release

Blackball Bandits release Confrontations on the Extraterrestrial Highway

Blackball Bandits - Confrontations on the Extraterrestrial Highway

Blackball Bandits have previously released two demos that I had were . They had a decent reason though: they were incomplete, with parts overdubbed or drum machines used. Well now they're a full band and have rerecorded their songs onto this EP.

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The Dustaphonics release 100% InstrUmental Compilation

The Dustaphonics - 100% InstrUmental Compilation

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.

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Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited releases Music from the 6th Floor

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited - Music from the 6th Floor

For nearly 20 years Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited have been putting out records that are rock solid and sound like nobody else. This is 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 a bedroomy nostalgic way.

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BEER/Tommy Valentine release BEER plus Tommy Valentine: 5 Love Songs

BEER/Tommy Valentine release BEER plus Tommy Valentine: 5 Love Songs

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 it's a pretty fun take.

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The Concussions release Newaygo Sound Machine

The Concussions - Newaygo Sound Machine

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 effortlessly.

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The Intoxicators release Easter Eggs on Halloween

The Intoxicators - Eeaster Eggs on Halloween

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 production quality is perfect-- the bass adding a bit more roar to the lead Wray-like guitar tone.

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The Kilaueas and Surfer Joe release Play the Astronauts and More

The Kilaueas and Surfer Joe -  Play the Astronauts and 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.

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Tikiyaki 5-0 release Introducing the Exotic Sounds of Tikiyaki 5-0 EP

Introducing the Exotic Sounds of Tikiyaki 5-0

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' "Shockwave" and a killer original "Supernova" that is 100% pedal-to-the-metal surf.

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