As global as the surf scene is today, I feel like we only get glimpses of what's happening in Japan. You hear about how tiny villages have "Ventures" bands, we know about eleki, Surf Coasters, and from what I hear it's a great place to tour playing surf music -- with all that in mind there must be more than the likes of The El Caminos, The Royal Fingers, Mach Kung Fu, 188.8.131.52's, Toni OK, Rat Holic, The Routes, Lulufin the Woohoo and Switch Trout. After all, those bands are all REALLY GOOD....Read more
I haven't done one of these in a while! It's another Bandcamp Friday, where Bandcamp skips its cut of sales and passes them to the artists. It's been a packed April, and full of lesser-known names to boot, so it's a good time for me to get back to sharing my finds. Here's some standout releases that I noticed, and I probably forgot some too. This is only April and early May releases, even though there was some great stuff in March too, and I they're super short since I wrote this whole thing...Read more
The Surfrajettes are the biggest ambassadors of surf music to emerge in a while, largely stemming from the viral success of their "Toxic" youtube video. I've caught them being played on my radio station by other DJs, several friends have sent me the aforementioned video, and my friends at a record store alerted me to this album being in stock when I walked in for Record Store Day without my asking. Of course in the internet age no attention is ever purely good attention, and surf...Read more
SSSU's unique blend of surf and lounge (for lack of better description) have been a beloved facet of the surf ecosystem for 25 years. However, though I think they never lost a step, their more recent efforts felt a little "library" (again, for lack of a better term). A little more genre-expansive, experimental, and a little less guitar. I always thought it was probably all they could do to keep from going stale, and they did it well.
To say that Flawless...Read more
Once again, today Bandcamp isn't taking a cut of purchases made on their website which makes today an excellent day to stock up on surf records. They got a little mysterious on us -- apparently June didn't have one and instead had a special Juneteenth event. I don't know if there was a July one, but in any case I have a lot to catch up on since the last one of these I did was May. That was so long ago we have a whole new coronavirus
Before I get started, there are...Read more
Just about everything I've written about this band has something talking about how I thought they were special when I first heard some demo EPs on bandcamp years ago. And I can't think of a better intro, so looks like I just did it again. But at this point I think I need to retire the narrative of ascending stars in the surf scene. Their first LP on Double Crown, The Lost Mission, was excellent and even found its way into the...Read more
I'm hard-pressed to think of a current surf band that's as straight-up delightful as Les Agamemnonz. Their image is outwardly ridiculous, robed in colored tunics and barefoot, coupled with some of the most inventive stage antics and a simply joyful attitude when playing.
To be a goofball is not necessarily to be an idiot. Balancing this out are their strikingly thoughtful recordings. Amateurs in particular feels equal parts big and small, ambitious but humble, and I think they're even...Read more
I've heard of surf bands springing from many genres. PLENTY of punk-influenced surf bands, some from a jazz background, but I think traditional New Orleans style jazz is a first. 80% of JJ and the Trash Dogs are also members of Tuba Skinny, one of the most well-loved groups from that scene.
However, this is not trad jazz surf. I don't know what that would sound like, but I'm open to it. Perhaps the way the two bands most inform each other is their attention to detail in replicating...Read more
It's kind of a given when doing a review that the band is, well, a band, and the album is an album. Truthfully I don't think I understand what Chung Kings are. Their facebook description is "Chung Kings is a moveable feast of like-minded musicians expressing its love for Lo-Fi Surf, Ethio-Jazz, Latin, Rhythm & Blues and Exotica." I'm not sure that really clarifies it much. They've described this album as a compilation, which explains the names of groups in parentheses.
Here's an...Read more
This one came out a few months ago and I would have missed it completely were it not from Ferenc's review in The Continental Magazine. If you have it, read that. This Finnish stuff always tends to sneak by!
Pekka Laine is no stranger to surf music, being a member of Sultans of Jungle and The Hypnomen. The Hypnomen's surf records are fantastic, but years ago they added vocals and went in a psych direction. When that sort of thing happens you can only just shrug and...Read more
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...Read more
I feel like I've mentioned in past Gremmys something along the lines of "There weren't a lot of big releases this year" which had me wondering "What is a big release?". I mean, this is surf music, even Los Straitjackets are far from a household name. But this does feel like a big release year, with big releases from Les Agamemmnonz, Pollo Del Mar, Arno de Cea & the Clockwork Wizards, Surfer Joe, and of course these guys. They've hardly been dormant, with two...Read more
Bandcamp Friday means Bandcamp doesn't take a cut of what they sell, so ALMOST all of your purchase will go to the band (almost because Paypal exists). Which is to say it's a great day to stock up on music. It's also become a time for me to go back and write something about some recent releases to help guide you.
The tough thing about making articles about what you should buy on Bandcamp Fridays is that things come out ON Bandcamp Friday. And it sucks waiting an entire month to highlight them, especially when these three are just as high profile as anything that was in yesterday's list. So here's a supplemental article.
It's another Bandcamp Friday which means 100% of your money goes to artists, none of it to poor ol' bandcamp, some of it to Paypal. This is probably going to be a shorter one because a) there were a lot of releases but a lot of them were Halloween singles, b) there weren't a whole of of LPs and c) I'm kind of behind on prepping for the finale of the top 100 surf records of the 2010s.
But anyway, here's some standouts
Another Bandcamp Friday where all of your money goes directly to the artists -- and I use it as a push to get me to write some stuff about new releases. This is by no means every release or even every good release, but they're the ones that stood out to me. Some oddballs in this group! Let's dig in
Another Bandcamp Friday where 100% of your purchase benefits the band. Admittedly this one snuck up on me, so forgive me if the reviews are a little hasty, but there's a good chunk of them! Here's some releases that I think warrant your attention. In no particular order.
Messer Chups - Lost Tracks
It's another Bandcamp Friday, which means bandcamp isn't taking a cut of sales on their platform and 100% of your money goes to the artists. If you've got money burning a hole in your pocket, today is a good day to spend it, and I'm here to help you decide what to spend it on. This isn't all of the surf music released on bandcamp in the past month, and there were good releases in the past month that weren't on bandcamp (and therefore not on this list) but these are some of the...Read more