Another day when bandcamp gives up their cut of profits from sales and gives them directly to bands. Paypal ain't givin' up their cut, so according to bandcamp on average bands get 93% of what you pay today vs 82% on a normal day. Of course, it's getting to the point where there's another way to support bands: MAYBE you're able to go see them live! Say hi to a musician, buy their records from a dimly lit table the old fashioned way.
This month was a BIG ONE for new releases. Believe it or not, I had to be pretty picky here and I had to upgrade from records I liked to records I loved. You've got your listening cut out for you!
The Routes - Instrumentals II LP
The Routes are a Japanese garage outfit that occasionally dabble in the instrumentals, usually in the form of a whole album. They're great. Their garage leanings help bring a volume and energy to this record, but they also absolutely know how to get a good surf-worthy tone. The album art is a tribute to Takeshi Terauchi, and they say that he was a particular inspiration to this album, but I wouldn't say that you should go into this expecting eleki. I loved their first instrumental LP, was extremely excited to see another, and I was not disappointed.
The Tremolo Beer Gut - You Can't Handle The..
I've posted a review here, but to keep it quick and simple, TBG have such a uniquely nasty sound and leverage it very well on this record. I've been waiting for this for years, and it delivers.
US version through MuSick is delayed until June 18th, but since it's out in Europe I'm calling it released.
The Wangs - Halloween Party
The Wangs were a great, loud and raucous surf band in the 90's and early 2000's. Still using past tense here because they have not reformed, but they do have a new live album recorded in 2000. If you're already a fan there's not much new here, but it captures the energy well. If you're not a fan, their discography is on bandcamp too. This is on vinyl too!
Surf Quebecois: Les Talismans / Les Jaguars
I don't normally highlight reissues but I loooooove this one. Two great Canadian surf tracks on one 7". Les Talismans' "L'Interplanitaire" is one of my absolute favorite 45s that I own, and you'd be lucky to find an original copy for less than $100. Les Jaguars are more well-known, particularly for their album cover featuring a model in leopard-print spandex. I love "Guitare Jet" but given that that LP was reissued last year by Return to Analog records and it worth it the whole way through, I'm much less excited about that side.
Alberta Beach - Alberta Beach
From the first two seconds it's clear that they've got a great vintage sound -- a similar howling echoey room to those early Dick Dale tracks. All four of these tracks are great traditional surf with a focus on guitar lines.
Middle Finger and his Fingertips - Fingerprints 1999
Arno de Cea and the Clockwork Wizards - Retrofuturisme Vol. 2
It doesn't get much bigger and apocalyptic than this group. Their last LP Retrofuturisme Vol. 1 was a high point, not necessarily cranking up the scale (how much more massive can you sound?) but brandishing it with a greater sense of might and heft, and sometimes even slowing down to let the melody breathe. I'm always happy to hear more, and this album picks up in more or less the same spot. Frenzied, terrifying instrumentals operating on a galactic level, though again some of the more subdued parts can really grab your attention as well.
US vinyl version is delayed until June 1st, but you can go ahead and order it.
Indy Tumbita & the Voodoo Bandits - Cocodrilia: Cumbia Surf a la Tumbita's Way
I'm going to be honest, I don't think I really gave Indy Tumbita's Surf LP Bay Vibrations a fair shake, and this as very obvious to me now that I'm listening to his cumbia project with Voodoo Bandits. I know there are a lot of surf fans that are also fans of cumbia -- my self included -- and this is one of the best cumbia records I've heard in a while. Only a couple are fully instrumental, but the vocals are only secondary to the music and there's plenty of guitar to take in.
Shoot the Pier - Chill
The word "Chill" in a surf context kinda triggers me. When you've sifted through enough bandcamp releases tagged as both "surf' and "chill" you'll realize that a lot of people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what surf music is. THANKFULLY, I know Shoot the Pier, and while I know that they're only loosely a surf group at this point, I know that they know what they're doing, at least at this point. I remember when this group first came out as an experimental project between Bill Sims and his daughter Ellie, a moody surf thing that I took to be a nice bonding experience between the two of them. That was 11 years ago, and their sound has grown into something much more loose, experimental, and atmospheric.
I'm just going to wrap this up quickly: all of you that are getting excited about Mermen releases should be paying attention to this group too.
K.V. Raucous & the Cave Dwellers - Beach Party at Drac's
KV Raucous is normally a one-man band doing the sorta trash blues-a-billy that one man bands frequently make. However, this is an album full of great, raw and wild instrumentals that despite still being one guy, don't sound much like a one-man-band at all. And the difference is that these were KV overdubbing each part rather than playing them simultaneously. Ignoring the circumstances, these have a great trashy sound that should appeal to the cult of Wray.
Vern Jules & the Aquanauts - The Spectre
This band kind of overwhelmed me towards the end of last year, releasing an EP, an LP, and two singles in the span of four months. and admittedly I didn't listen to that LP. After a whole four months, they're back with another 14 song LP (three of which are the aforementioned singles) there's no sign of the well running dry just yet. This is a progressive surf album, with plenty of different styles and effects, and generally each of those ideas play out pretty well. They've got a nice edge when they wanna play rough, but their slower, more atmospheric tracks are just as great. No more skipping records from these guys.
Los Blue Marinos - Big Mamma EP
Even though in 7 years these guys have only have 3 EPs amounting to an LP's worth of material, they're a group that has always stuck out to me. As much as I try, good surf is hard to describe, but you sure know it when you hear it. This has that modern traditional tone dialed in, with great energy, great guitar playing that you could mistake for more than a trio, and of course fantastic melodies. It's all there.
The Surfaders - Shaken and Disturbed
This dutch group's past two LPs have been full of daring instrumentals based on surf, but unafraid to leave it behind to exploit dramatic potential. Their debut leant in a noir direction, their sophomore a Western, and this one is giving them a little more room the breathe, just keeping a theme of cocktails. However, that's not to say that this is a laid-back exotica record or anything, and from the first few tracks you might check to make sure this isn't a spy record. It's not, it's a bit of an everything record, with tracks like "Stargazer" heading into space rock territory, for instance. This is a band where every song feels like they're eager to "say" something, and there's enough breadth here that it might take a while to truly hear all of what's being expressed.