Reviews

Post date: 12/03/2015 - 07:41
Kingargoolas - Tales From the Instro Zone

This one has actually been floating around as a vinyl and CD release for a few months now, but it wasn't clear to me where your average internet-surfin' joe could get it. That answer is now free on bandcamp.

Tales from the Instro Zone is all over the place, with some cool groovers lke "Pullover Tom Pastel", theremin-infused weirdos like "Saturn Safari", fuzz crashers like "Mata Hari", and I don't even know what to call "Tarantella Tarantinesca". From their self-titled...Read more

Post date: 12/02/2015 - 07:44
Los Freneticos - El Sonido Que Perdura

Los Freneticos' previous LP "El Playa" was a great little surf album with plenty of nice tunes, but I didn't see a hint that they were heading towards something as ambitious as this. The description on their bandcamp page calls this "a lesson that reviews the A to Z of contemporary surf rock sound" (translated) and they certainly do make an effort towards that. I believe Los Freneticos are a quintet, but they frequently stretch out a bit further than that with an extensive cast of guest...Read more

Post date: 12/01/2015 - 07:56
The X-Ray Cat Trio - Out For Blood

I'm way late on this one, but if you're able to spook out in the pre-Christmas season then I'd suggest you head over this way. The handful of psychobilly vocal tracks suggest that influence over all the tracks, but there's a surprising amount of variety despite keeping a consistent tone. "Cramped" sits somewhere between an obvious Cramps nod and Link Wray, and "L'Hiver" and "The Buzzards Claw" have a similar slow crawl. "Surfing Sasquatch", "Berenice" are more familiar horror surf, while "...Read more

Post date: 11/24/2015 - 07:47
Stories from Shamehill - Same Same But Different EP

Stories from Shamehill are a three-piece from Amsterdam, and though they've been together since 2012 I believe this is their debut EP. They have a solid modern surf sound, not overdoing the reverb and keeping a good upbeat pace. My favorite is the  relentless momentum of "The Cannonball Rum Theme", though it is always nice to have a plain ol' wave-rider like "Toes on the nose, Bros".

It's up on bandcamp, and they do have a CD as well that you can get from...Read more

Post date: 11/23/2015 - 08:18
Blackball Bandits - Aqua Profunda EP

Just two months ago Blackball Bandits released their , which I thought was too good to be called a demo. They've also called this one a demo, and at this point they're really pushing it. This is a little bit different than the last one: not as rough-and-tumble, less punk and less spaghetti western. They've tried a bunch of new things...Read more

Post date: 11/22/2015 - 16:38
The Cavaleros - Atomic EP

The Cavaleros are clearly descended from the Link Wray tree of instrumentals, with ragged blown-out guitars and, of course, a Link Wray cover right at the second song - a good one at that. The opening track essentially a cover of the Frantics' Werewolf, and a song that fits their rough attitude well. The real winner here is the one that I believe tro be an original: Chinese Takeaway. When they get to speed the Cavaleros really take off and make a furious racket. These have a ton of energy...Read more

Post date: 11/18/2015 - 08:27
West Samoa Surfer League - Moments of Truth Part 2 EP

West Samoa Surfer League has two members of the Space Rangers who released an modern classic with "Ready to Take Off". They seem to like to keep it simple: their album art essentially only changed colors, and just like last time we've got 6 songs (two of which are covers). Their sound is pretty trad surf, with some real nice Astronauts drip on rhythm guitar on "Welcome to Malibu" and "Buhne 16 twist". They tend to lean towards a thunderous walk rather than a screaming sprint. If you were a...Read more

Post date: 11/17/2015 - 06:53
The Green Reflectors - The Green Reflectors

The Green Reflectors are a mean and lean twosome out of Nova Scotia. Earlier this year they released , which definitely had some strong Flat Duo Jets vibes emanating from it: mean guitar and poundin' drums with a lot of teeth and energy. The main thing that has changed here is the recording: they moved out of...Read more

Post date: 11/15/2015 - 11:22
Pounded by Surf - No Waves

Earlier this year we got a surprise album dropped on us by of Hot Snakes (backed by the also excellent The Blind Shake). Pounded by the Surf aren't as outward about their alter-ego, but there was enough here to be suspicious: their album is exceptionally well-produced, came out of nowhere and they'...Read more

Post date: 11/12/2015 - 07:18
Gemini 13 - Gemini 13

This debut EP from Gemini 13 starts out unassumingly with a pretty traditional surf instro "Tijuana Spygame". But then it gets a little more showy with "Mumtosh" and gets MUCH more interesting with "Tiglath Pileser". There's some really interesting stuff here: great division of duties between lead and rhythm guitar. I hope they might rerecord some of these tracks in a subsequent release, as I don't feel like the production is allowing the oomph some of these tracks deserve. Still an eye-...Read more

Post date: 11/11/2015 - 11:14
Khruangbin - The Universe Smiles Upon You

Khruangbin are a pretty distant cousin of surf, but they're worth mentioning here because:

a) They're guitar-based and mostly instrumental
b) c) I am going nuts over this album and it wouldn't surprise me if there are other surf fans that would too.

I found out about...Read more

Post date: 11/09/2015 - 08:13
Dirty Fuse - Back to Brazil EP

This EP is Dirty Fuse's first with their new guitarist after their previous guitarist went Back to Brazil. I'd still say this sounds like the Dirty Fuse we're familiar with, but I can only say that because they're an adventurous group and change is expected. There's still prominent saxophone, there's a great sense of depth to the sound - partially nice recording, but the bass definitely rounds it out as well. "Evolution" starts it out as a pretty aggressive number, but you get a lot more...Read more

Post date: 11/09/2015 - 08:00
The 427's - Mavericks

I'm under the impression that The 427's EP Surf Noir got a bit of a attention in surf circles, and I don't doubt that they'll find an audience with their first full-length Mavericks. They've got a pretty trad sound with two guitars, bass, and drums, but the arrangements and riffs are all very catchy and memorable. On one listen, "Fake Betty", "Night of the Living Surf" and "Urchin Stomp" were standouts. On "Yellowbelly" and "The Blue Cactus" they...Read more

Post date: 11/05/2015 - 07:45
Balu & die Surfgrammeln - Los Chicharrones del Surf

This one has been available for streaming for a while, but like so many others their vinyl 10" got stuck in an enormous backlog. But the wait is over, and you can now spin these songs on your turntable. Balu & die Surfgrammeln have a pretty trad, upbeat surf sound interspersed with a lot of vintage audio clips. I love the bounce in "Der Zerfall Von Backerbsen" and the percussion in their version of Comanche.

And of course, gotta love that great Shawn Dickinson artwork.

You...Read more

Post date: 11/05/2015 - 07:33
Black River Manifesto - Kingmaker

Here's something a little different. Black River Manifesto take a slow, noisy approach to surf. It's pained and dischordant, at times maybe even a little jazzy (the upright acoustic bass helps there), and sometimes bluesy ( was a lot bluesier). I'm placing them somewhere near ...Read more

Post date: 11/03/2015 - 07:58
The Illumignarly- Apocalypse Gnar

The Illumignarly come out swinging with the quick and powerful track "Beeriodic Table of Sharks" but as you get a little further into that you hear a moment of spaciness that hints at the couple of prog elements that come out in "Neo Rubicon" and "Cannibal Castration" (a vocal track). "Tall Can" and "Dude I Like Your Shredder" are 100% surf rock shredding material. This is a pretty impressive EP with a lot of ideas in it and a whole lot of oomph.Read more

Post date: 11/01/2015 - 09:09
Black Flamingos - Black Flamingos EP

This one almost slipped by me until the Coffin Daggers posted about them after playing their release show. After a listen to the soundcloud songs below, it's kinda got the wild, somewhat showy guitar playing of Ramblin' Ambassadors but in more of a spooky horror way. Real tight 3-some, love how it all fits together on "Devil's Punchbowl".Read more

Post date: 11/01/2015 - 08:54
The Sloptones - Low Tide EP

Russia's The Sloptones know how to make a Halloween EP; they released a good one last year. But despite the Halloween release date, they went in the opposite direction this time with a dialed-down quiet record. No wall-of-sound here, drums kept to a level that won't bug the neighbors, and bass designed to keep your foot tapping but legs otherwise at rest.Read more

Post date: 11/01/2015 - 08:44
Hypnotzar - Hypnotzar EP

Despite the near-Halloween relaese date, this isn't much of a horror-surf record, though it does have an air of mystery to it. Man... or Astro-Man? is definitely a bit of a jump-off point here with with similar dark tones, sound clips, and "extra" sounds abound (one member plays "extra guitar", percussion and keyboards). But all of those parts come together really well and with a lot of creativity. I think this is definitely worth a listen!Read more

Post date: 10/31/2015 - 09:09
Found Drowned - Spooky Sounds

Despite the near-Halloween relaese date, this isn't much of a horror-surf record, though it does have an air of mystery to it. Man... or Astro-Man? is definitely a bit of a jump-off point here with with similar dark tones, sound clips, and "extra" sounds abound (one member plays "extra guitar", percussion and keyboards). But all of those parts come together really well and with a lot of creativity. I think this is definitely worth a listen!Read more

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