Surf Music

New single: Cowabunghouls || The End of the World

Trashy reverb rarely sounded so appealing

It’s only been two months since Cowabunghouls released their album Ghoul Bus, but already the St. Louis, Missouri-based horror surf trio is back with new three-song single The End of the World. You know exactly what to expect from a band with ‘Crank The Reverb’ merch, yet the instrumentals here are quite divers and original. Opening tune Miles County Clown Costume is a catchy floor filler (handclaps!), the guitar melody of the title track makes the theme a lot more bearable (despite the ominous voices in the background), and San Gringo Peligroso has a cinematic and moody spaghetti western sound (a modern classic).

The End of the World, written by Brandon Larson, is out now digitally.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Del Roswells || Operation Roswell

Surfing the airwaves like it's 1956

British surf rock vehicle The Del Roswells has been traveling through space for a few years, leaving a trail of EPs behind. Under the codename Operation Roswell, they have now dropped their first full-length album, featuring twelve almost entirely instrumental songs (some screams and soundscapes can be heard), which serve as a “soundtrack to the intergalactic sci-surf alien invasion.” Many of the tunes were available before, which almost makes it feel like a greatest hits collection, but either way it’s nice to fly with these four nimble-fingered musicians for a little longer, although I am not sure we are safe with them.

Operation Roswell is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Babalooneys || Late to the Party!

Canadian surf rockers wash away an endless winter

Although it’s been over sixty years since Dick Dale developed the surf sound and made audiences dance to it, it has proven to be a timeless genre, at least in our world. So there is no need for Québec-based surf rockers The Babalooneys to apologize for being Late to the Party! with their full-length debut. Although an Endless Winter is literally central to this album, Richard Bourque (guitar), Jean Sirois (guitar), Antoine Pelletier (bass), Martin Dorval (saxophone) and Chany Lagueux (drums) do everything within their power to raise the temperature to bikini levels. We get nine original instrumental tunes that come across as long-forgotten classics, plus successful covers of King Of The Surf (originally by The Trashmen, and the only track here with vocals), Oceanside (The Super Stocks) and Mr. Rebel (Eddie & the Showmen). Exciting but refreshing, with every note on point.

Late to the Party!, produced by Shorty Poole, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Hi-Tide Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Hi-Tide

New EP: Girafe || Matin​é​e for Mad Creatures

Stockholm 4-piece mixes cumbia and surf on sunny debut

Don’t be put off by the dark and messy cover art – the four songs on Matin​é​e for Mad Creatures sound actually quite smooth and sunny. It is the debut EP from Swedish indie pop outfit Girafe, on which Julia Sjöström, Nathalie Appadu, Mattias Robertsson and Robert Wadeskog charmingly mix tropical cumbia, vibrant surf rock and psychedelic dub. They kick off with the infectious, instrumental title track, continue with attractively sung Lavoe Shades and Mountain Merengue, and close with another instrumental tune, Left the City Burning. These are thirteen exotic and idiosyncratic minutes, a laid back and sun-kissed introduction to a promising band.

Matin​é​e for Mad Creatures is out now digitally (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Magnatech || Europa

A quirky invitation to fly off to places you would long to be whilst listening to these instrumentals

Magnatech aka Johannes Bernardus Verhoef, currently based in Bocholt, Germany, is back with sixteen new two-minute songs in which surf pop, exotica and Indorock merge. Europe, his fifth LP, is a kind of concept album that brings America and Europe together. Or as the artist puts it: “Some tunes will invite you to be on the beach riding your surfboard on the beaches of Biscaya, whilst others will bring you back to the atmosphere in early sixties Dutch and German dancehalls.” I experience it as quirky pop art in which exotic instrumentals are interspersed with well-known tunes, sound effects and spoken word snippets – nods to high and low culture. In terms of cover design it’s Magnatech’s least attractive release to date (compare it with Herr Magnatech Bittet Zum Tanz or De Favorieten Expres!), but – more important – musically it’s a trip that’s at least as entertaining and colorful as ever.

Europa is out now digitally and on CD through Sharawaji Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Currie Brothers || The Curse Of The Currie Brothers

I found quite a bit of nice surf rock in my listening pile this week, but nice isn’t good enough to bother you. New EP The Curse Of The Currie Brothers is a different story though, because with these six instrumental songs I can vividly imagine how the audience will go wild on it in a sweaty pub. Original, raucous tunes, delivered with passion. We’re talking about Andrew Currie (guitar) and Rob Currie (guitar) – hence the band name – who, together with Seamus Saunders (bass), Jared Davis (drums, percussion) and Kristian Noel Pedersen (keyboards), give the surf genre a trashy garage punk twist, and that works out very well. Dirty and dangerous, definitely worth sharing.

The Curse Of The Currie Brothers is out now digitally (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: The Other Timelines || Doubleshot: Volume 1

After a hiatus of about ten years, time-travelling vehicle The Other Timelines are back to the future with a brand new two-song digital single under the appropriate title Doubleshot: Volume 1. We’re talking about the surf ‘n’ spy supergroup based out of the Pacific Northwest, featuring Jonny Browning (primary guitar, percussion), Jim Wilder (secondary guitar, sitar, bass), Sean Berry (bass) and Hollis Pilling (keyboards) – names you may know from bands like Man or Astro-Man?, The Mystery Men, The Toga Kings and Sound of Humans. Both tracks, Unsafe At Any Speed ​​and Public Access ’66 Theme, are cinematic instrumentals with original guitar and organ melodies that are exciting and danceable.

Doubleshot: Volume 1 is out now digitally via Double Crown Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Pointbreak || Ming Dynamite

Dublin’s instrumental surf rock outfit Pointbreak have three EPs to their name, but they’re celebrating their tenth anniversary with their first full-length album, Ming Dynamite. Stefano Vita (guitars), Mark Corry (bass), Simon Wall (sax, flute) and Conor Murray (drums) come from the jazz, funk and rockabilly scenes, and they have performed countless live shows – those influences and experience make that they stand out from their peers. The eleven tunes here – opening track Tiger Hour in two versions – have a classic surf sound as a foundation, but swinging elements of garage, jazz, funk and psychedelia are built on top of it, in which a screaming sax competes for cheers with twangy Fender guitars. Although the music itself already exudes a cinematic feeling, spoken soundscapes enhance this even further. Raucous but dosed, and as original and explosive as the colorful cover art.

Ming Dynamite, recorded & mixed by Stefano Vita, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP, through Surf Cookie Records. Also featuring Franck Bourjini (keys) and Pablo Caderno (theremin) on select tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Por Ella Runners || Yeeeeee!

Having a Spanish band sing a song in heavily accented English titled Magere Hein (the Dutch name for the Grim Reaper)? Definitely a head-scratcher. But the song is a blast, and that goes for all seven tracks on The Por Ella Runners’ new mini-album, Yeeeeee!

It’s the band’s first release in twelve years. But what’s a dozen trips around the sun when you’ve been making music together since high school in the ’90s? Even better, The Por Ella Runners sound like juvenile delinquents on these surfy, garage-y power pop’n’roll tracks.

Yeeeeee! is available on CD directly through the band.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New single: Trabants || Mantra

Portland, Oregon-based surf-garage-psych project Trabants pull out a new 45 with two cinematic guitar instrumentals. Eric Penna (guitars, percussion), Dave Berkham (bass) and Anthony Brisson (drums) deliver it as a record in two parts, Mantra on side A and Surfers On Acid on side B, mind and body represented by each. Trippy and hypnotic, full of fuzz and sun, groovy with Eastern influences, retro-cool in every way.

Mantra b/w Surfers On Acid, written, recorded and mixed by Eric Penna, is out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Hypnotic Bridge Records. The two songs are harbingers for Trabants’ next LP.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Hypnotic Bridge

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