vinyl

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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Satan's Pilgrims release Siniestro

Satan's Pilgrims - Siniestro

It's finally here: the comeback record after 8 years following their last comeback record Psychsploitation. They've refocused back on a trad surf sound with a simple, melodic riff-based focus. For a 3-guitar lineup, they keep it surprisingly organized and patient, with those extra layers just making that surf sound deeper. Listening to this on vinyl (more on that in a sec), the combination of those three guitars in unison with a great natural reverb, and top-notch engineering is heavenly for a trad surf guitar nut. That's helped by a perfectly recorded bass compliment, and some explosive drums. It sounds like a faithful vintage surf record with all the fidelity those records rarely get.

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Man or Astroman release Live at Third Man Records

Man or Astroman - Live at Third Man Records

In 2016 as part of Record Store Day festivities at Third Man Records, Man or Astroman played a live set recording directly to acetate... which sounds pretty appropriate for both the band and the label. That performance is available on vinyl now--and from what I've heard it's vinyl only, no digital 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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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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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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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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