Title: Hedorah No ShyukudaiArtist: Monsters From Mars319 plays
Monsters From Mars // “Hedorah No Shyukudai”
Here is one from the vaults! Back in 2006, San Diego band Monsters From Mars (whose lineup includes Thor from Just Another Snake Cult) recorded two tracks for a split 7” that they were going to do with The Creepy Creeps. Unfortunately the label releasing the split sat on the tracks for so long that the band decided to just release them for free.
“Hedorah No Shyukudai” is the second of the two tracks and it finds its roots in a very specific source. In the 1960’s, there was a boom of instrumental surf rock in Japan called “eleki” (taken from Japanese word for “electric guitar.”) This scene was pretty much inspired by American bands like The Ventures and The Astronauts and would go on to produce a legion of similar acts and even several eleki television shows. Combining the eleki vibes with a heavy dose of Japanese monster movie music, Monsters From Mars have pretty much nailed the sound here. It’s an honest homage to a very specific scene that not only feels authentic but is also just fun to listen to.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that there will always be “the one that got away.” Well in the case of music blogging there are multiple instances of this. Sometimes I log music I want to post away in my mental filing cabinet only to have some of those potential posts fall through the cracks. Such as was the case with the Savannah, Georgia band Triathalon. I listened to their excellent EP Relationchips numerous times and fully intended on featuring them but then… I… just never did. Shame. So when I saw that the EP had been fully remastered and re-released I knew that I could not make the same mistake again.
Relationchips is first and foremost a guitar EP. It’s just brimming with robust, jangling, reverbed guitars. It creates this thick, warm environment for the catchy pop vocals to absolutely flourish. With a professional remastering now on their side, the excellent songwriting of these tracks reveals just how killer it is. In particular, some of these guitar riffs and surf solos are so crisp they have me air-jamming with reckless abandon. If you are a fan of driving power pop with tinges of surf rock, the Triathalon should be right up you alley.
Title: Definitely RetardedArtist: The Hiya Dunes431 plays
*PREMIERE* The Hiya Dunes // “Definitely Retarded”
It’s always fun when musicians that you really dig come together to create something new. We just got a tast of this earlier today on Portalstoday with the debut single from Gremlins. Now it’s happening again with the The Hiya Dunes. Consisting of Sean Posila (High Pop), Eddie Golden III (The Guru), Alex Goosman, and Jeff Hoyt, The Hiya Dunes play catchy lo-fi surf rock. According to Sean their debut track, “Definitely Retarded” is a “poppy girl anthem” and I can’t really argue. It’s definitely poppy, definitely about a girl, and it’s “Definitely Retarded.”
The track is being released as part of a compilation called Seagreen Records: Singles On Valentine’s Day. It’s a mixtape that has been put together to celebrate the advent of Seagreen Records. Featuring brand new tracks from bands like High Pop, The Guru, Major Bummer, Boy Crush, and others. It’s a gnarly compilation and it’s free starting today on the label’s bandcamp page. The label also has a Tumblr page, so make sure you follow along on there too, because I have a feeling that these guys are going to absolutely kill it in the future.
Bands will change their name for a myriad of reasons. In the case of the Japanese surf rocking band Friends, their name change was done with you the listener in mind. I don’t know if you have ever tried to google the band or not. I have and it’s darn near impossible. So in order to make things less confusing, they will now and forevermore be known as Teen Runnings. I can dig it. In honor of the metamorphosis, there is a brand new bandcamp site with a handful of new demos for you to indulge in. (Seeing as their debut album was #15 on my year-end list, you can imagine how stoked I was to hear this.)
For proof of their good time vibes check out this video for the new jammer “Wonder Mountaineering.” Much less fuzzy, much less surfy, but still so very awesome. Painting over rough edges with a shoegazing sheen, Teen Runnings maintain the one thing that always brings me back to them: a totally infectious pop sensibility. When Shota Kaneko sings those hooks, man I’m sold. He’s known for dropping pearls every once in a while (like this Maroon 5 cover) so keep ‘em on the radar, folks.
Chaz Bell never makes things too easy for listeners with H | p s. He honestly writes some of the catchiest hooks I’ve ever heard, but he very decisively obscures those pop songs underneath layers of heavy fuzz and distortion. And contrary to the trajectory of many other similarly lo-fi artists, Chaz’s music has only gotten noisier and more chaotic with time. Now I know that his music isn’t necessarily accessible (even for people who dig on scuzz) and that the harsh nature of some of his chosen imagery can keep listener’s at arm’s length, but I really think that there is more to this guy than first glance (or listen) would suggest.
In a few weeks, Chill Mega Chill (shameless plug) will be releasing Chaz’s debut album H \ P S for the world to hear. The first single off of that album “Sup Babe” perfectly encapsulates the quirky charm that his music has to offer. There is this brash amalgam of the metallic and cacophonous noise, but in the middle (if you’re willing to dig there) is a vibrant beating heart. The familiarly bouncing surf rock melody sung with a snarl is hard to dismiss and it only gets sweeter with repeated listens.
Well fall is here, at least that’s what the weather would have you believe. It’s been nothing but rainy and cold and gray lately… AND I LOVE IT. Yeah, summer is cool blah blah blah whatever. But I happen to love the cold weather. I mean is there anything better than curling up with a warm blanket and watching movies all day? No. There isn’t. Not that I can do that sort of thing thanks to a full-time job, but I can daydream can’t I?
If you happen to disagree with me and wish that summer was still in full swing, then listen to this surf rockin’, doo woppin’ track by Gainesville, Florida band The Holy Ghosts. They wear their nostalgia and their influences on their sleeve with tracks like “School Dance”. More than once did I think “Black Lips!” during the songs three or so minutes. It’s pretty stripped down and intentionally sloppy so if you dig that sort of garage rock snarl then The Holy Ghosts should be right up your smelly alley.
Keep an eye on their soundcloud page for a slew of similarly awesome tracks. I couldn’t find any other webpages for the band so if you stumble across them don’t be afraid to hit me up.
How did I not find this earlier? Big thanks to my pal Rachel Levy for unknowingly turning me on to this because it just made my day.
Ok so there is this band from Sheffield, England and they are called Best Friends.Oh and their debut EP is called Surf Bitches and the cover features a tie-dye-wearin’ golden retriever. If someone told me that the band was in this for anything other than the fun of it I would flat out call them a liar. I mean come on, it’s a golden retriever!
Now the music itself is (again) some spunky, noisy surf rock. Sorry for the barrage of it lately but like I said I’m on vacation. So in order for you to get a little taste of what I’m feelin’ right now then do yourself a favor and download this free EP. If it doesn’t slap a big stupid grin across your mug then you are most likely dead.
Jungle Bodies is just two guys from Texas named Zeb and Andres. And all they have to make music is guitar, drums, and good vibes. So believe me when I tell you that they manage to make the good vibes stretch pretty far.Their EP Wipeout can be downloaded for free from their bandcamp.
I happen to be at the beach this week, so maybe that’s why all these surf rock posts have struck my fancy. Or it could just be because I love surf rock. Either way make sure you check out these guys. On “Riff Raff” they build the track little by little all the while gaining momentum. The track’s full package manages to sound bigger than it actually is. So I suppose in some sort of small way these guys are magicians. Surf rockin’ magicians. And really, who doesn’t want to listen to surf rockin’ magicians?
Make sure you check out this self-proclaimed “deadly, psychedelic beach time fun” from the curiously-named St. Knicholas Cage. They have a spattering of tracks up for download on their soundcloud and they are all worth your time.
On their new track “Sexy Boyz” the first thing I thought of was actually not beach flavored music at all. My mind instead went back to 2001 when The Strokes released Is This It. Listen to this track and tell me that I’m not crazy for drawing that comparison. Now it’s not a complete homage because these guys take the track in a more poppy, fun-loving direction. So check it out and see what you think.
Their other tracks, including the other brand new jammer “Satanic Devil Worship”, feature a much more easily recognizable beach-infused surf rock sound. So if that’s something you’re craving then grab a towel and some sunscreen and let St. Knicholas Cage handle the rest.
If you couldn’t tell from the band name and the album artwork, Swimsuit is a band that prides itself on warm summertime vibes and beach pop influence. When I was first sent this LP I prematurely compared the band to the likes of Tennis and Seapony before I even heard it. That was a foolish assumption on my part because Swimsuit really doesn’t sound like either band.
Featuring members of City Center and Tyvek (formerly), Swimsuit sorta took me by surprise with how delightfully raw their music sounds. What really drew me in at first was the excellent guitar work on the surf rock tinged instrumental tracks. While I certainly enjoyed the shared male/female vocal duties, the music is what really sold me. Like an impromptu beach side concert put on exclusively for friends, Swimsuit dredges up images of a driftwood bonfire, sunburned skin, and sand in your flip-flops.
The album is out now on Speakertree Records. But if you want to hear the whole thing first you can surf on over to the label’s bandcamp page where you can stream the whole thing in its entirety or snag it digitally for $5. Come on, it’s summer. Who is going to tire of summer music during the summer? Not me.
Title: The Beach is Calling MeArtist: Boy Party101 plays
Boy Party // On Yr Lips
Just got this in the mail last night and felt like sharing it today. I really don’t know much about these dudes called Boy Party other than the fact that they are from North Carolina and they obviously don’t take themselves too seriously. I can get on board with both of those things.
Everything about their EP On Yr Lips is the very essence of DIY. I mean just look at the doctored photos that they use for album art. That sort of aesthetic carries over into their music. Its charm is found in the delightful imperfections on these tracks. The singer’s voice in never 100% on key, there are missed notes here and there, the drummer sometimes seems like he’s doing his own thing, and a thin layer of fuzz is laid over everything holding it all together. None of this detracts from the music though, because I don’t think these guys ever set out to do anything but have fun and make some music. And really, who can fault them for that?
If you love bands like NODZZZ or Vivian Girls for their quirky imperfections, then I suggest giving Boy Party a chance. Maybe you’ll find yourself liking them for the same reasons. You can download On Yr Lips for free on their bandcamp.
Keyboards is Drunk is hands down one of my favorite blogs. Now they do not update it very often, but when they do I find myself expecting two things. First of all, the music is more often than not brand new to me. And second, it is always quality. So it is with much gratitude that I thank them for introducing me to Zoo Kid.
Zoo Kid is a sixteenish-year-old from London who makes music mature beyond his years. Pinning him down to one genre is something of a chore. Some of his songs bleed surf rock, other times he’s wearing a bluesy mask. He even manages to cram some almost spoken word hip-hop in there (a la The Streets). If there is any justice in the world, this kid will go far. There is just way too much creativity in this redhead to go unnoticed.
To hear some more of his jams visit his periodically updated bandcamp.
Even though we are moving headlong into the doldrums of winter, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little bit of summer now and then.
For some reason, I never get sick of lo-fi beach/surf rock. I guess something about it just brightens my mood (or it could have something to do with the early 60’s influence) Whatever it is, Triptides have it down pat and have a winning little EP on their hands here. The music is very bouncy with a healthy dose of reverb. The sun shines off their guitars and gives the music a pleasantly sunburned feeling. At its best moments the EP reminds me a bit of New Jersey beach stalwarts Real Estate. And that is about the highest compliment I can pay a band these days. *Highly recommended*
Pay what you want for a download on their bandcamp, but if you prefer a slice of sunshine to hold in your hands then I suggest you buy the cassette (only $4 plus shipping!)
Holy crap this song is perfect. The group is called Telenovelas and to date they have one single track on their bandcamp. The song is called “One and Only” and I swear that this song is perfect. The song starts off with a beachy guitar riff followed by boy/girl harmonies and ooh-wahs that will surf their way straight into your heart. Now I know, I know, the whole surf thing has been done to death this year. However, I would rather have one group do it really (really) well than a hundred groups doing it so-so. Head to their site to snag the song (you’ll have to leave an e-mail address behind). It’s a groovy good time.
Also, check out their myspace to hear some other swell tracks.