Bombón: San Pedro Surf Rock Queens

On January 7, 2014 by Simon Weedn

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Surf rock may be the oldest and most distinctively Southern Californian genre of music we have. Its style and characteristics are simple, yet challenging enough to be hard to do well. Progenitors of the genre, like Dick Dale, basically invented loud music as we know it today by challenging amplifier and guitar manufacturer, Leo Fender, to build stronger amps, as Dick kept on melting down his while playing to thousands of kids at Newport Beach’s legendary Rendezvous Ballroom. Then you had acts like The Ventures who, during the 60’s could’ve been considered just as much proto-punks as the MC5 or The Stooges and if you don’t believe me, listen to the band’s Live in Japan ’65 album as evidence. Though the genre has all but died out in recent years, we here in the greater LA are lucky enough to have at least one act proudly carrying on one of Southern California’s proudest musical traditions while also pushing the genre forward, San Pedro’s Bombón.

Unlike many other local surf acts though, Bombón are not content with just rehashing the past. Instead of tackling the same surf standards that everyone has been playing for the last 50 years, the girls seem more interested in doing their own thing. Blending that old school surf sound with gritty, jagged garage rock and the high energy DIY spirit of punk rock, the girls have developed a sound that puts them more in league with Japan’s 5,6,7,8’s than anyone else. This distinct, broad spectrum of sonic style allow Bombón to be able to fit nicely onto nearly any live bill; fitting in just as well alongside a slew of punk rock acts as they do with any variety rockabilly, psychedelic, or garage rock bands.

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Over the last few years, the girls have dropped one full length record, an early Burger Records tape, and contributed songs to several compilations including the recently released, awesome Water Under The Bridge Records cassette compilation, We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat: A San Pedro Compilation.  Across this small array of releases you can easily hear the qualities that make the band so endearing. Tunes like the playful, dancey jam, “La Playa,” to scorcher and foot stomper, “Oh Baby,” found on the band’s debut record, Las Chicas Del Bombón, are nearly impossible not to move your feet to. While songs like their radically surfed out cover of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” which the band playfully re-titled, “Duck Pond,” show off their ability to take on a twist other’s interesting material.

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Though it’s been a while since Bombón have put out anything, the ladies have been slowly trotting out a bunch of radical new material lately and discussing plans to get some of it recorded and released as soon as they can. By the looks of it 2014, might be a good year for those hoping for some new Bombón records to be spinning on their turntables.

However, in the meantime, the girls continue to play out as often as possible resulting in tighter, more consistent performances, an ever growing fan base, and the continued evolution and development of their sound and style.

As Southern California experiences something of an endless summer weather-wise, Bombón’s vintage sounds delivered with modern flare should give you the perfect sounds for your January beach parties.

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