Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Better Than The Average Weekend
|Better Than The Average Weekend is a tribute to Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, the Canadian band that is best known for their theme to the HBO / Comedy Central television series Kids In the Hall. This CD displays very good performances by 22 different artists, all worth your time. Most reverently tip a hat to the tributees, while some take considerable license, messing around on sacred ground. Mighty fine release. It's particularly pogniant with the recent passing of Shadowy bassist Reid Diamond.|
Picks: Good Cop Bad Cop, Zombie Compromise, Shake Some Evil, Egypt Texas, Customized, Harlem By The Sea, Having An Average Weekend, Reid's Situation, Aunt's Invasion, Hot Box Car, Jackpot, Ben Hur Picked Off In A Gazebo, Siesta Cinema, Unwatchable / Three Piece Suit, That Wuz Ear Me Callin' A Horse, Spy School Graduation Theme, Mecca, Algoma Reflections, Peas Porridge Rock / You Spin Me Round '86, They Don't Call Them Chihuahuas Any More, Off Our Back Conrad Black, Memories Of Gay Paree
Track by Track Review
Big Guitar (Instrumental)
Canada's Heatscores open this tribute with one of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet's best tracks. They are the perfect band to do this up big. Their gnarly feedback and plundering thunder and vibrato rips this asunder. Totally cool!
Cactus Horror Twang (Instrumental)
The Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet song all crunched up with big twang and fun... an adventure in horror negotiations.
The Mulchmen do this sad detectivist Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet song in a moody and skulking in the shadows manner. Big drama and minimal complexity. Very nice.
The Insect Surfers (one of the great treasures of American music) do wonderful chunky and fluid things with this groovy number. Their deluxe twin guitar guitar assault delightfully pours this deluxe tune into the bowl of your living room. A great sound for this song, and it was captured "live" in the studio, warts and all. Extra cool!
Houston's Unknown crank out a relentless rendering... it's grindy and full, and even a little playful.
Sub Surf (Instrumental)
Earl Hagen's ultra cool "Harlem By The Sea" gains an extra degree of suave as the Neptones make nice with the bachelor groove and exotic ska rhythms. Really fun.
Having An Average Weekend
Sub Surf (Instrumental)
There's just not enough available from Dirk Doom and the Overdrive Orchestra. This is refreshingly done, surfy, yet reverent to Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. Interesting treatment. It's less in your face, yet bigger and rounder. The arrangement works well. The drum machine is pretty strange.
Gothic MOR Surf (Instrumental)
Funny how well this plays... The cheesy organ and the light arrangement are complimented by the rich guitar tone. Crisp and playful, "Reid's Situation" is well adapted by Spy-Fi as they bring an almost gothic air to the bridge.
Long overdue for some new Sandblasters material. "Aunt's Invasion" is driven by the guitar and drums, with playful yet dangerous tones. Big twang and reverb, fanciful flights of sound and fury... a fine track!
Demented Surf (Instrumental)
To quote John Blair on a completely different subject, "Oh my gawd!" Completely unexpected, Derf Zorr and Stella grind out what has to be the most demented guitar torture I've heard in a while. Twisted tones and notes, delays and echoes, and what sounds to be almost bowed... too cool!
Bass Solo (Instrumental)
Squid Vicious' bassist does a glorious interpretation on his instrument... distortions, self-accompaniment, and a groovy flow. It's both minimal and disturbed, smooth and angular.
Ben Hur Picked Off In A Gazebo
It's been a while since I've heard anything from Popdefect. Angular tone and big twang drive this home. Short at under a minute.
The amazing Deoras do an absolutely splendid version of one of my fave Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet songs. Bouncy and warm, surfy and extra cool with the exotic percussion. "Siesta Cinema" plays on warm sands adjacent to sparkling waters. very fine!
Unwatchable / Three Piece Suit
One of the most original acts on the surf scene, the Mill Valley Taters make big fun with "Unwatchable / Three Piece Suit" as they move from tweaky keys to grindy guitar chunk and slightly deranged rhythms. I can't believe how fun this is. The Hawkwind style electro effects at the end are a nice touch.
That Wuz Ear Me Callin' A Horse
Big and ugly, plundering and plodding. It has the same kinda magnetism as Snake-Out's "Feedback In Dm," but is more flippant because it actually uses a riff. Nasty. Breakfastime is a pseudonym for Squid Vicious' producer.
Spy School Graduation Theme
Nerd Rock (Instrumental)
"Spy School Graduation Theme" is brilliantly revamped by Squid Vicious. Whirring theremin and groovy noises permeate this unpretentious romp through the nerd fields. Totally fun.
Surf Lounge (Instrumental)
"Mecca" is rhythmic and fluid, not exactly middle eastern, but exotic and nicely written. It has very pleasing melody line, and a solid arrangement. The vibes lead sound and Latin groove backtrack add up to one slushy track with lots of party goodness. A little more guitar and a little less drums in the mix, and it would be perfecto mundo!
Cactus Surf (Instrumental)
Those amazing cow-twangin' Sadies deliver a finely crafted semi-cowboy rendering of "Algoma Reflections" with warmth and style. With melody similarities to "Runaway" played so sweetly on lap steel, the Sadies have created a very fine sound. It shimmers, it shines, it whines, and it loves you to listen. Absolutely gorgeous.
Peas Porridge Rock / You Spin Me Round '86
The Surfdusters make "Peas Porridge Rock / You Spin Me Round '86" shine. The round surf tones and organ swirl combine these two songs into a fine mesh of surfari adventure and Baja sun. This is a very fine track, with a sparkling infectious sound and dribbling optimism.
They Don't Call Them Chihuahuas Any More
Surf and Groove (Instrumental)
Another great track here from the Fabulous Planktones. "They Don't Call Them Chihuahuas Any More" bounces and swings with unusual percussion and an adventurous pace. Totally fun surf and groove.
Off Our Back Conrad Black
Garage Surf (Instrumental)
Sawney Bean are a relatively unknown surf act of considerable edge. They drive "Off Our Back Conrad Black" hard, with distorto overdrive and power drums. Thundering and harsh with too much coffee. Lots of power here, especially as it comes to a screaming crescendo just before dropping into entropy.
Garage Surf (Instrumental)
Exotic chords shimmer in a middle eastern motif as the song develops into a melodically plucked pleaser. Fanciful and bouncy, "Memories Of Gay Paree" is a fine vehicle through which the Urban Surf Kings display their wares. Quite tasty.