release

The Ventures - New Space and The Ventures in general I guess

The Ventures - New Space

Music reviews typically are here to answer one question: Is it any good? I operate by a "if you don't have anything nice to say..." rule so my answer is always either "yes" or I avoid answering. However, a new Ventures record is under heavier scrutiny, and will likely face nastier questions like, "Are these actually The Ventures?" and "Should I even care?" After all, this is their first LP in 24 years, and the lineup contains zero original members.

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Bandcamp Friday Roundup: August 2023

The Strings Aflame, Totali Catastrofica

Oh no. It's another Bandcamp Friday and I still have so much stuff to write about Surfguitar101 Festival. But there have also been so many releases I want to talk about! So as usual, I'm going to challenge myself to be as brief as possible while still saying something substantive. Buy these records!

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My own Madeira favorites vs Archipelago

Archipelago: The Best of the Madeira

The new surf label House of Tabu is releasing Archipelago: The Great Hits of the Madeira. Normally I wouldn't review a greatest hits album. There are certainly plenty of new releases that I'm not reviewing that are more worthy than talking about songs I already know. But I thought it would be a fun exercise to approach this differently: how about I make my own greatest hits and see how it matches up?

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Bandcamp Juneteenth Roundup

The next Bandcamp Friday is in August and I've come to rely on these to push myself to do quick reviews of recently released surf music. In the meantime,  by donating their share to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a worthy cause for trying to buy more music on that day.

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Thomas Lauderdale meets The Pilgrims

Thomas Lauderdale meets The Pilgrims

The Dream of the 90s is alive, sometimes even in Portland. And this being surf music, that 90's dream is of the 60's I guess. The Bomboras are back, Pollo Del Mar is back, Bradipos IV is possibly more active now than in the 90's, I'm getting ready to see The Volcanos at SG101, we've even been promised Langhorns. Satan's Pilgrims are perhaps the least surprising, leaving at least one album in each decade since and having been on a bit of a streak in the past five years. However, this project was a dream of the 90's that has finally found light today.

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The Desolate Coast - Without a Planet

The Desolate Coast - Without a Planet

The Desolate Coast entered the surf scene as a new project of Eric Cranfield of Seattle's , and that legacy echoed into the new band. Though Desolate Coast were certainly different, there were similarities in their guitar sound, their grasp of mood, and appreciation of misty pacific northwestern landscapes and grayscale-plus-pink displayed on album covers.

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The Obsidians - Notre Histoire

The Obsidians - Notre Histoire

After feeding myself a pretty ample helping of Bomboras while writing , it was pretty nice to jump from such a high energy level to one that could compete! The Obsidians aren't exactly high profile: No label, simple album art, basic online presence, I believe they don't have members from previous surf bands, and I don't see them mentioned in many festival lineups.

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The Bomboras - SONGS FROM BEYOND!

The Bomboras - SONGS FROM BEYOND!

The Bomboras were a standout group of the 90's surf revival, bolstered by a wild live show (not that I ever saw it) and a little extra visibility from one of their albums being released on Rob Zombie's label. Their sound was loud and savage, full of wild energy without adopting overt punk influence, sticking with fuzz over distortion and letting the organ do a lot of the talking. They called it quits in the year 2000.

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Bandcamp Friday Roundup: April 2023

Beach Moonsters - Walk Like a Moonster

Today is Bandcamp Friday which means Bandcamp doesn't take a cut (but Paypal still does) and more money goes to the bands. That makes it a nice time for me to pick out a handful of primo recent surf releases for your spending spree.

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Pollo Del Mar - Speed of Dark

Pollo Del Mar - Speed of Dark

The nice thing about being part of a small genre is that reunions are often as low-stakes as starting the band in the first place. It's not like they had to run the numbers to see if a big tour would be financially worth the effort. From I gather from the liner notes, they went on hiatus to devote more time to families and life stuff, played a few shows over the years on special occasions, and then started jamming during the pandemic and thought "this is nice".

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