Reviews

Post date: 07/11/2024 - 15:59
The Impressions - Lost Legends of Surf Guitar

Sundazed has really been leaning into surf recently, with last year's, , and...Read more

Post date: 06/28/2024 - 09:43
The Babalooneys - Late to the Party

For a band with a decidedly unserious name, The Babalooneys' craft is no joke. While there's been recent hype building up with two great Hi-Tide 7"s and a strong (I hear) Surfer Joe 2023 appearance, I had admittedly forgotten about an EP from them way back in 2012. That's a long time to wait before putting out an LP! Well, I'd say it was enough --  what we have on our hands is a true gem of the genre.

"Sittin' on the Line" is a great choice for a first...Read more

Post date: 06/11/2024 - 14:52
Pointbreak - Ming Dynamite

Pointbreak didn't come out of nowhere, though I have to admit that I'm scratching my head trying to think of other Irish surf groups. But what I mean is they've had about 13 songs spread between 3 EPs since 2017 (with impeccable graphic design I might add!), before dropping this 11-song LP on us. Ming Dynamite is a record that feels like the band has taken their time to find their sound, and they're ready to present it, even if they're not sure you're ready.

...Read more

Post date: 05/31/2024 - 14:46
Messer Chups - Dark Side of Paradise

Not to be a brat, but when I got an email about another Messer Chups record, my reaction was "oh ok, sure"

There's just a lot of Messer Chups. I think my digital collection spans 17 releases. And I can't really blame them, I once watched a guy walk up to their merch table and buy one of each album, which is when I realized that having a big back catalog helps you make more money! But aside from one record with...Read more

Post date: 05/29/2024 - 15:30
Langhorns - Showstopper

While the recent Nebulas LP was close, I think the most anticipated surf comeback LP of 2024 is from Swedish trio Langhorns, who released a trilogy of LPs between 1998 and 2002. It's hard to choose a winner among these three LPs, with an impeccable sound, a mastery of mood and toughness, and versatility. Mission Exotica in particular showed a wide range of instrumentation, and some of the genre-pushing sensibilities shared by groups such as Phantom Four.

And then...Read more

Post date: 05/03/2024 - 07:39
The Nebulas - Euphorion

It's May and not only have I not finished the Gremmy awards, but I've barely written anything about the slew of remarkable surf releases. So since it's Bandcamp Friday, which is when Bandcamp doesn't take a cut of sales, let me tear through them and give each of these fewer words than they deserve.

Apparently there won't be another Bandcamp Friday until September! So I guess I better get back to just reviewing stuff normally. I've wanted to do that anyway.

...Read more

Post date: 04/20/2024 - 11:06
Sheverb - She Rides Again

Sheverb noticeably have one of the surf community's favorite words portmanteau'd into their name, they've played surf shows like Austin's Surf By Surf East, and surf fans love 'em -- at a previous SG101 convention I remember hearing several people rave about catching them a few days before. But they've always been more of a spaghetti western band, which again has never stopped twang-loving surf fans, but I think it's best to set expectations: there's not much surf here. On She Rides...Read more

Post date: 12/16/2023 - 15:03
The Frigidaires - Play it Cool

It's December, I'm very busy working on the Gremmy Awards, but I have to squeeze in a review because this was sent to me months ago before the aire was frigid. And I would guess that Chad and Cherry won't be reviewing it, so somebody has to!

Chad Shivers sent me this album, and he's the only name I know on it, but I want to be clear that most songs are written by "The Frigidaires", Chad is simply listed as "guitar, vocals", and that there's two other members sharing...Read more

Post date: 10/06/2023 - 07:38
WJLP - Cocktails for One

Bandcamp may have changed hands again recently, but it looks like they're still giving up their portion of sales on the first Friday of every month, so "all" of your money goes to the artists (so long as you count Paypal as an artist). And as semi-usual, I'll draw some focus to recent surf releases worth a look. October is always a big month for surf releases...Read more

Post date: 09/07/2023 - 14:51
Amphibian Man -Path

Back in 2016 Amphibian Man came out of nowhere with eight fantastic, high-energy releases in the span of about a year and a half. Things have changed a lot since then. The one-man project turned into a band, played shows, released a few more albums that were more of an instrumental skate/post/punk sound. And of course being from Ukraine there's there's the aspect of having your homeland invaded from Russia, a topic that I don't think I can begin to wrap my head around. Last year's LP was...Read more

Post date: 08/26/2023 - 06:54
The Ventures - New Space

Music reviews typically are here to answer one question: Is it any good? I operate by a "if you don't have anything nice to say..." rule so my answer is always either "yes" or I avoid answering. However, a new Ventures record is under heavier scrutiny, and will likely face nastier questions like, "Are these actually The Ventures?" and "Should I even care?" After all, this is their first LP in 24 years, and the lineup contains zero original members.

Vincent and Magdalena of Hi-Tide...Read more

Post date: 08/04/2023 - 06:33
The Strings Aflame, Totali Catastrofica

Oh no. It's another Bandcamp Friday and I still have so much stuff to write about Surfguitar101 Festival. But there have also been so many releases I want to talk about! So as usual, I'm going to challenge myself to be as brief as possible while still saying something substantive. Buy these records!

...Read more

Post date: 07/15/2023 - 22:23
Archipelago: The Best of the Madeira

The new surf label House of Tabu is releasing Archipelago: The Great Hits of the Madeira. Normally I wouldn't review a greatest hits album. There are certainly plenty of new releases that I'm not reviewing that are more worthy than talking about songs I already know. But I thought it would be a fun exercise to approach this differently: how about I make my own greatest hits and see how it matches up?

So here's how I approached this: I did a quick listen to The Madeira's...Read more

Post date: 06/19/2023 - 08:47

The next Bandcamp Friday is in August and I've come to rely on these to push myself to do quick reviews of recently released surf music. In the meantime,  by donating their share to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a worthy cause for trying to buy more music on that day.



...Read more

Post date: 06/07/2023 - 15:15
Thomas Lauderdale meets The Pilgrims

The Dream of the 90s is alive, sometimes even in Portland. And this being surf music, that 90's dream is of the 60's I guess. The Bomboras are back, Pollo Del Mar is back, Bradipos IV is possibly more active now than in the 90's, I'm getting ready to see The Volcanos at SG101, we've even been promised Langhorns. Satan's Pilgrims are perhaps the least surprising, leaving at least one album in each decade since and having been on a bit of a streak in the past five years. However, this ...Read more

Post date: 05/19/2023 - 07:43
The Desolate Coast - Without a Planet

The Desolate Coast entered the surf scene as a new project of Eric Cranfield of Seattle's , and that legacy echoed into the new band. Though Desolate Coast were certainly different, there were similarities in their guitar sound, their grasp of mood, and appreciation of misty pacific northwestern landscapes and grayscale-plus-pink displayed on album covers.

It's hard to say...Read more

Post date: 05/18/2023 - 15:27
The Obsidians - Notre Histoire

After feeding myself a pretty ample helping of Bomboras while writing , it was pretty nice to jump from such a high energy level to one that could compete! The Obsidians aren't exactly high profile: No label, simple album art, basic online presence, I believe they don't have members from previous surf bands, and I don't see them mentioned in...Read more

Post date: 05/13/2023 - 11:14
The Bomboras - SONGS FROM BEYOND!

The Bomboras were a standout group of the 90's surf revival, bolstered by a wild live show (not that I ever saw it) and a little extra visibility from one of their albums being released on Rob Zombie's label. Their sound was loud and savage, full of wild energy without adopting overt punk influence, sticking with fuzz over distortion and letting the organ do a lot of the talking. They called it quits in the year 2000.

These records were good, but I wouldn't say that any were can't-...Read more

Post date: 04/07/2023 - 08:11
Beach Moonsters - Walk Like a Moonster

Today is Bandcamp Friday which means Bandcamp doesn't take a cut (but Paypal still does) and more money goes to the bands. That makes it a nice time for me to pick out a handful of primo recent surf releases for your spending spree.

Normally these only cover the last month, but this is the first of these that I've done this year between Gremmy Awards, finger surgery, and as I'm writing this, Norovirus, so I'm going to stretch out a little further. The March output...Read more

Post date: 04/05/2023 - 15:39
Pollo Del Mar - Speed of Dark

The nice thing about being part of a small genre is that reunions are often as low-stakes as starting the band in the first place. It's not like they had to run the numbers to see if a big tour would be financially worth the effort. From I gather from the liner notes, they went on hiatus to devote more time to families and life stuff, played a few shows over the years on special occasions, and then started jamming during the pandemic and thought "this is nice". No big engineered comeback, it...Read more

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