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Top 5 Bands Keeping The Surf Vibes Alive

Posted by Thomas Spillane on


Surf rock reached the height of its popularity in the mid-sixties.

Pioneered by musicians such as Dick Dale & The Del-Tones (pictured below), Link Wray, The Ventures and Duane Eddy, instrumental surf music drew on a number of different influences to simulate the sound of crashing waves. A melting pot of Middle Eastern and Mexican influences, instrumental surf music was characterised by reverb drenched guitars and rapid picking.

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Surf rock saw somewhat of a resurgence in the nineties due to soundtracks to films such as Pulp Fiction (1994). Despite this the genre has remained more-or-less dormant since its decline in the mid-sixties, until recent years. Bearing a similarity to the music of old spaghetti westerns such as The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (1966), a few bands in the 21st century are reinventing surf music by fusing it with retro psychedelic sounds. Today we bring you the top 5 bands making surf-inspired music today.

5. Los Plantronics

Los Plantronics describe themselves as “mariachi death surf”. Drawing heavily from the Mexican and spaghetti-western influence of surf music, the Norwegian band make cinematic surf tunes that are (mostly) instrumental. They have released seven albums with their latest, Surfing Times (2015) fit to score any Tarantino film.

4. The Growlers

The Growlers hail from California and cite influences from country, beat, pop and rock music as well as surf. Referred to as  “Beach Goth”, they have released five albums with their latest, City Club (2016) delving into the realm of synthesisers and drum machines. Despite their penchant for experimentation, The Growlers have always kept a surfy touch.

3. Allah-Las

The Allah-Las formed in Los Angeles in 2008. The quartet make dreamy surf rock music with a psychedelic sensibility. They have released three albums with their self-titled 2012 debut remaining their best to date. Their music captures the airy, carefree sounds of their hometown.

2. The Spyrals

Based in San Francisco, The Spyrals take the reverb drenched vibes of original surf music to the next level. Also very influenced by the blues, the band have a somewhat garage rock aspect to their surf sound that makes for some lo-fi albeit amazingly retro sounds. They have released two albums with their self-titled 2012 debut still their most accomplished.

1. Mystic Braves

At number one we have Los Angeles’ own Mystic Braves. Originally named Blackfoot Braves, the quintet play a perfect combination of surf vibes and vintage psychedelic sixties sounds. They have released three albums, their latest effort, Days Of Yesteryear (2015), displayed the band taking their music to new and wonderful places. However, their self-titled 2013 debut shows the band at their most surf-oriented.

Do you know any other bands keeping surf music alive? Let us know in the comments!

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