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Operation: Diamond Bikini releases Chief, Game Over!

Operation: Diamond Bikini - Chief, Game Over!

The first LP from Operation: Diamond Bikini follows the example laid forth by their : generally fast and forceful surf with dash of quirky sense of humor thrown in. That humor usually takes the form of sound clips, which compliment the music well and don't go overboard. Guitar tone is generally pretty clear and staccato and have the same frantic stumbling feel as their countrymen The Messer Chups.

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The Catamounts release St Nuomatic

The Catamounts - St Nuomatic

This is the second LP from Winnipeg's The Catamounts. Though there's plenty here for the guitar nuts among us, there's an equal helping of organ - not the fun, mod go-go kind, but more of a crazed, mysterious, atmospheric kind. So now it's sounding like a horror surf record, and yeah it could probably sit well on your halloween playlist, but they're more about intrigue and mystery - hence covers of The Sicilian Clan and You Only Live Twice. It's not too deep in the fog -- there's a cover of The Wedge that isn't too far off the map.

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The Insanitizers release Guitar Fun

The Insanitizers - Guitar Fun

The Insanitizers were nice enough to send me Guitar Fun well in advance of its release date and said something about having time to take it all in. They weren't kidding. There's 23 tracks here with musical styling spanning straight ahead surf, Joe Meekish instrumentals, rautalanka, a harpsichord tune (I realize it's probably not actually a harpsichord), and... man, I don't know what. True to their name, it does sometimes feel like you're going slightly insane.

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Team Void release Robot Killer

Team Void - Robot Killer

Team Void ain't as mean as they look. Sure, their guitars often have that deep horror tone to them, but packaged along with that Lucha mask is a set of vibrant mariachi horns. I mean, give the opener "I Am Six" a listen and all you'll hear is "Party!". It's got a lot going on, and kinda reminds me of Los Plantronics. Now don't get me wrong, there's plenty of horror surf stuff in here, like on the title track "Robot Killer", but I think secretly monsters like to have a good time same as everybody else.

As far as I can tell, this is a digital-only one. Give it a listen!

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The Beyonders release The Beyonders

The Beyonders - The Beyonders

Not to be confused with the Beyonderers, these Houstonians play sax-heavy instros with a wacked-out exploratory attitude. The opening track "Woo-loo-loo" sets the example well, with some great twangy surf guitar at a medium tempo, that delves into a pretty unhinged sax solo. They're never all that heavy, but sway between dark and mysterious to fonky on "kyu-jyu-jyu" to plain ol' nutso on "Bananas con Platano". If you dug the latest release from Beninghove's Hangmen you're in the right neighborhood.

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Blackball Bandits release Confrontations on the Extraterrestrial Highway

Blackball Bandits - Confrontations on the Extraterrestrial Highway

Blackball Bandits have previously released two demos that I had were . They had a decent reason though: they were incomplete, with parts overdubbed or drum machines used. Well now they're a full band and have rerecorded their songs onto this EP.

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The Dustaphonics release 100% InstrUmental Compilation

The Dustaphonics - 100% InstrUmental Compilation

Even if most of their songs feature vocals, you can pretty reliably hear a reverbed out surf twang underneath the Dustaphonics. Well, they went ahead and made things easy for us instro nuts and slapped together a compilation of all their instro cuts. Though I'm not too well-versed in their discography, I don't believe any of these are new cuts.

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BEER/Tommy Valentine release BEER plus Tommy Valentine: 5 Love Songs

BEER/Tommy Valentine release BEER plus Tommy Valentine: 5 Love Songs

So as instro fans we're only really interested in the first 6 tracks of this by BEER, all of whose songs are dedicated to different beers. This belongs a bit in the avant-garde/jazz-surf category that's been slowly picking up steam lately, with plenty of saxophone and some dissonant tones amidst more freeform song structure than we get from most surf. It's pretty overtly rooted in surf though, even riffing on "Surf Rider" in their song "Bohemia". This style isn't for everybody, but I think it's a pretty fun take.

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The Concussions release Newaygo Sound Machine

The Concussions - Newaygo Sound Machine

The Concussions hit an amazing middle ground between being absolutely crammed with hooks and being understated. What I find is that this combination makes for an absurd amount of repeat spins in the car, especially as background music. Now, I hate talking about instro as background music, but when everybody finds themselves whistling it when they get out, I think that's OK. The Concussions are able to grab that simpler form of riff-based song-writing that seems left in the 60s and they do it effortlessly.

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