Blackball Bandits release The Lost Mission

Blackball Bandits - The Lost Mission

It’s been great watching Blackball Bandits find their way from a couple of bandcamp so-called-demos to a proud members of the Double Crown roster (and featured on the soundtrack to a ). They’ve done a great job of retrofitting retro surf feel and attitude to more modern surf song structures.


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.


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.


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.


The Kaygles release Sunstroke EP

The Kaygles - Sunstroke EP

Here's one I almost passed by completely. Between the - I'm sorry but - terrible album art and the genitalia joke in the band name, I figured this would be some awful snotty garage-style surf rock a la Wavves. I took the risk though, and was immediately bowled over by some top-notch honkin' sax over a surf beat. This the good stuff: well produced trad surf with memorable melodies, nice big guitar sound backed up by some smartly accenting bass and keys. The first two tracks definitely outperform the second half, but it's all good. Mark 'em down in your book, or whatever.


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.


The Volcanics release Stompin' Garage

The Volcanics - Stompin' Garage

The Volcanics aren't the most celebrated band on the Double Crown roster, but they're one of the most solid. While the mailman hasn't brought this one to my doorstep just yet, from Double Crown's descriptions this sounds like more of the same. More of the same means killer trad instrumentals that hit the sweet spot of testosterone and melodic sensibility sitting next to some great upbeat garage tracks. Not to mention I've always thought the production quality on their records hits just the right crispness and tone to get that great energy of the 60's classics.


Shark in the Water release Every Week is Shark Week

Shark in the Water - Every Week is Shark Week

Since my mind is on the Gremmy Awards lately, this is easily categorized into the category, with distorted metal guitar tone 100% of the time, growling basslines, and a generally mean temperment -- in a fun way of course. I think the best marriage of these surf and metal sounds come through in "Unagi Tsunami", which is possibly the silliest of the bunch which chants of "Uga Chaka" underneath the scuzz. 



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