After 6 years and only two tracks on a Green Cookie compilation to show for it, Greece's The Aqua Barons have released their first LP. Though drawing on trad sounds, there's some very distinct creativity in here that really stand out as their own: from the loosely floating lead guitar in "the Lonely Siren", to a killer mix of fuzz and surf guitar in "Harbour Love" and some unhinged wildness on "Abandon Ship". The closer "Last Sunset" is a fun track as well, starting as cooled-off drifter but...Read more
This is the debut release from the Wave Chargers, a fearsome foursome from France that play some pumpin' trad surf. For their first release they sound amazingly tight, with some killer interplay between the two very capable guitarists, rousing drumming, and stirring bass. They can really stir up some great energy and with memorable melodies as well. My favorites are a toss-up between "La Revanche du Kuromaku" and "Flip-Side", but they're all solid. Recording is a bit lo-fi, which I'm not...Read more
One of the first groups on Green Cookie's companion label Surf Cookie Records, we have Bamboogie Injections from Russia (formerly under a different name that they have effectively swept under the rug). It makes an impression quickly though, with some frighteningly fast picking on the first two modern surf tracks. Thankfully for arthritic concern, there's some speed variation on this, with "Dandelion Wine" especially making for an interesting mix of mid-tempo song-writing, swirling keyboards...Read more
Italy's Surfer Joe Festival is in 15 days, and to commemorate it Urban Surf Kings have put out their 14th release: the live set at the 2015 Surfer Joe Festival, named LIVORNO after the city it's held in. The recording is straight off the mixing board that went to North Sea Surf Radio and features songs spanning their entire double-decade career.Read more
When Ninchi Surf System say "Drysurf" I think they mean desert dry. This release is predominantly spaghetti-western toned, though not in a directly Morricone-imitating way. They have a modern surf tone that isn't too riff-heavy, almost jammy or progressive at times, but also with a lonely WIld West mood -- while still keeping an upbeat pace. It's much more refined than their previous demo recording and even redoes their song "Western Hole". Both recordings are up on bandcamp: Demo Drysurf is...Read more
This live set from SEAWHORES shows a pretty trashy-trad surf sound with a party-ready rock & roll edge. There's some cool saxamaphone in there in there too that gets buried in the lo-fi mix. There are, I think, eight originals on here and they're all well arranged and powerful. I'm a big believer that a lo-fi live recording will always trump a poorly done bedroom recording, but with a full range of well-developed songs like they have here, I wanna hear 'em with a studio treatment - so...Read more
The last Gasolines LP was in 2008, but they're still as genre-twisting as they were when they left off. Plenty of bands have had jungle-themed surf albums, but this one sticks to it closely, even if they do it in a broad and multi-faceted way. The title track is the pure Martin Denny sound the cover aludes to, but you'll also hear Peruvian chicha on "La Danza de los Mirlos" and "Catamarã", reggae on "Rockers Rock", and interesting latin/South American percussion throughout. It's this sort of...Read more
Odicolon presents an interesting question: why is horror surf so heavy? They do creepy with a light touch with an easy tempo, sparse chilled out guitar picking and oddball electronics. They bring a lot of interesting sounds and ideas to the table and just about all of them work really well. Fans of Messer Chups should certainly take notice, but I hope these guys find a following of their own.
All I've found on these guys is the bandcamp page (free download!), if you find CDs please...Read more
Moussaka is a surf group that covers modern Balkan 80's pop hits and features a member of Threesome. So a cover band in which I will likely never recognize the source songs. Despite their pop origins the songs end up pretty aggressive, though even still pretty unique experimenting with different time signatures etc. If you've kept up with Moussaka so far, this one isn't that much different, but that's perfectly fine. Free download,...Read more
A few weeks ago Amphibian Man released his 4th LP in the span of a year called "Pyramids". In 2016 he has released something nearly every month, and surprisingly they even seem to improve. During that span of time, he has gone from somebody that piqued my interest to "who the hell is this guy???". So I figured maybe I should just send him an email.Read more
It's real! Belgium's finest have released their first full-length in 12 years! And it's a self-titled too, which honestly makes me a little uneasy. I often feel like a self-titled is a statement of a new sound, new direction, and that would be very understandable after such a long absence. What form are they taking here?
Your fears are unfounded. This is Fifty Foot Combo with swirling organs, aggressive guitars, furious bongos, tribal rhythms, even a little theremin all present and...Read more
The Me Gustas have shrunk from 3 to 2 members between their last LP and this EP, but it doesn't show. They've doubled down on the spaghetti westerns, and that solitary feel fits a guitar-and-drums combo pretty well. Though short, it's got a fun spirit to it and 50% of your purchase of the EP goes to the organization Guitars Not Guns.Read more
The latest release from Cincinnati's AmpFibians is a big step forwards from their their previous album Surf Guitar Heard Round the World. Purely in terms of production it's much more, well, produced. It has that expansive effect-laden sound that brings out a Mermen vibe that I think was always trying to come out of this band. That especially comes out on the first track, but they have a bit more fun than the spacey Mermen typically do - getting pretty silly on "Wolf...Read more
The Volcanics aren't the most celebrated band on the Double Crown roster, but they're one of the most solid. While the mailman hasn't brought this one to my doorstep just yet, from Double Crown's descriptions this sounds like more of the same. More of the same means killer trad instrumentals that hit the sweet spot of testosterone and melodic sensibility sitting next to some great upbeat garage tracks. Not to mention I've always thought the production quality on their records hits just the...Read more
Hypnotzar's debut EP late last year was a welcome surprise and I'm glad we didn't have to wait long for more. Nearly all parts of this record were done by Lev Kuchinsky, but it hardly sounds like a bedroom project and each part is distinct and interesting. "Thermodynamist" has some great interplay between guitar parts and the desolate "Cold Streams of Taiga" has an awesome sense of dread to it. And then we get two really fun covers of songs by At The Gates and Electric Wizard. Ironically for...Read more
The well-loved but tough-to-find "Monster Surfing Time" by the Deadly Ones is finally seeing a vinyl rerelease courtesy of the Concord Records - from what I can tell its first since 1964 when Vee-Jay originally released it. A mint copy of this sells for around $200, with VG copies going for $50, so this should be much easier. This reissue will feature translucent slime green vinyl to add to the horror. Not much is known of the players on this one other than Joe South, but it's a must-play...Read more
The Razorblades have been a staple of Germany's instro scene for well over a decade now and I believe this is their fifth LP. Since I hadn't heard a full Razorblades record since Twang Machine in 2009, I was wondering whether they had changed things up a bit, especially since their video for this album featured a pretty significant amount of vocals.
For such a populous part of the world, it's REALLY hard to find a Chinese surf band (I'm counting Taiwan). Los Coronados are particularly interesting though, perhaps more than meets the eye. These guys claim that they are actually Los Coronados Jr., the grandsons of the original Tawianese surf band Los Coronados back in 1965. This is supposedly the digitized reel-to-reels of their original 1965 recording.
I don't buy it.
It DOES sound very traditional: very simple surf setup,...Read more
Vermont isn't a place that I think of as a surf hotspot. Maybe that's why The High Breaks play the brand of no-frills trad surf that they do: because somebody has to. 10 tracks of surf originals with a strong, bold guitar sound and some great melodies. While most of the record is bright, sunny stuff, I was actually surprised how well they pulled off their few moments of creepiness on "Ankle Breaker" and "Voodoo Wave". I'm glad they went with the sound that they did, but I'm thinking of the...Read more