Hi-Tide

The Babalooneys - Late to the Party

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.

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Messer Chups - Dark Side of Paradise

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 , can I really expect a new Messer Chups record to be more than just more?

Actually, yes!

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The Ventures - New Space and The Ventures in general I guess

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.

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Satan's Pilgrims - Go Action!!

Satan's Pilgrims - Go Action!!

I've really been struck by how many fantastic surf releases this year, and every time I reflect on this I've reminded myself that there are a few looming releases threatening to crash my mental list of favorites. Any Satan's Pilgrims release holds that promise, but this is a particularly meaningful one as it's the last one that will feature their classic lineup with their late guitarist Dave Busacker who passed away in March 2021.

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The Manakooras - Jungle of Steel

The Manakooras - Jungle Steel

The Manakooras are not what you think they are.

Comprised of Jeremy from The Aqualads, Ted Pilgrim, Brian and Gary from the Intoxicators, Tim from the Reverburritos and others, this is not a surf supergroup. This is an exotica group, and there's even less noticeable surf guitar than on previous releases they've done. Don't approach this like Tikiyaki Five-O, expecting surf covers of exotica, this is exotica enough that the surf musicians are really my only excuse for reviewing it. It helps that it's really good too.

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The Surfrajettes - Roller Fink

The Surfrajettes - Roller Fink

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.

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Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited - The Flawless Miss Drake

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited - The Flawless Miss Drake

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.

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Les Agamemnonz - Amateurs

Les Agamemnonz - Amateurs

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 recognizing this with their album art, gigantic redwoods dwarving the band.

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Gremmy Awards 2020: Best Album Art

Gremmy Awards 2020: Best Album Art

Welcome to the first, most irrelevant round of the Gremmy Awards. Album Art matters. Without listening it gives you an idea of what an album might sound like, the effort put in, and even though it shouldn't, it usually does have some say in whether or not you end up listening to it. Even when listening to the final product, it can guide the mindset that you listen in.

Here are several picks from this year that really stood out.

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