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Las Olas release Psicodelia Neanderthal Vol. 1

Las Olas - Psicodelia Neanderthal Vol. 1

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 on bandcamp.

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Viernes de Hongos release The Return of the Champiñons

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".

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The Wiesstronauts release Flat Bottom Cold Greaser

The Wiesstronauts - Flat Bottom Cold Greaser

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 -- more like a barbecue.

Digital and CD release on bandcamp.

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Los Straitjackets release What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets

Los Straitjackets - What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Los Straitjackets

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" (for instance) gives you a song that doesn't sound like Nick Lowe or The Surfaris, and "I Read A Lot" takes major cues from exotica. It's a pretty subdued album, often moreso than the originals, but LSJ's musicianship should make this feel fresh no matter what angle you approach from.

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Five Fingers with Parasol release Si Yo Tuviere Una Longboard​.​.​. EP

Five Fingers with Parasol - Si Yo Tuviere Una Longboard​.​.​. EP

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 oughta put a smile on your face.

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The Wave Chargers release Strike Again! EP

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 from these guys.

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