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Air Cats Band releases Garagum

Air Cats Band - Garagum

If your idea of Russian surf is steeped in B-movies and creepiness, Air Cats band are here to show you a brighter side with a more Shadowsy/Rautalanka guitar tone. Their songs are adventurous but cool, with a tendency to get bouncy rather than nasty ("Billy Bones Boogie") and mysterious rather than creepy ("Hours & Minutes"). It's a fun record to sit back and enjoy the ride, and your wallet can sit back too: free download.

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Arno de Cea & the Clockwork Wizards release Flash Freezing the Sun

Arno de Cea & the Clockwork Wizards - Flash Freezing the Sun

With no releases from Arno de Cea in either the Clockwork Wizards or the Irradiates, 2016 felt kinda... safe (though did his best). He's back though, with another album of impossibly huge guitars and apocalyptic panic.

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El Supernaut releases Gorilla Fighter

El Supernaut - Gorilla Fighter

Man, what is it about Finland? El Supernaut have released their 3rd LP and have more than earned some recognition in the instro scene. Gorilla Fighter is a bright, punchy record full of ideas. Their last LP Plays Half Dead was great, but it was literally half (excellent) Dead Kennedys covers. Playing mostly original material now, they sneak in hints of Booker T and the MGs on "Fool For Your Loving", a ska beat on "Die Mauer Brechen", a bit more of a straightforward 90's punk sound on "We Go Moon", while still going big and mean on tracks like "Gorilla Fighter".

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The Chemist and the Avevities releases Sounds from Chemistry Town #4

The Chemist and the Avevities - Sounds from Chemistry Town #4

This is the 4th release from The Chemist and even if you missed everything up to this point, the label should give you a good idea of what you're getting: loud, fast, power surf. Not just a trashy take on the 60's sound but instrumentals with oomph and size, definitely of the Man or Astro-man family. "Farm Nightmare" and "Kallocaine" change things up with the drumming and "escape from cerclon" has some theremin freakout. If you're like me, you need to have a regular intake of this sort of stuff, and this certainly does the trick.

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Surf Out! release The Album

Surf Out! - The Album

At 19 songs and just short of an hour, there's a lot to digest here. Surf Out! is a duo with some help from friends playing garagey trad surf. At times that duo-ness sounds Flat Duo Jetsy, like on "Tango Whiskey" but they'll also do these slower numbers like "Sunsets and Surfboards". I think "Mariposa" strikes a nice balance between moments of elegance and a damn-it-all grab to make some noise. "Don't Freak Out" almost has a Dinosaur Jr grungey sound to it, and "Big Surf in Winnetka" takes some surprisingly odd turns towards the end.

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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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