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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2020 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 2, 2015 | Innovative Leisure

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Rock - Released January 1, 2018 | Innovative Leisure

Hailing from Long Beach, California, Tijuana Panthers conjure up a lo-fi cloud of surf guitar, garage rock melodies, and punk rock minimalism on their third full-length album, 2014's Wayne Interest, that rare album that makes a virtue of the fact it sounds as if it was recorded in someone's acoustically untreated basement. Anyone who has heard enough D.I.Y. garage and surf singles from the '60s will recognize the production style Richard Swift has applied to this material, although it was probably achieved at significantly greater expense than the long lost bands these folks are emulating. Despite the echoey, slightly smeary audio, Chad Wachtel's reverb-laden guitar sounds authentic and solidly rockin', while bassist Daniel Michicoff and drummer Phil Shaheen generate a powerful backbeat shuffle behind these tunes, which are often informed by a tongue-in-cheek wit as these guys joyously anticipate being fired, recall the glories of radio in 1989, and ponder the joys and terrors of visiting the doughnut shop (though the muddy vocal mix doesn't make the lyrical messages especially clear). Tijuana Panthers are capable of taking on something darker, as "Torpedo" and "Car Crash" demonstrate, but this band honestly seems to be more about sound than messages here, and the sound is solid and effective enough that Wayne Interest works. Of course, the album would work even better if the sounds were matched with stronger melodies, as Tijuana Panthers have a hard time coming up with tunes quite as memorable as their guitar tones. At their best, Tijuana Panthers come up with a sound rough and scrappy enough that it gestures strongly to the past without sounding like an exercise in misplaced nostalgia, but the songs aren't as satisfying as one might hope, and it's hard not to hope these guys can rein in a more distinctive songwriter before making album number four. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 5, 2016 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 12, 2019 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 17, 2020 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 29, 2020 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 8, 2019 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 28, 2015 | Innovative Leisure

Just a little more than a year separated Wayne Interest, the third album from Long Beach, California's Tijuana Panthers, and its follow-up, 2015's Poster, and as unlikely as it may sound, you can hear genuine growth in this band during the 14 months between the two records. The lo-fi production that helped to give Wayne Interest its retro sound has been traded in for a more precise approach, with noticeably greater clarity in the engineering, a smaller amount of room echo, and vocals that rise above the instruments most of the time (though the higher fidelity also reveals the clunky tone of Daniel Michicoff's bass when it rises to the front of the mix). Also, while this band was peddling a ménage of surf music and garage rock on their previous albums, Poster boasts a stronger attack that recalls the straightforward assault of old-school punk rock, and guitarist Chad Wachtel sounds forceful and confident on Poster, though he's still making fine use of the reverb tank and twangy picking that were his friends on their earlier albums, with the surf influences still clearly present if less prominent. And the lyrics have more bite on Poster; the message to a nemesis on "Trujillo," the sketch of youthful boredom on "Front Window Down," and the jaded ennui of "I Hate Saturday Nights" are smarter and more incisive than what one may have expected from Tijuana Panthers, and add to the feel that this band is growing past updated surf rock into something more eclectic and ambitious. If Poster suggests Tijuana Panthers have gained a lot of stylistic ambition in a year, it's daunting to imagine how far they'll have gone in 2020 if they keep growing at this rate. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 12, 2019 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 28, 2013 | Innovative Leisure

Blasting off the coast of Long Beach like a hurricane, Tijuana Panthers filter early Beach Boys surf rock and Buddy Holly melodies through Gories-styled garage rock instrumentation to make a good, fun time out of punk rock revival. While fully rollicking and sung with a wink, there is nothing snide or sinister about the trio's music. It's simple lo-fi rock & roll, powered by the excitement of young blood, with guitars that sound like they are played cleanly through a battered amp's spring reverb, rather than overdriven by pedals. On Tijuana Panthers' sophomore outing, Semi Sweet, the recording sounds poorly miked and loud and the playing is purposely ramshackle, but lyrically and thematically, these songs could have been written by the bands in their parents' record collections. Lines like "We could go to the mall, we could go to the park/But I really have to be home right after dark," from the sweet, unrefined "Sunday," the overwhelmingly shy "Will you make the first move/I'm so nervous I can't move" from the Drifters' doo wop-styled "Boardwalk," and "Me, mom, and dad, playin' with my sis" from the jangling "Baby I'm Bored" are filled with wholesome '50s sentiments, even if they tend to get shouted a little bit louder than the sock-hop tunes they were patterned after. Guitarist Chad Wachtel, bassist Daniel Michicoff, and drummer Phil Shaheen all take turns on lead vocals, giving the album a varied feel from song to song, but the trio's chemistry and ability to craft the perfect singalong hook hold it all together and keep the entertainment value high, despite the low production value. © Jason Lymangrover /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released June 26, 2019 | Innovative Leisure

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 26, 2016 | Innovative Leisure

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Rock - Released January 1, 2008 | Toy Records