Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vintage Vinyl #5 – The Bleeding Surf of an Astro Coast

Today’s entry delves not into the vintage music of a bygone era, but into the vintage sounds of that era.  The last decade has seen a resurgence in the once formidable genre of surf rock.  Far from its chart-topping heyday when Dick Dale and The Ventures were still in their prime, today’s surf rock tends toward the underground.  Man or Astro-Man in part began the surf renaissance with their formation in 1995, continuing a rich tradition of far-out surf music reminiscent of the space race of the late 1950s into the 60s.  Today there are dozens of bands of surf devotees bringing new slants to the classic sounds, such as the female-led Best Coast or the hazy fuzzed-out surf of Beach Fossils’ excellent debut.  Surfer Blood’s first record, Astro Coast dropped this past February, to much critical acclaim.  Five young men with guitars crafted a near perfect album of anthemic surf rock, using intertwining guitar parts to create one of the more transportative musical experiences of 2010.

I {admittedly} picked this up on Amazon, as Redscroll was cleaned out at the time.  Before even listening, I was thrilled about the packaging.  A white LP with gatefold packaging is a great surprise (I’m a sucker for non-black vinyl).

Reminiscent of the lo-fi, garage rock bands of yesteryear, Surfer Blood owes as much  to Mark Mulcahy and the 90s as they would Dick Dale and the 60s.  Lyrics about Laura’s Palmer killer in ‘Twin Peaks’ should place us firmly in 1990, but sonically we are in no one time.  Juxtaposing driving guitar and oft shouted but distant sounding vocals gives a satisfying amalgamation of retro-surf and modern rock.  ‘Harmonix’, the album’s standout track is a slower groove, layering guitars over dream-like vocals.  “We could have been the best of friends…”

The entire album really is a must-listen, embedded below are key tracks ‘Harmonix’ and ‘Twin Peaks’.  Enjoy.

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