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An Interview with Amphibian Man

Amphibian Man - Pyramids

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.

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The Me Gustas release Learning to Ride EP

The Me Gustas - Learning to Ride EP

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.

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Hypnotzar releases Cold Streams of Taiga EP

Hypnotzar - Cold Streams of Taiga EP

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.

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Los Coronados release Surfin' Taiwan

Los Coronados - Surfin' Taiwan

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.

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The High Breaks release Droppin' Off WIth...

Droppin' Off with The High Breaks

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 sorting hat telling Harry Potter "You would do well in horror surf".

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The Lucianos release Think Twice Before Cheating / Dark Angelo 7"

The Lucianos - Think Twice Before Cheating / Dark Angelo 7"

The Lucianos are comprised of members of big-time sychobilly bands Demented are Go and The Astro-Zombies (side note: the Astro-Zombies have a few instrumentals tucked away in their records that are pretty cool!). This is their first release and it's being put out by Killjoy Records as a vinyl 7" and cassette. They classify themselves as powersurf and indeed "Think Twice Before Cheating" is relentlessly fast and builds to a powerful crescendo.

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Jonny and the Shamen release Anthology of Espionage

Jonny and the Shamen - Anthology of Espionage

If you've never taken the time to look into the late 90's surf group Jonny and the Shamen, here's a great way to do it: everything they've ever recorded plus a few unreleased tracks shoved into one $10 bundle. Their music is hard-hitting surf with horror/space/spy themes not unlike early Man or Astro-Man? - close enough that Jonny joined them as Victor Vector. More recently, he was a part of the on the last year's EP.

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Christian Targa & Surf Aliens release Self-Titled EP

 Christian Targa & Surf Aliens - Self-Titled EP

Christian Targa plays for the punk band Blind Pigs who have been around since the 90s, and he certainly didn't leave his punk influence behind; my first thought on the opener "Abdução" was Dead Kennedys. Those first three tracks all have a great sense of panic and terror before cooling down a little bit into the more anthemic "Aos Amigos", which still retains a punk guitar tone while ditching the attitude. He doesn't really slow down entirely until "Nova Lua", a nice closing track.

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The Apaches release Musica Surfica Vol I & II

The Apaches - Musica Surfica Vol I & II

The Apaches hail from Arizona and a bit of open-air desert sound definitely creeps into this. Sure, it's definitely surf and not spaghetti western or anything, but it tends to deal in solitude more than it does in adrenaline. I believe all of these are original compositions and they have a good sense of when to play pretty ("Grim Fandango" is a good example) and when to punch ("Space Chase").

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