Surf Music

New album: Thee Irma & Louise || Year Zero

Swiss garasz punk band Thee Irma & Louise have been around for over twenty years, yet they called their new album Year Zero. Tomi Ballmer (vocals, guitar), Oliver Ruch (bass), Miriam Wolf (keys) and Philipp Mühlemann (drums) dedicate the record to singer/songwriter/guitarist Olifr M. Guz aka Oliver Maurmann, frontman of Die Aeronauten and involved in countless other projects. A cover of his song Monitor opens the LP, followed by ten originals, with standout track Five Years Behind My Thyme being eagerly inspired by The Third Bardo’s 1967 classic I’m Five Years Ahead Of My Time. The tunes vary from menacing synth-surf-punk and psychedelic post-punk to raw garage rock and melodic popcorn (influences for which we have to go back much further than five years), partly instrumental and partly vocal, always exciting, still appealing in 2023.

Year Zero, recorded, mixed & mastered by Micha Loosli, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Little Rebel Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Little Rebel

New EP: Interstellar Riders || Interstellar Riders

Interstellar Riders are a relatively new surf / rockabilly trio from Vancouver (Canada), featuring seasoned musicians Joe Rotundo (guitar), Jeremy Holmes (bass) and Todd Biffard (drums). On their self-titled debut EP you’ll hear four instrumental tunes full of sonic reverb and space echo twang, as is usual in this genre, but what sets this release apart are the original melodies, graceful interplay and amazing sound. Are those aliens I see dancing there?

Interstellar Riders’ self-titled EP officially drops on November 24. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: The Patina Turners || Shorebreak

For a sunny mix of psychobilly and surf rock we aim our attention to Fort Myers, Florida, where Andrew Costantino (guitar), Robert Graham (guitar), Rob DeSantis (bass) and Cory Graves (drums) make some pretty exciting music as The Patina Turners. Their new Shorebreak EP contains five instrumental tunes with original melodies and refreshing spaciness. Song titles like Blue Crab Boogie and Bikini Moms (and the ace video below) reflect what this is all about. Gripping and inspired, cool stuff.

Shorebreak, recorded & produced by Howard Merlin, is out now digitally through Rumble Road Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Monster Wave || Pazuzu Luau

Monster Wave is the Asheville, North Carolina-based instrumental surf rock band of Casey Willis (guitar, bass, drums, percussion) and Brett Spivey (Moog synthesizer, theramin, keyboard). They just released their debut LP Pazuzu Luau, eight songs that sound sunnier than you would expect based on their enigmatic titles. The melodies are original, refreshing and danceable, performed with skills and feeling, more like a gentle caress of a coastal breeze than a terrifying rogue wave of sound.

Pazuzu Luau is out now digitally (self-released). The Great Rinaldi also features Fabian Hernandez (saxophone) and Michael Berry (keyboard), and on Wolfman Stomp you’ll hear Michael Seng (lead guitar).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Ponta Preta || Way Out West!

Four years after their self-titled debut EP and two years after their first full-length Tit’s Up, French psych pop/surf rock band Ponta Preta returns with their sophomore album Way Out West!. The four friends – Alexis Delekta, Félix Levious, Pierre Labaune and Valentin Gerdil – obviously share a common love for American West Coast music, but the way they combine psychedelic pop, garage rock and surf influences, it makes sense that they are releasing these nine new songs not before but after the summer. This is basically a laid-back autumn soundtrack with addictive guitar melodies and a melancholic atmosphere, but sharp edges reveal that the waves are slightly higher and more dangerous during this period.

Way Out West! is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Le Surf Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Magnatech || Herr Magnatech Bittet Zum Tanz

Johannes Bernardus Verhoef was still in Ireland when we wrote about his previous release, but he has now ended up in Germany. I guessed that this explained the title of his fourth album under the moniker of Magnatech, Herr Magnatech Bittet Zum Tanz, but it turns out there is more to it: “It’s a journey that will lead you from the US to the UK, Netherlands, Germany, France and back to the Netherlands again.” Anyway, expect sixteen short instrumentals, as always a mix of surf-pop and Indo-rock influences. There are stompers and twist tunes as well as ballads and soundscapes, all original, cinematic and kind of danceable.

Herr Magnatech Bittet Zum Tanz is out now digitally and on CD through Sharawaji Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Routes || Reverberation Addict

Japanese garage rock trio The Routes are back with studio album number 14. Last year they transformed ten electro classics by Kraftwerk into pretty cool instrumental surf rock crackers on The Twang Machine, which was so well received that they now dare to also take up the work of Pete Shelley and Buzzcocks. On Reverberation Addict, you’ll hear fifteen of the most popular songs from the British punk rock band, reimagined and rearranged as 60s surf guitar instrumental bangers. The cover art (by Malcolm Garrett) is a reworking of that of the 1977 Buzzcocks single Orgasm Addict, from which the title is also derived. Chris Jack (guitar, bass, percussion, organ), Toru Nishimuta (bass) and Bryan Styles (drums, percussion) make it an exciting ride, a respectful tribute that once again shows how awesome the original compositions are, but captured in a completely different sound, turning out well.

Reverberation Addict is out now digitally and on black or blue vinyl LP through Topsy Turvy Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Soundflat

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of September 2023

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

Shiny Happy People || Cover: Micky Dolenz || Original: R.E.M.
Micky Dolenz, drummer and vocalists of legendary American pop/rock band The Monkees, will release the 4-track EP Dolenz Sings R.E.M. next month on 7A Records, produced by Christian Nesmith (son of Michael Nesmith). As R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe says: “Micky Dolenz covering R.E.M. Monkees style, I have died and gone to heaven. This is really something. Shiny Happy People sounds incredible (never thought you or I would hear me say that).”

New album: Fuzzy Loom || Mormodrama

In everyday life Yasha Trimarchi reviews guitar gear, which comes across as an excellent way to do finger exercises for a greater good. And with success: under the moniker of Fuzzy Loom the Swedish musician releases his energetic debut LP Mormodrama, featuring eleven reverb-laden surf songs. The instrumental guitar music – delightful, sunny melodies – is interspersed with well-found soundscapes, which will make you smile and further enhances the cinematic feel. Original and highly entertaining.

Mormodrama is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Ventures || New Space

“Why don’t you have a ‘Surf Music’ tag if you write about that genre so often?” It’s always useful to get constructive criticism from regular visitors to our blog, so starting today you’ll see a new category in our sidebar. We couldn’t ask for a better first* addition than American rock ‘n’ roll icon The Ventures, who released their first all-new studio album in nearly three decades. With the fresh New Space LP they seek to echo and pay homage to 1964’s (The) Ventures In Space, one of their biggest-selling and most popular albums of all time. Although with a different line-up than sixty years ago, Bob Spalding (lead guitar), Ian Spalding (rhythm guitar), Luke Griffin (bass) and Leon Taylor (drums) succeed well in similarly merging instrumental surf pop and space rock into twelve fascinating cinematic pieces. Melodic originals and fitting covers – Fly Me to the Moon (written by Bart Howard, popularized by Frank Sinatra) and Vibrations and Eleventh Hour (by the founders of The Ventures) – make this a welcome return.

New Space is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Hi-Tide Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Hi-Tide

*We will also retroactively include a number of previous reviews in this category.

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