in the style of the Astronauts. For Surfer Joe, that means some deep-ass reverb -- that's the stuff! For the Kilaueas they added another guitarist to mimic the Astronauts' 3-guitar setup.
Tikiyaki 5-0 are a smaller, more portable and guitar-focused version of The Tikiyaki Orchestra. While Tikiyaki Orchestra had no problem finding fans in the surf crowd, this is more surf than exotica, even when they're covering Arthur Lyman's "Taboo", which manages to finish with a rousing crescendo -- definitely a favorite on this EP. That said, "Song of Delilah" and Les Baxter's "Enchanted Sea" keep a bit more of an exotica mood. For the surf nuts, there's a cover of Zorba and the Greeks' "...Read more
Crazy Aces have made a name in the surf world, but I think of them as more of a Ventures-styled band -- more twangy than drippy and focused primarily on melody. If you've enjoyed their previous records, I think you'll be all over "Scorpions", "Rudy's Revenge" and "Chop and Channel". It's hard to pick a favorite among them. Then they try their hand at spaghetti western with "Trail of the Mystery Men" which is much more cinematic sounding than I expect from them. They trade off a steady drum...Read more
This is the first LP from Tidal Baby (formerly known as Grimm Futures) seemingly out of Canada? Their label is, and I swear I hear a bit of a Huevos Rancheros twang to them, so that's my guess. 7 instrumentals and one vocal track with a great loud-as-hell guitar sound complimented well by the bass. They crank out a lot of noise for a 3-piece. This is recorded live and I do think that holds them back a bit, but the songs and the sound are solid and it's definitely worth the free download from...Read more
The latest from Australia's surf guitar maestro. You've got 5 tracks on this one, four originals and of course the cover of the classic Sleepwalk. As can be expected from Cilia, production is slick as all get-out with reverbed electric guitar floating on for miles on Sleepwalk. I've only heard the snippets below of the originals, but it looks like they've got a solid breadth and some fresh ideas.
At the moment it's...Read more
Though I really do try to stay on top of all major surf releases as they come out, there are plenty that slip by my notice and some I plum forget to talk about. So I'll do them all at once because that's somehow less daunting to me than doing them individually. If I'm missing anything let me know, I'm definitely going to reference this when I build my list of surf releases from 2016.
Said the Ripper - The Hanging at Barbed Wire (Released in...Read more
Robotron is a project by Bjørn Hovland featuring 7 tracks of monstrous fuzzed out tough surf. While a lot of these projects where one member writes and plays many parts tend to sound stripped down, this gives no indication based on the music itself. Partially because this was hardly a bedroom recording: Bjorn hails from Norway, the album was mixed in Brazil and mastered in Seattle!
The kaiju-style imagery of the album comes through in the music: its aggression oscillates between...Read more