After last month's relative dearth of new surf releases, sure enough October picked up the pace, accelerating towards Halloween day. And sure enough there were a ton of releases on that day. Stop doing that. Anyway, shall we unwrap some leftover Halloween candy?
These are in no particular order. There were some great singles as well from the likes of Surf Hermits, Atomic Drag, Surfrajettes and others, but in the interest of time I gotta leave them off and focus on EPs and LPs.
A quick heads-up too: I probably won't be doing this next month. If I keep my eye on the ball, I'll be knee-deep in Gremmy land, not to mention a whole lot of other life stuff.
Blue Spectre - Silverscreen
Another group that I only really noticed thanks to a compilation, this time the Surf Britannia series. While this group has releases dating back to 2014, this is their first LP and it feels like a big effort, assimilating a wide array of influences and sounds such as afrobeat and noise rock. While they can certainly wow you with the unheard, they can also throw down with some real might when they want to. I admit that I'm a sucker for the more psychedelic takes on surf, and sometimes I found myself checking in and asking "just how surf is this?", but I also think this is the stuff that sets the current era apart and keeps it out of terminal hawaiian-shirt dad-rock doldrums. Highly recommended!
The Mermers - AAHHHH!! IT'S THE MERMERS!
I'm happy to see that this Florida-based group is still at it. Their 8-song debut EP was good, but they had a 2017 EP that seems to no longer be on bandcamp that hit a bit harder. All three originals from that EP are on this record, and the rest of the tracks fall more in line with that great EP than their debut. A lot of punk energy to this, but also a heavy spooky sound (a lot of that coming from the keyboards), not to mention some high-energy drumming. I recommend "Triskaidekaphobia" for a good track that puts it all on display. I appreciate that one of my favorite titles made its way from the EP in the track "RSROB" which stands for "Rick Scott Ruined Our Beach".
Eye Five - Boogie Bones EP
This group released a great EP of aggressive surf earlier this year and this is similarly quality aggressive surf, though definitely a little more on the spooky side here. I actually just dug up the guitarist's former band Gnarsh Mellow recently as well, equally worth a listen.
The Tiki Creeps - Lava Rockin' Psycho-Rama
This group rarely disappoints. I'd say this leans a little more in the "Creep" direction, but it's solid surf the whole way through.
Los Atarrayas - Killed By Surf
On their second LP this band retooled their sound a bit and I think it paid off. While their tone is pretty surf, they feel pretty punk in terms of speed and how they embrace chaotic playing. I can imagine some people hating it, but it works for me.
The Tulsa Doom - War Chief
Really excited to see an LP from this group after hearing a track of theirs stand out on one of Otitis Media's Surf You Next Tuesday compilations. I do struggle to call them a surf band. There's a lot of distortion here, and they're more about heft and power than speed and agility, to the extent that I think if I saw them live they would hit in a similar way to a metal group. Guitar tone probably closer to 90's Dick Dale than 60's, though not that close to either. But I also think their energy doesn't really mesh with metal or doom either, so I ask the surf community, can we keep this wayward puppy? I promise it's a good one!
Bloodshot Bill - Songs From the Sludge
Bloodshot Bill's brand of rockabilly is Stardust-Cowboy-level bonkers, but what blows me away is how you can (almost entirely) remove his signature vocals and it's still unmistakably him. This isn't his first instrumental outing, but it is his first surf LP, and I would call it traditional surf despite his heavy fingerprint. It's all pretty damn good and rarely sounds cookie-cutter. I gotta wonder at what point you have to peel away the nutjob label and replace it with genius. I guess you can at least start with having both. Big recommend.
Monster Wave - Beyond the Reef EP
The first track is a terrifying ripper about as fearsome as they get, but the rest is some pretty great gloomin' horror surf with some big loomin' bass. "Wolfman Stomp" is surprisingly danceable too.
The Dreadtones - The Dreadtones
The things that make scary movies scary aren't the times when you're directly facing evil, but when it looms and threatens. This is horror surf that doesn't really scream at you, and at first I wrote it off, but upon revisiting it I realized that this is a more patient group with a knack for mood. Turn the lights down, let it play through, they're doing a lot here.
The Jagaloons - Walk, Don't Run, For the Border
I'm not gonna do better than their own description, so let's just post that.
When they said an all instrumental tribute to Taco Bell was impossible, The Jagaloons set out to prove them wrong. Their answer is four new original tracks, proving that terrible food can inspire excellent music.
I do want to add that I think this is some of the best that they've done.
Prime-L - Kill-a-Beast
The best thing about Halloween releases is you occasionally get some great ones out of nowhere. Some great weighty, chunky guitar on this with some really spooky soundtrackey keys. They really need to cool it with the intro clips -- one of them is two and a half mintues long! But once the music starts playing it's pretty excellent horror surf.
The Currie Brothers - No Go-Go The Bogeyman EP
Four great tracks here that just kinda hit all the marks for a some good horror surf. Buzzy, rattly guitar, evil keyboards, and a jumpy beat. It ain't reinventin' nuthin, just doin' it right.
Hawaiian Rollercoaster - s/t
Fast. Fun. Free.
Jay Poisön and the Bat People - Rise of the Bat People!
I have groaned several times about bands releasing Halloween albums on Halloween (I want to hear them ALL MONTH) but I appreciate that this band (of one) has released LPs on Halloween for the past three years and nothing else. Not to mention they actually released it on the 30th, but kept the release date on the 31st.
Anyway, while most of the horror surf albums on here have a creepier sound, the melodies and guitarsmanship here are solid. I also appreciate the What We Do in the Shadows reference.
Also go buy you a Satan's Pilgrims. I already done wrote the review.