The Hamiltones


The Hamiltones In Space LP

For their second LP, these Buffalo punks boldly go where…actually, quite a few instrumental rock acts have gone before. The HAMILTONES, fresh off a stint playing for a convention of draculas a couple hundred years back, are joining the SPOTNICKS, the VENTURES, and MAN OR ASTRO-MAN? (not to mention countless lamer acts) out in space. So, you should know the deal: surf guitars plus bleeps and bloops, scratchy mid-century NASA samples, and maybe even a theremin. They’re by no means reinventing the Saturn V here, but I’ll be damned if this record isn’t just great. The guitar melodies are super compelling, and they’re often accompanied by soaring, lyric-less vocals (think the theme from Star Trek: The Original Series) or John Carpenter synths, giving the record more of a movie score vibe. And like their previous release, this thing is full of cool artwork and inserts adding more dumb fun band lore—the physical release even comes with an extra 7” by some mystery band that goes by MOON PEOPLE. Real cool shit!

The Hamiltones Live at the Jungle Gym cassette

The HAMILTONES follow up their incredible Dracula Invitational, 1791 LP from last year with a live cassette on Primitive Screwhead, the Big Neck Records live cassette subsidiary label. End of February 2014 in Buffalo, NY: lo-fi nasty instrumental surf rock plays as an absolutely bonkers party rages around. Punkers in Buffalo have had this recurring event for years now, with a beach party taking place in the midst of winter to attempt to stave off the seasonal blues. Heat is cranked, swimwear is donned by all those in attendance, and on this special year, musical guests the HAMILTONES performed live in a jam-packed living room. I happened to be at this party, and I don’t exactly remember things being as debaucherous as fellow attendee Micky Harmon depicted in his artist’s rendering of the evening on a wild-looking four-panel foldout cover for this cassette. Though, the more I think about it and listen to these tunes, the more accurate I think the artwork actually is.

The Hamiltones The Shape of Walter EP

While it’s not relevant to the music, this is one of the funniest record names I’ve heard in ages, and the accompanying picture sleeve is perfect. It’s all about the instrumentals here, as all four songs are instrumentals. While most of it is ’60s influenced surf, different songs have different feels, including upbeat and almost funky, or dark and eerie. There’s even a cover of “Without You,” a ’70s ballad made famous by HARRY NILSSON, but also recorded by BADFINGER and AIR SUPPLY. You’re in great company, guys. Solid release. Blue vinyl.