It's the first Friday of the month, which means if you have the bandcamp app you might be getting 24 hours of notifications. For the uninitiated, it means that bandcamp doesn't take a cut of albums sold today, so it's a nice day to support the artists. It's also my own self-reminder to scoop up some of the best surf releases in the past month.
Girl Over Planet - Intergalactic Cowboys & Solar Wind Surfers
Girl Over Planet released their debut EP on Altered State of Reverb about a year ago and was a flashy showing for the fledgling label. Welp, they've already moved on and signed to a major label, it's a tale as old as ti--- major label? In surf music? Well, it's a the Russian branch of Warner music, and to be honest I have no idea how impressive that actually is, but I will say that I can see why. This album has the irresistable combo of instantly accessible melodies, thick and colorful arrangements, and slick production quality. It's a relatively friendly record, ranging from relaxing to beach party tempo -- easy fun with a wide appeal.
Santa Anna Bay Coconuts - Harbor City Surfing
It's become clear to me that some recording engineers don't "get" surf. Whoever recorded this group really gets it, and this trad surf combo is a great band to demonstrate it. The guitar tone on here is the stuff. On "The Transporter" you hear licks that a seasoned surf fan should be familiar with, but there's a low-end heft to that sound that really reminds you why people play that way -- and of course that's backed up by a wall of sound from the rhythm guitar. Or maybe to put it simply, they can play Margaya and it actually holds a candle to the original. Musically, these guys are all surf; no trifling with Spaghetti Western or anything, and they wield their big sound imposingly. I've listened to this the whole way through several times in the two days it's been out. Go!
Zerox - March 2021 EP
With his janky collages and frenetic genre-mashing, I would kind of expect these songs to be more about experimentation than tunefulness, but either this comes way too easily or these are very thoughtfully crafted works. I'd check out "March of the Turtle God" which is a surprisingly upbeat tune decorated with xylophone and steel guitar slides next to noisy fuzz.
Gasolines x Colt Cobra Split
Here's a nice split LP from Reverb Brasil. Gasolines are a long-standing adventurous combo that operates with a wide set of influences -- sort of the Brazilian Phantom Four. In 7 tracks you get surf, chicha, psych and more -- plenty to keep your brain busy and your butt in gear. Colt Cobra have generally been a trash-punk/blues group, but on this album they're 100% instrumental and I gotta say, even as a fan of Gasolines, they might be the winner on this one. They're noisy, loud, scummy and dangerous and kind of remind me of Bande de Los Apaches.
The Hamiltones - Dracula Invitational 1791
When announcing this album on my show I mentioned that it was a soundtrack. Upon actually reading it the details, I think I missed the joke. Regardless, I enjoyed this band's lo-fi EPs, but this feels like a big step up. While it does have some cinematic flair, particularly from the keys and some violin in the opening track, it's absolutely a horror surf album more than it's an imaginary movie soundtrack. Compared to the sloppy bar surf-punk (I say that lovingly) in their previous albums, this feels very intentional creative. That said, there are a couple of interlude-y tracks that are more sketches of songs than they are a song. They don't detract from a great album.
Amphibian Man - Seven
This is pretty solidly un-surf by this point but given that their surf output has probably earned them some fans, I think it's worth mentioning this one. It's some sort of instrumental punk/psych/metal hybrid now and I think it's working.
The Bahareebas - Back to Details (and Forward to the Universe)
This semi-counts as a new release. Unreleased demo tracks from The Bahareebas before their first LP, dating back to 2003. Most tracks were rerecorded on their first album. It's very good. The Bahareebas are a very good band.
Kreeps - Long Gone Gulch (Original Score)
So this actually is a soundtrack to a pilot for a show on Cartoon Network. It's fantastic... but... the average track is about 35 seconds, often ending abruptly. I would kill to hear them fleshed out into real songs, but it currently feels like listening to the preview tracks to a really good record on Amazon. If you haven't heard other instrumentals from Kreeps, do it.