Las Vegas Grind is a compilation series put out by Crypt records featuring bawdy instrumentals that were more about honkin sax than reverbed guitar. That series helped identify a different style of rock & roll instrumental that might have otherwise been shrugged off we came to get a little more obsessed with genres and focus on this idea of "surf music". If you need a reference point, Tequila would fit nicely into Las Vegas Grind, though I'd suggest just grabbing those compilations, they...Read more
The Unnaturals have been showing New Orleanians what instrumental rock & roll is about since before I found my way to a local frequency, and we're lucky to have such a unique group stick around this long.
They're frequently lumped into surf, though I wouldn't go there and I don't think they have a particular attachment to that word either. They've found a three-piece setup that works really well for them with Jenn Attaway growling away on the bass and keeping things moving while...Read more
Mark Malibu and the Wasagas were a second wave surf group up in Toronto that have recently reformed. I won't pretend that I already knew that, but I believe this is their second LP and their first recordings since 1981!
Often a reunited surf group is not something to get your hopes up for, but with no frame of reference as to what their old recordings sounded like, this is a damn fine instro record. Their sound is modern trad -- not sounding terribly close to a 60's...Read more
Here's the latest from everybody's favorite Russian instro group. While their general sound isn't much different from their recent albums, it's not all draculas and coffins: you've got some pleasant steel guitar thrown into "Hula Drag-u-La", and you've even got a batman theme on "Chupacabra vs Batman". For whatever reason, we get another version of Popcorn with "Children of the Popcorn" (Zombie Shopping had "Popcorno"). I've listened to it a few times but all I really have to...Read more
This is the second longplayer from Tsunami Experiment and though it plays less long than their last one (8 tracks vs 15), I get a better sense of emotion here.
Tsunami Experiment descend from the Man or Astro-man side of the family but they've never quite hit the same defcon level as their ancestor and I sense that's fine with them. Man or Astro-man, wide-ranging as they were, didn't have any songs where the main riff was on piano, but Tsunami Experiment have done it on...Read more
Argentina's Megatronadores impressed me with their first EP Wedwedn. It had a great wide open and free-floating feeling to it while still keeping a significant heft and drive. I had a feeling that with their follow-up they would only expand and try new things, and sure enough the result is a expansive, extremely creative work that makes for a wonderous listen even if its tether to surf is pretty thin.
Wanglen is a full LP this time and feels like a...Read more
For 25 years Spain's Los Coronas have been pumping out first-rate surf records. It's been 4 years since their last LP Adios Sancho and Señales de Humo (Smoke Signals for us english speakers) builds on that sound, but even after one listen I think it exceeds their last effort.
Moreso than not, its a surf record, though with such prominent horns, it's tempting to try to think of this as a Spaghetti Western sorta record, and it does tend...Read more
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