The first 2017 release I've heard is a really good one! Surf Cassette is a trio from Milan, Italy doing a super cool mix of garage, surf, and pop. The band's self-titled debut release came out last week via Bandcamp, and it's a free download that's well worth checking out. I love the idea of an Italian band in 2017 finding inspiration in "waves, Californian girls, dreams and seasides". These guys have a minimalist/lo-fi aesthetic that definitely falls under the garage umbrella, but at heart they're a melody-driven pop band. Leadoff track "Wasted" is surprisingly unlike the rest of the tracks - coming on with big crunching power pop moves and a killer chorus. But starting with second track "Lust For Life", the band really settles into a dreamy/beachy/surfy groove that channels the Beach Boys via the Jesus and Mary Chain. The harmonies on "Mess In My Head" and "Rebel" are spot-on, and overall the quality of the songwriting is top-notch. I like how the band can go from an attitude-laced rocker such as "Maybe I'm Not Sober" (reminiscent of early '90s punky Brit-pop) right into a song as sparse and pretty as "Summer's End". Every aspect of the production of this album took place in the band's rehearsal space, and such simplicity suits these songs very well. Having had so many wonderful experiences with Italian bands over the years, I must say I've encountered another winner in Surf Cassette!