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Culebra & Thee Evolution Surf School release Uncontrollable Waves 7"

Culebra & Thee Evolution Surf School - Uncontrollable Waves 7"

Some straight trad stuff from Culebra here with a focus on melody over racket. Though guitar is at the forefront, the little touches of sax and organ are a nice sub-surface flourish. Though adequate, I think the sound production here isn't doing these songs justice -- there are some nice, memorable tunes here but they don't present themselves well on first listen. My favorite is the opener "Tres Palmeras"

You can buy it on 7" vinyl or digital download from Bandcamp.

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The Terminators release We Are Ready For Anything For the Mafia's Queen EP

The Terminators - We Are Ready For Anything For the Mafia's Queen EP

The Terminators play fast, mean, and short surf instrumentals with what I assume is humorous Russian stage banter peppered throughout. It's extremely short, with each song coming in at less than 1 minute and 30 seconds when you skip the talking, but those instrumentals are worth it! They're well produced, well played, and full of energy.

I can't find much else on them, but I like what I've heard.

Apparently they've released more material this year so I'll embed all three. Each are pay-what-you-want.

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The Illuminators release Desert Rocks EP

The Illuminators - Desert Rocks EP

Despite consistently enticing album art, I am not well acquainted with The Illuminators' material. They play modern/progressive instrumentals with a bit of mood and punch to them. There's a desert/spaghetti western theme going on on this EP that probably comes out strongest in "Memento Amorella", which might also be the most melodically memorable moment of the EP. This isn't really a direct Ennio Morricone thing though -- I hear just as much of the Madeira in here as that, but not quite as restless. It's an enjoyable journey with a sound that you can really sink into.

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Los Tiki Phantoms release Aventuras En Celuloide

Los Tiki Phantoms - Aventuras En Celuloide

Los Tiki Phantoms are back with another album of lighthearted, carefree, pop-garage surf instrumentals. Though there are a few more effects, brass instruments, and spaghetti western sounds, it still has that bright and sunny Los Tiki Phantoms feel. They don't change the formula much, but I think of them as dependable rather than sounding stale.

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Zak and the Krakens release ...kraken' surf classics

So close to being able to say "Release the Kraken". Anyway, Z and the K's are a trad surf band out of Copenhagen playing 100% covers, including some from the 90's and onwards. I was surprised at how naturally they could fit songs by The Atlantics, The Ghastly Ones and Man or Astro-man right next to more standardized surf standards like Pipeline and Squad Car. Speaking of cohesiveness, the second half of the album was live but a nice enough recording that the talking before and after the track was the main giveaway.

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The Splashdowns release Rocket Tales

The Splashdowns - Rocket Tales

Splashdown is when a spacecraft hits the water upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere. When astronauts go from space to surf.  It's a great name for the splashdowns, who mix a semi-trad surf sound with a sense of cosmic wonder and adventure. Think  rather than Man... or Astro-man?, with a non-aggressive, thoughtful surf approach and not much reliance on out-there effects. There's a surprising amount of variety too.

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The Bahareebas release Tell Me a Story About

The Bahareebas - Tell Me a Story About

In their 4th LP, The Bahareebas have found a sweet spot that I expect should resonate with just about any modern-trad surf fan. Despite a pretty no-frills surf sound, The Bahareebas manage to play with a sense of purpose and emotion in every moment of the melody. It's bright and sunny and energetic, but also with a sense of danger -- while not being vicious. They take cues from many of trad surf's memorable leitmotifs without feeling like rip-offs, just channeling the spirit of the music.

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Genki Genki Panic release Litanies of Surf

Genki Genki Panic - Litanies of Surf

Genki Genki Panic is back after their transformative Spooky Fingers EP. While Spooky Fingers felt kind kind of like a soundtrack, Litanies of Surf is a rock record, dialing back the atmospherics, cranking up the volume and the speed, and keeping the anything-goes approach to their song-writing. Less spooky, but bigger and meaner. Less Danny Elfman, more Man...

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