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Via Combusta - s/t 7"

Via Combusta - Via Combusta

Recently the surf radio show Heads Up! with Carmen Ghia put on a monster 11-band showcase of Seattle's surf/instro groups. On that roster was a band called Via Combusta, who have been playing Seattle surf shows for a while but seem largely unknown outside their home turf (and was certainly unknown to me). This 7" was slated for a release this fall, but waddaya know, they were ready to go earlier than expected, which is seemingly never the case these days. I think they deserve a little attention.

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Los Frenéticos - Teletransportación

Los Frenéticos - Teletransportación

In 2015 Los Freneticos’ album El Sonido Que Perdura was anointed with my record of the year (man, I was playing fast and loose with the word "trad" then...). It’s a record that bursts with energy, exuberance and playfulness. Teletransportacion is the follow-up to that record, and though it keeps much of the same sound, it chooses a different style. If El Sonido Que Perdura is an action-packed Saturday afternoon in the sun, Teletransportacion is Sunday at the same spot, cold drink in hand.

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Moms I'd Like to Surf - Beach Control to Major Knob

Moms I'd Like to Surf - Beach Control to Major Knob

The surf band with perhaps the most uncomfortable name since Bambi Molesters have finally released their first full-length, and that mindset of pushing out of the comfort zone is all over this thing. However, this isn’t achieved by merely adding a theremin or doing a spaghetti western song; it’s with unexpected syncopation, different guitar tones, subtle effects and instrumentation. Not only is the band trying new things, but the listener is challenged as well. And most importantly, it works.

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The Kilaueas - Touch My Alien

The Kilaueas - Touch My Alien

Sometimes I worry that I lean a little too hard into the sound production quality of an album vs songwriting, but for a band with such apparent surf fanaticism as The Kilaueas it really does feel like it’s the missing piece. The guitar sounds so much bigger and deeper than their previous LP Waki Waki Woo, the reverb so wet and loud enough to fit their stage act.

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X-Ray Vision - Panique Au Biblos

X-Ray Vision - Panique Au Biblos

X-Ray Vision as a technology is frequently thought of as gadgetry for means of espionage, and going by that definition it’s a surprisingly good fit for this band, blending spy tones with Astro-Man zip-zoop.

Central to this is the keyboards, swapping duty between swirling hammond-esque sounds and more futuristic electronic sounds and a few in-between. Sometimes in a fittingly spy manner, sometimes reminding me of their fellow frenchmen Les Tigres du Futur with a spastic approach.

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The Woodchucks (Lee Hazelwood) - Cruising for Surf Bunnies

The Woodchucks (Lee Hazelwood) - Cruising for Surf Bunnies

Lee Hazelwood is behind some iconic surf/instro records from the likes of The Astronauts, Al Casey and Duane Eddy. He wrote “Baja”. But to the rest of the world that’s a footnote in his career after things took off with Nancy Sinatra’s “The boots are made for walking”. Light in the Attic has been rooting through the Lee Hazelwood archives, re-releasing out-of-print material and releasing things that never saw the light of day.

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The Mystery Men? - Firewalkers

The Mystery Men? - Firewalkers

Firewalkers has had a long road. The original plan was to have it released at the 2017 SurfGuitar101, and The Mystery Men? even played the album in its entirety, essentially treating it as an album release. However, it missed that date and instead they released a preview EP called Embers with some choice cuts from the album. So naturally it felt like it was just around the corner. A year later, they released a revealing that they had been robbed and needed some help to see the light of day. And again, there were preview clips of this record, a few more crumbs.

That GoFundMe hasn’t been a roaring success (hint, hint) but Firewalkers is real. I have heard it. And it’s kind of wonderful that it will make its true debut, CD copies on-hand, at , essentially their own event on their home turf.<--break->

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The Bradipos IV release Lost Waves

The Bradipos IV = Lost Waves

In 2016 The Bradipos IV after 11 years The Bradipos IV released their comeback record The Partheno-Phonic Sounds Of… It was a great record, and gauging by the hype at Surfguitar 101, a lot of people agreed. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait very long for the next one.

While Partheno-phonic was comprised of traditional neapolitan songs, the new record is a bit more of a straightforward instro record, especially as they tend to be today. That means a few covers, some dipping into other sub-genres (particularly Western in this case) and a bunch of originals.

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