Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Beyond The Beachdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a solid compilation of mid nineties bands, containing material available on full CD's from these artists. There's nothing new here, but the selections are strong, and it makes for good listening, as well as a great intro to these artists.
Picks: Go!, Depth Charge, Drive Through At Molly's Ranch, Ocean Beach, Flash Flood, Spanish Blue, Bowling Ball Gardens, Mexi-Melt, Outbound, Global Village, Flesh Hammer, Volcano Juice, Tsunami, Twango, Nitrous Burnout, Spy Beach, Needles On The Beach, Straight Arrow [Davie's Theme], Shadow Land

Track by Track Review

Go! dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf riffs and a nifty hook, with a rhythmic and churning backtrack. The organ-guitar balance is pretty good.

Depth Charge dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just plain intense! It's the best recording/remix yet of a song that John has been doing for ever with his band. It has become thee Jon and the Nightriders' signature tune. John Blair's first self penned tune for the surf world, and like Danny Amis's "Calhoun Surf," it has become his signature tune, much requested by fans.

Drive Through At Molly's Ranch dotdotdotdot
Garage Rock (Instrumental)

Mighty big garage grind from Canada's mighty big instro maniacs. Thick fuzz driven riff rockin' intense power grodie feedback nasty pick slides... 'nuff said.

Ocean Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This early version of the Mermen's modern surf classic, by it's very juxtaposition against the most traditional tracks here, demonstrates the surf basis for the band's originals. It is not a huge step from here to their more prog oriented tracks, nor is it distant from their profoundly powerful covers of trad tunes either. Melodic, striking, and infectious. This tune has been covered by other surf bands, testifying to its power.

Flash Flood dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A reverb kick introduces this thick garage riff rockin' rage. It's minimalistic, slightly twisted, and weirdly effected (drum wise). Big dangerous and glissando driven.

Spanish Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets are another SF band on the move, with two CD's on Mesa Bluemoon / Atlantic and a new one on the way from BMG (RCA's parent). They are seasoned musicians. They focus on relaxed spaghetti western spy theme Spanish motif music destined for film scores. "Spanish Blue" is from their first album. They are pushing the envelope of what surf music is, adding new elements and experimenting with influences that shouldn't work but do. Great band. It's not often that Surf musicians are so accomplished that they relax on stage and completely captivate their audience with the shear beauty of their playing. I'm amazed at how they can capture the full attention of a whole room playing gentle melodic and perfect tunes. Highly recommended. Check out the CD's, and watch for their new album due shortly.

Bowling Ball Gardens dotdotdot

This stomp-on-demand tune is completely from the fun side of the house. The sax squirts and the rhythm thumps are perfect, while the lead guitar just sorta provides a bit of the old noodle. Energetic and fun.

Mexi-Melt dotdotdotdotdot
Modern Lover Taco Bell Surf (Instrumental)

One of their grandest tracks. The back beat is Jonathan Richman deluxe, and the surf guitar is way cool.

Outbound dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Tango (Instrumental)

Warm, reverby, with a cool Latin beat and a nifty melody line. It's a bit of a tango, and a tad surf. This band is long gone, but they left a legacy of tasty little numbers.

Global Village dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Euro almost "Telstar" feel, with the organ in the lead over a rhythmic backtrack. Not their most interesting, but one of their more unusual tracks. It is melodic and friendly.

Flesh Hammer dotdotdot
Athens Surf (Instrumental)

It's the only instro. It's surf based, but hardly pure, and much more Athens oriented than I'd prefer, but then they are from Athens, aren't they.

Volcano Juice dotdotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

King Fuzz himself (Davie Allan) lends his bike-o-phonic assault to "Volcano Juice," a towering number with a rolling bass line under a Bo Diddley tom tom cadence and a relentless building series of crescendos. This is the second best tune on the CD, an irrepressible monster! Very tribal and primitive!

Tsunami dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In Paul Johnson's eighties Christian Rock style, based largely on finger picking and Paul's exquisite balance between lead and rhythm, "Tsunami" is a stellar composition that rides at the edge of the genre, and sports fluid feelings and rhythmic pacing. It's also been titled "El Niño."

Twango dotdotdotdot
Suave Greco Surf (Instrumental)

Teisco Del Rey's own whammy smooth seducer, with low-E groove and Greco-Italian submarine shop picking. "Twango" is very friendly, and oozes Mediterranean cafe scenes. Wow.

Nitrous Burnout dotdotdot
Indianapolis Speedway Rock (Instrumental)

Speaking of exploding race cars and raspy engines, and riffola distortion. Intense and thick, howling and monstrous. Not melodic at all, but pretty darn mean.

Spy Beach dotdotdotdot
Espionage Surf (Instrumental)

"Spy Beach" is a weird blend of Euro spy and demented guitar. It is both pristine and nasty, riding the edge between espionage and nut house, if there is a difference. Melodic and fun.

Needles On The Beach dotdotdot
Post Modern Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and pretty, this tasty guitar instro from the studio legends is aquatic and endearing, moody and disarming.

Straight Arrow [Davie's Theme] dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a melody so much like Davie Allan's own it's scary, the Ultras delightfully drive towards the beach with a bitchin' track of no small dimension. Eric "Vanilla Sludge" Lenchner plays with a flair and sense of humor that is immediately recognizable. His background in the Readymades and at Maximum Louie Louie make him the perfect guitarist for your nightmares. Hats off to the man!

Shadow Land dotdotdot
Shadows Country (Instrumental)

Like you thought, it's Shadows all the way. Duane Eddy meets Hank Marvin at the studio for an "instant hit" session. Uninspired, though precise with nice tones. Countrified ale and bangers.