When I saw people talking about getting this album from The Southern Surf Stomp this past weekend, I was wondering how long it would be until I could get a copy. Not long it turns out!
Like their name itself, Los Seitans have a sound that's almost evil but ends up just having fun. They've got a trashy sound and a lot of horror themes, but keep finding their way back into something less dreary.
The opener is pretty classic surf with some theremin and conga touches. "Ghost Friendly" is the most energetic with a big stompin' sound to it and a big theremin buildup at the end before giving you their biggest creeper track "Laiseca Theme", whcih then drops...Read more
On their third release I think Los Ultraman finally found their groove. Their last two releases showed moments of interesting ideas that never quite found their way into something that worked for me. The opening track "Non DNA Man" immediately shows off where they've gone: a pastiche of familiar surf riffs with wild saxophone riffs slowly getting wilder and more effect-driven, eventually spiraling into some Sun Ra spaciness before kicking right back into gear.
It continues from there...Read more
I'm sure a lot of y'all have seen that viral video of a guy playing metal songs without distortion only to reveal surf songs underneath. I'm sure somebody thought what many have yelled "Play some Slayer". And here we are: Reign in Blood, done as a surf record, with a crudely drawn, crudely conceived band name "Surfyer". I love it.
This is way more enjoyable than...Read more
First off, it's a good band name. A pretty normal sounding surf band name until you say it aloud and realize the pun.
The Lei Men have a small handful of covers here, but manage to make each of them sound unique. While everybody else is trying to see who can shred Misirlou at warp speed, they prefer to just warp, even taking it slower and in a more psychedelic direction. Their cover of Travis Wammack's "Scratchy" has all sorts of new sounds going on, but like the original still sounds...Read more
Oh boy, this is a conundrum. Maybe you've heard of The Men in Gray Suits... but maybe you're thinking of Men in Grey Suits. Hashtag SurfRockProblems.
This one, which spell Gray with an Ay and use a "The", hail from Montreal (rather than Hawaii), and have given us 13 energetic surf tracks swimming in reverb. Whereas many simply drop the reverb in as tradition, TMIGS do...Read more
In a peculiar move, Las Olas double down on their bleak, dreary guitar work and add a helping of bongos. This LP, their second, expands their range of instruments and explores different rhythms, but the overall tone is a step towards horror surf -- maybe more Hitchcock than Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I found "Tormenta" and "El Fantasma" to be highlights, though "Plutons" wandering through Brazillian rhythms, jazzy moments and a touch of theremin make for an oddball number.
Free download...Read more
Insect Surfers have been around since 1979 and somehow still manage to sound progressive while true to their sound. Datura Moon has that signature out-in-the-open guitar sound and a tendency for what seems like a semi-straightforward surf riff to drift away into a psychedelic whirlwind.
"Liftoff" at first sounds like it's going to be an easy one, gliding around lightly, but before you know it you're in the midst of a maelstrom with some creative guitarwork that...Read more
If you're thinking "wasn't there a Los Javelin record on Green Cookie just last year" you're right, but also WAY wrong. "Surfabilly & Roll" was first released in 2005, then rereleased last year still sounding great. That makes this their first LP in 12 years! And it doesn't disappoint.
You see three people listed as the members of Los Javelin, but that doesn't explain the brass section, bongos, keyboards, extra guitars.... you get the point. This is a production,...Read more
The second release from Viernes de Hongos brings in 6 songs full of mood and mystery. Their 2014 release was a bit more menacing, with a lot more fuzz, but this one has a bit more variety. "Agente Naranja" and "Numeros Rojos" are the boldest, but don't sleep on the creepy "Beso del Payaso". They've also got a cool cover of Rocket Man in "Popurusso". It's rare that you'll catch me saying this, but the one vocal track "Hippie Marihuano" is fun too, with...Read more
The Weisstronauts are a long-running instro band that have been consistently cranking out well played weekend-ready jams. They have a bit of a kitchen sink sound, with capital S Surf never really taking a center stage appearance, and most songs sounding different from the one that preceeded it. But if you gotta, I hear some Shadowy Men, Chet Atkins and some direct Vic Flick. The most full-out rocker is the third track "Teenage Wedding" but this album really isn't to be taken as pump up music...Read more
When I played the song "Out of Surf" on the radio show, a caller excitedly told me it was a cover of Max Romeo's reggae classic "Chase the Devil". So now I'm suspicious that the other tracks on here are obscure covers that I haven't figured out yet.
Cover or not, they're all enjoyable, with a wild, lively energy. "Surf Virus" features a sax taking lead...Read more
Here's a short release from the Spanish modern surf foursome Surflamingo. Everything I try to write about this is avoiding what I really want to say: there's a surf cover of "Green Hill Zone" from Sonic the Hedgehog.
Their take on it is fun and matches their overall tone and playing style really well. They get creative with it too, with some nice buildups and even switching to a ska beat at one point.
Yes, there's also, a cover of the Game of Thrones theme. I've...Read more
Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets have been friendcrushin' for a while, with LSJ having joined Lowe as a backing band on a few occasions. That leads us to this album of instrumental Nick Lowe covers. Not too familiar with Nick Lowe? Me neither, but these translate very well and don't simply feel like guitars "singing" vocal parts. Los Straitjackets have long ago expanded their sound past the 60's surf vocabulary, so the latin percussion on "Checkout Time" (...Read more
Five Fingers with Parasol are a trad surf band with with an energy that matches their look. Entirely upbeat, and lighthearted enough to mix The Simpsons theme into their song "Piedra, Papel o Cangrejo". For a trio it sounds surprisingly full, though they are sometimes helped by a fourth guitarist. Sometimes it's hard to convey how good a plain ol' trad surf record can be, but Five Fingers here have done a great job of tapping into that simple essense of fun that real surf is all about. It...Read more
For whatever reason, I skipped over The Wave Chargers first EP, but now that they've struck again I'm paying attention. They play crashing, fast and loud trad surf with a lo-fi production. Definitely getting a little bit of an Apemen vibe from it and they namedrop Les Cavaliers and The Wangs, which I think are appropriate too. Though all tracks are great, the cover of Johnny and the Hurricanes' "Crossfire" really nailed it.
Digital download via bandcamp or 7" vinyl. Would love an LP...Read more
It's finally here: the comeback record after 8 years following their last comeback record Psychsploitation. They've refocused back on a trad surf sound with a simple, melodic riff-based focus. For a 3-guitar lineup, they keep it surprisingly organized and patient, with those extra layers just making that surf sound deeper. Listening to this on vinyl (more on that in a sec), the combination of those three guitars in unison with a great natural reverb, and top-notch...Read more
The Deep are a trio from Germany that, despite the simplistic surf-ish cover, have a lot of big ideas. This is not your 60's surf by a longshot, taking more cues from moodier groups like Bambi Molesters or maybe the Mermen and focusing a bit more on sound than an infectious beat. The result is cinematic, somewhat psychedelic, and a surf record that engages your frontal lobe a bit more than your lizard brain. If you're a fan of the Aussie band The Break then this might work well for you. "...Read more
Regretfully it wasn't until the end of the year that I actually sunk my teeth into The Isotopes' 2016 release Overstay Their Welcome. Looks like they're already back with a new one, and this time I'm paying attention.
The name of this record suggests a bit more of a trad surf bent than their style-hopping previous album, and that does seem to be happening by perhaps a smidge, but there's still a lot of very fresh non-60's ideas going on with different...Read more
Doyley and the Twanglords is an all-instro pursuit from Diablo Records owner Philip Doyle, who has played guitar for rockabilly and psychobilly bands like Guitar Slingers, Demented Are Go, and The Klingonz. Like many 'billy nuts out there, he's got a penchant for surf as well, and this is a compilation of his instrumental efforts over the last 20 years.
Thoughout these 20 tracks, that rockabilly beat and (predictably) twangin' guitar is probably the most consistenly...Read more