release

Jason Janik - Summer Begins

Jason Janik - Summer Begins

Summer Begins is a tight package of 9 lighthearted trad surf originals with a sunny beach attitude. From as best I can tell this is his first surf record, but that's not evident from a listen as he switches deftly from guitar tone change to the next, always sounding good. All of these are fun and center around strong, memorable riffs.

While beach party stompers like "Summer Begins" and "Nonstop" are the meat of the album, there's a great venturing into exotica on "Bewitched", and it wraps up with a nice Sleepwalkin' closer, plainly named "Surf Ballad".

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The Space Agency - The Celestial Sounds of The Space Agency

The Space Agency - The Celestial Sounds of The Space Agency

Though they've been dropping a few nice singles here and there, it's been 15 years since we've had an LP from the Space Agency, and they remain as special as ever. Somewhere underneath layers of fuzz and pedals is a pretty trad surf group with great dead-simple melodies that honestly could sound more 1962 than many groups if they felt like it. Give a listen to the least dressed song on this record "Alpaca Boogie" to catch a glimpse.

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The Bluebottles - Poolside with...

The Bluebottles - Poolside with...

The title "Poolside with" may seem somewhat generic, but it's actually a bit of a clue. The Bluebottles aren't out to capture the adrenaline rush of a monster wave, it's a lighthearted album full of party music. Even though opening track, though lively, features an acoustic guitar lead, aiming to greet with an active dance floor rather than an overwhelming salvo.

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Genki Genki Panic - Kahuna Mutato

Genki Genki Panic - Kahuna Mutato

Genki Genki Panic stands at an unlikely intersection between Mike Patton, Cave In, John Carpenter, Danny Elfman, surf music, and nerddom. Their own description of this album is that it was supposed to be an epic noise/surf concept album, and it seems it languished and they were like "eh, it's the apocalpyse right now, let's just push it out." Oddly enough, I think it settles into something that feels just about right for this band.

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The Coffin Daggers - Eleki Album

The Coffin Daggers - Eleki Album

The fourth LP from Coffin Daggers is perhaps a bigger turn than having a google-eyed bongo-playing demon on the cover: it's a cover record! Of eleki tunes! For those unacquainted, Eleki is a Japanese instrumental rock & roll music, highly Ventures influenced, typically with very sharp, staccato guitar tones. Admittedly, Eleki is a bit of a weak point in my instro knowledge -- I always kind of hoped I'd go to Japan and blindly buy anything that vaguely fit the bill and learn from there -- but generally good starting points are Takeshi Terauchi and Yuzo Kayama.

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Review: The Ventures: Stars on Guitars Documentary

The Ventures: Stars on Guitars

Last year there was an unfortunate collision of interests for instrumental music fans: two documentaries on The Ventures, each seeking crowdfunding at the same time. Stars on Guitars appeared to have suffered more from that conflict, raising considerably less than Walk Don't Run with roughly a third as many donors. However, this clearly didn't shake the team for Stars on Guitars, as their film readies for release while appears to be looking at 2021 at the earliest. I certainly didn't expect to see this film so soon, but the result feels quite full, fun, and perhaps more exciting for surf music fans than they might expect!

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Surf-a-Tomica - Auténtico del Líbano

Surf-a-Tomica -  Auténtico del Líbano

Surf-a-Tomica made their debut earlier this year with a full of great guitar lines and a great, punchy beat. Did they know they were going to release another 7 songs within the same year? While a full album would have suited them well, they took a good formula and made it great here.

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