For our first ever Surf Artist Highlight, we proudly present to you Aloha Screwdriver, a fast-paced, heavy-riffing instrumental surf band out of Alameda, California. They were started in 2009 by three guys who have been playing music together since they were teens: Donald Bell on guitar, Grant Shellen on bass, and Steve Slater on drums.
Running into their music was, to say the least, a serendipitous accidental music discovery of epic proportions; I was ordering a couple of specific surf CDs on Double Crown Records’ website and realized I had a little of the money left that I had saved for surf music because Double Crown always has a monthly special going on. I found Aloha Screwdriver’s first CD No Way Out in the clearance section, and it was in my price range. I listened to some 30-second previews on iTunes, liked what I heard, and ordered the CD. When my CD’s arrived I imported them into iTunes and added them to the massive, ever-growing surf music playlist that syncs to my phone.
At this point, setting a playlist with the iPhone version of Runkeeper was still a little new to me. I didn’t realize that I had to hit a switch to shuffle the playlist, and it took me two weeks to realize that I was hearing the same tracks over and over on my runs. As it turns out, No Way Out was at the top of my playlist and I was listening to the entire album every time I went running, but it worked perfectly. No Way Out is the kind of in-your-face, action-oriented music that makes you want to roll down your windows and turn it up to 11. Here’s a track from that album:
There are more tracks available for listening on the band’s website, as well as on Spotify, Pandora, and Last.fm.
No Way Out can still be obtained from Aloha Screwdriver for $7.00. Their new album The Haunted Planet is now available for $11.00, and includes an exclusive postcard of the cover art and an emailed link to the MP3 version of the album so that you don’t have to wait for the CD to arrive before you get the Screwdriver in your ears. Their online store offerings include posters for both albums and band name logo stickers and t-shirts. They accept payment via Paypal and it even appears as though U.S. shipping is free.
Both albums are recorded on vintage gear direct to 1-inch analog tape, which is really the way that it should be. According to their store’s description for The Haunted Planet, “[c]areful listening will reveal the occasional grunt or flat note, but you’d be missing the point. This may be the only recording you hear all year that didn’t pass through Pro Tools before hitting your ears. This is the unvarnished sound of a real band playing real rock and roll, and it’s a rare thing these days.” Almost as rare as a band like Aloha Screwdriver, perhaps.