Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: The Empire Surf's Back
|This is an odd mp3 comp, with a wide variety of tracks. It's interesting to me that such disparate tracks are collected together. One error is the listing of Brian Tyler's- "Dueling Guitars" as by The Red Elvises, which belies the comp as a probable bootleg. Both artists are on the Six-String Samurai soundtrack.|
Picks: The Astronauts [German] - Alien Baba, Bomber - Mexican Highway, The Challengers - Duck Waddle, The Cocktail Preachers - Albatross Joe, The Fathoms - Fathomized, The Huntington Cads - Mr. Midnight, Man or Astro-MAN? - Clean Up On Aisle #9 (Turn Up The Monitors), The Pixies - Cecilia Ann, Planet Seven - Young And Useless, Pollo Del Mar - Insecticide, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - Lover Please, Satan's Pilgrims - Beach Creep, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Peas Porridge Rock, Southern Culture On The Skids - Rumors Of Surf, The Space Cossacks - Escape From Gulag 17, Los Straitjackets - Surf Rider, Brian Tyler - Dueling Guitars, The Ventures - Barefoot Venture
Track by Track Review
The Astronauts [German] - Alien Baba
"Alien Baba" is actually Dave and The Customs' "Ali Baba."
There's just one word for this... THROBBING! It's big, vibrato driven, mean, nasty, and, dare I say it... throbbing! Fuzz guitar, evil vibrato, and ultra heavy tone. The contrast established between the ringing guitar and the fuzz is excellent. Thick and dangerous.
The Bomboras - Knuckle Dragger
This is an organ lead number that is little more than a riff-jam with bits of "Shortnin' Bread."
The Breeders - Flipside
"Flipside" is pretty dull, with thick guitars and a so-so melody riff. Kinda punky, kinda filler sounding.
The Challengers - Duck Waddle
This silly tune is one of those numbers that recalls the grin on Paul Johnson's face when I saw him do this with the Belairs. He relished the silliness of both the song and the title. Happy is the operative term. This is from the Good Guys album, or very similar.
The Cocktail Preachers - Albatross Joe
"Albatross Joe" is one fast chunky number, like a minor Surf Trio thing with edgy guitar and tenacious energy, plus some nasty double picking.
Combustible Edison - Kids Watch TV
Cheesy organ and surfish guitar playing a friendly springtime melody. Not particularly interesting, but kinda fun. Much to fabricated, easy listening, loungy for me.
This is the highly rhythmic successor to the "Fathomless" thrown. Very infectious, and very cool. Miles above the pack, magnetic, and sporting power surge glissandos, as well as a growling Steve Douglas-like sax break. Wonderful track.
The Galaxy Trio - In Like Flint
Fuzz Surf (Instrumental)
High powered but not particularly interesting. Great howling feedback in the opening. Driven but repetitious.
The Huntington Cads - Mr. Midnight
"Mr. Midnight In Lunar Limbo" is vibrato heavy, moody, and shimmery. It trembles in sultry tremolo. Very pretty.
Man or Astro-MAN? - Clean Up On Aisle #9 (Turn Up The Monitors)
A decent melody riff with crunchy sound and solid energy. Some parts are pretty intense, and there's quite a bit of power here.
The Neptunas - Double-0 Seafoam
Surf Spy (Instrumental)
This has to be a graduation piece for my favorite three surf bunnies the Neptunas. Their "Double-0 Seafoam" is very well played and nicely recorded. I think it retains their wonderful innocence, and also brings them up a solid step from lo-fi.
The Phantom Surfers - Orbitron
Pumping lo-fi jam surf with unabashed drums and guitars. "Orbitron" is distorted and nasty, and very jammy like a frat instro with reverb.
Crunchy commercially viable rendition of the Surftones obscuro. Changes the character a lot, from a light melodic thing to a heavy crunchy broody piece. Very nice.
Planet Seven - Young And Useless
Space Crunch Surf (Instrumental)
Space howling Theremin, surf guitar brilliance, and grindy rhythm guitar are the unlikely bedfellows the create this fine track, thick with edge and power without assaulting speed. Powerful and haunting.
Pollo Del Mar - Insecticide
Written in honor to The Insect Surfers, this masterful track features Pollo Del Mar's trademark dueling guitars, something the Insects also widely use. The guitars are intense, and the desert mysteriously appears in your mind's eye as you bath in the soundscape. Gettin' air off a snowboard racing down a sand dune just barely avoiding the major scuffing a wipe out would deliver. Wow!
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - Lover Please
Clyde McPhatter's hit (written by Billy Swan) is turned into an atypical Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers instro - it's rather polished and clean. A spirited rock jam on a superb song.
Satan's Pilgrims - Beach Creep
This is inspired by "Midnight Run" in the opening, but loses ground by leaning heavily on a basic riff. The surf tones are great, and some of the picking is pretty spiffy. Overall, it works fine. The song sports chunk and an organ, and a surfy lead melody. A little Super Stocks like, a little garage pop, a little "Whittier Blvd." in the progression, and a little infectious. Also called "Beach Creep."
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Peas Porridge Rock
Muted echoed guitar plays a melody with substantial debt owed to "Mr. Moto," including the whammy. It's morphed quite a bit, but it is very hard not to think of Paul Johnson's signature tune. Solid and fun.
Southern Culture On The Skids - Rumors Of Surf
"California Sun" drums play underneath a fine surf guitar melody. Brooding and double picked, with a charming vibrato break augmented with the vocal hollering of Mary Huff. Very fun track.
The Space Cossacks - Escape From Gulag 17
Russian Space Surf (Instrumental)
Inspired by the Atlantics, "Escape From Gulag 17" is a mighty tasty example of the Aussie surf sound, though of course they are not from down under. Beautiful playing, fine tone, melodic and fluid, this is warm and friendly, and enjoyable.
Los Straitjackets - Surf Rider
The masked marauders of the Nashville instro scene have delivered one spot-on performance of the Lively Ones' classic rendition of the Ventures potato epic. There is only a slight shift required to get from the standard crisp instro sound of Los Straitjackets to the vintage sound of the Lively Ones. Very trad, and very well played.
Brian Tyler - Dueling Guitars
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)
This is a surfy pounder, with heavy metal lead licks and cool grode bass lines. A nice blend of incongruous sounds.
The Ventures - Barefoot Venture
Fuzz and surf in a fairly typical fifties format, sax break and all. It's infectious in a neighborhood surf band kinda way, with chunky rhythm and lots of fun. The feel is a little like a softer Nobles track.