Exclusive Streams

Surf’s Up: TOTALLY SLOW’s punk rock journey – new single & Punk Surf History playlist premiere!

3 mins read

‘Totally Slow, the crew shredding the lines between skate punk and melodic hardcore, just torched the scene with their new jam “Future Burns,” complete with a video that’s as raw as it is real.

Backing vocals from Shehehe’s Noelle Shuck jack up the intensity, while frontman Scott Hicks dishes on the tune as a deep dive into the psyche of power gone haywire, all spun up in a punk rock whirlwind.

Guitarist and vocalist Scott Hicks as “an existential field trip through the tortured mind of an omnipotent autocrat drowning under the weight of anxiety and obsolete tech,” the song serves as a sneak peek into their upcoming second LP with Ohio’s Refresh Records.

The single slices through the airwaves, resonating with fans of Hot Snakes and War On Women.

Totally Slow

With a spring tour on the horizon and their fourth LP ready to roll out, these North Carolina punks are repping their roots hard.  The band, now completed by Eddie Sanchez’s bass rhythms, merges melodic hardcore with a surf twist and a defiant punk attitude.

The band teamed up with us to drop a side gig too — “Punk Surf History 101,” a playlist that rips back to surf rock’s gritty dawn.

The playlist doesn’t just dwell in the past, though. It also nods to the present, highlighting bands like Teen Mortgage, who carry the torch of surf-infused punk into the modern era.

Hicks spins the saga from Dick Dale’s amp-busting riffs to the earworm twangs of The Ventures that first got his guitar heart pumping. And let’s not forget the punk revelation that hit him at the neighborhood half-pipe, where the raw cuts of DK and Agent Orange made it crystal clear: this is all one rad, raucous family tree.

“Late 50s and early 60s garage rock give a really cool glimpse into the origins of what evolved into more accessible forms of proletarian rock.” – he says.

“My radio was full of impossibly esoteric rockstars – those people didn’t even seem human to me. Old garage and surf records created a permission structure to just pick up a  instrument and bang on it without having any idea what I was doing.  Punk rock naturally flowed from that. It’s all “folk music” : For folks, by folks. The driving ethos of punk is that anyone can grab hold of it and build something. So that’s what we do. ”

This playlist opens at what most people consider to be the beginning of what “Surf” music is.

Dick Dale is credited with inventing the genre with “Let’s Go Tripping” in 1962. He was a surfer himself and was trying to recreate the vibe of that with a huge  rising and crashing sound – Leo Fender basically invented the “stacked amp” to help Dale push volume limits in a way we take for granted now. Basically, punk as fuck. Of course he had zero hits and isn’t in any Hall of Fame.” – continues Scott.

“Growing up, there were Ventures records around the house, and the first time I grabbed a guitar my dad grabbed his and taught me the rhythm chords for “Walk Don’t Run”. He played the lead part along with me and it was the first time I really HEARD music. Like oh wow these simple parts put together make this other very amazing thing. I’ve been obsessed with layering guitar parts ever since.”

Punk rock eventually found Hicks, echoing from the neighborhood half-pipe through the anthems of Dead Kennedys and Agent Orange, the latter of whom bridged the gap between surf and punk with covers of classics like “Mr Moto” and “Pipeline.”

This revelation – that punk and surf music were two sides of the same coin – became a guiding principle for Totally Slow.

“Everything old is new again. Everything touches everything else.  Check out how the Venture’s cover of “Walk Don’t Run” just goes effortlessly into “Moon over Marin.”  Then Southern CA stuff like the Adolescents and JFA starts happening and you get skate core, which like skateboarding itself, was very much a part of that cultural evolution. Pick it up, figure it out, make something.”

“In the early 90’s I was working at a record store and Estrus Records  had just formed.” – continues Scott.

“They were really leaning into bands who worshipped this stuff. Suddenly it was pretty much the coolest thing in the world to be almost cartoonishly retro. Man Or Astroman was the first band from that time who made records I fell in love with. Now I’m best friends with someone from that band and we’ve been fortunate to do some shows with them, as well as Agent Orange and Night Birds. ”

“I’m wrapping up the playlist with one of my favorite newer bands Teen Mortgage, who make full use of that simple, hyper-reverbed vibe these garage bands created 60 years ago. We’re playing with them in Chapel Hill on April 6.”

“There are  2  instrumental surf songs on our upcoming LP, which will be announced and available for pre-order next month on Refresh. A lot of the record really is trying to find new ways to fold that sound  in with more intense punk stuff, which brings us to “Future Burns”, a melodic anthem with that big layered guitar wall we are always chasing.”


Upcoming TOTALLY SLOW shows:

April 6 – Chapel Hill NC with Teen Mortgage & Death Lens
May 4 – Greensboro NC LP Release Party at Flat Iron with Shehehe
May 16 – Richmond VA at Banditos with Night!Night! And Talk Me Off
May 17 – Washington DC at Rhizome with Night!Night! And Palladists
May 18 – Baltimore MD at Holy Frijoles with Night!Night! And Meth Rats
May 26 – Chapel Hill NC at Local 506 for JAWS Fes

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

Previous Story

VISION ETERNEL’s “Echoes From Forgotten Hearts”: an in-depth journey through emotional landscapes of melogaze

Next Story

Baton Rouge metalcore act DECOY confronts themes of victim mentality and inner turmoil – new EP out now