Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Austin Transit Authority (A*T*A) - Surf*Dance*Rockabilly*turbomachinedotdotdotdot
artworkThe Austin Transit Authority issued a fine demo a while back. The music was thrilling and energetic. Much of that material is here, rerecorded "live to DAT" recently. The musical content here is mostly quite good, though some tracks need less showmanship and more melody. As to the recording, the drums are too loud and ambient for my taste, and the guitar too low in the mix. Jay Hector's mastering has taken this recording as far as it can go from it's ambient roots. Having said that, I found this to be a solid release, a journey into neighboring country, where surf is revered but not held sacred. It's unfortunate that the band is now defunct.
Picks: Bock's Car, Meal Plan Mayhem, Elliot's Turbomachine, Stevie Washington (Born To Die), Traveling Incognito, Los Bomberos Borachos, Cannibals, Stuck In La Jolla, Lock 'N' Load, Hwy. 290, La Pomodorina Di Finale, Surf: Ovomboland

Track by Track Review


Bock's Car dotdotdotdot
Atomic Surf (Instrumental)

Following a vintage atomic era piece of military propaganda about how safe atomic blasts are for the troops in the field, a monstrous double picked gradual up-glissando yields to a rockabilly rhythm under a powerful melodic tune. It's a low-E minor key thing with an ominous edge and a post Link Wray kinda raw energy. A very strong track which ends suddenly with an interruptive radio message warning of a shift in the wind bringing a fall out cloud overhead, but not to worry, just stay indoors and there will be no danger... uh, yeah, right. Your tax dollars at work.

Meal Plan Mayhem dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Lunch will not be the same after the guitar grinds up the pabulum tray. Not very melodic, but definitely growl driven.

Elliot's Turbomachine dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Slinky suave evil guitar growls, vibratoed chord danger, and a scary melody line over a lumbering rhythm section give this track one scary edge. The guitar work is exceptionally interesting, transcending the limited melody by creating a powerful aura of danger.

Stevie Washington (Born To Die) dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Throbbing vibrato guitar delivering a familiar riff with intensity and edge. Nice and hot.

Traveling Incognito dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Throbbing Spanish influenced whammy, swimming in evil edge and fine delicate damped fills. This is a pretty darn hot track musically, with little more than a riff, but it's very effective. The pluckery keeps it interesting.

Los Bomberos Borachos dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

This reminds me quite a bit of what might have happened if Armageddon had written an instro instead of their nerve wracking masterpiece "Buzzard." High tension nervous edge and drive, and a minimal melody with double picked lines and a rockabilly feel.

Cannibals dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Tribal drums, pick slide jungle sounds, natives chanting in a foreign tongue, and a ton of suave swimming power whammied for power, with deep low-E double picked transitions. Very powerful and dark.

Stuck In La Jolla dotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

What a weird tune this is, with it's slide riff, occasional glissandoes, random guitarology... it seems disjointed. I found it hard to listen to, though it does have a strange kind of chicken bop mentality that give it a come-here-go-away feel. The cowbell is cool. Think surfin' poultry.

Lock 'N' Load dotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

This is surfabilly, heavier on the billy than the surf. Mighty fun and infectious, with big sound and harmonic neck wringing. Cool.

Hwy. 290 dotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

It's not "Route 66" or surf route 101. It is a tribal chunk number, riff driven and like Link Wray in the jungle. Big deep whammy, plenty of fun pickin' and filigrees, but lacking a melody. Still, it's interesting enough to make muster.

La Pomodorina Di Finale dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Like a Mexican cantina that features cannelloni, this very pretty number reminds me of some of the Farina brothers' writing, a bit of the Buddy Merrill styling, and slinky Latin quarter sensuality. A nice tune, moody, mystical, and smooth. Like a Jim Thomas construction, this moodily meanders through some interesting guitar tones and shimmering delicate melody ideas, displaying island visions and wahine sway.

Surf: Ovomboland dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Big low-E surf guitar leads and percussive rhythms blend into a semi Spanish setting, before yielding to a chunky crunchy section. Energetically like "Bock's Car," this thrives on surf and chili.