Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Big Wave Ridersdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a solid compilation, with lots of tracks, virtually all of which are worth your time. many have a cowboy edge (it's a Texas label, after all), and others wash in other genres. Lots of surf for you, and some side trips too.
Picks: 85 Decibels - The Kraken, The Aquamarines - My Wonderful Shadow, The Bitch Boys - Pendleton Surf, Daikaiju - Daikaiju Die, The Explosives - Headhunter, The Fireballs - HarLeeGuitar, The Lava Rats - Exile In Mantua, Mister Neutron - Super Constellation, The Molly Maguires - Tenderizer, The Nematoads - Five Guns West, The Oranglers - Landwaster, Greg Peterson and the Decateurs - Theme From Third River, Pozor Vlak - Sun City, The Razorblades - Tiki Dog, Spy-Fi With Billy and the Bullets - Memory Burn, SteerS - WindJammers, The Stratford Survivors - Tunnel Of Love, The Surfdusters - Collateral Tears, The Surfites - Drag-u-la Beat, Da Surfones - Zona F, 3 Balls Of Fire - Chrome and Water, The Thurston Lava Tube - Let's Go Squirrel Fishing, The Tommys - Thruster, The Tube Sharks - Fiero

Track by Track Review


85 Decibels - The Kraken dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The tentacled ones are rising, and you're in danger. Well, maybe they just want to take you to dinner. "The Kraken" is an easy flowing number with moody bass and a delicate lead guitar. The rhythm guitar is dramatic in a quiet way, and the drums sophisticated. The track rises from its easy beginnings to a mid tempo surfer with a catchy melody riff. Quite nice, and it grows on you as it evolves.

The Aquamarines - My Wonderful Shadow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an interesting composition, influenced by Los Straitjackets and the Hank Marvin, but not like a clone. The melody is happy and the beat uplifting. "My Wonderful Shadow" is an original.

The Bitch Boys - Pendleton Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From a basic riff rock origination comes a great surf instro with a wonderful damped reverb verse amid a variety of verse styles. The frequent changes keep it very interesting. Lush and well done.

Daikaiju - Daikaiju Die dotdotdotdot
Art Surf (Instrumental)

A big whammy extra chunky metronomic melody riff and beat drive this aggressive rocker home. It's a changing track with an odd second part that's way more melodic and inviting than the main body of the song. The third part is a grand double picked epic that could stand alone, as could the beautifully fluid fourth part. The end is the same arrangement as the beginning. Fine track.

The Explosives - Headhunter dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Talk about bands with history! The Explosives were a major influence in Texas rock in the early eighties, and they later backed the legendary Roky Erickson. In intervening years, descendent bands like the Shakin' Apostles created some great sounds, and now they have come full circle with this superb instrumental. Tribal drums, jungle calls, big guitar, and great energy. "Headhunter" is simply a grand rock instrumental with cowboy edges and visions of surf.

The Fireballs - HarLeeGuitar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A double picked drone reminiscent of the rhythm line from Armageddon's "Buzzard" launches this intense country experience. Gutty and very cool, "HarLeeGuitar" has a motorcycle gang hoe-down feel.

The Lava Rats - Exile In Mantua dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Exile In Mantua" opens with a glissando to a flailing fast thrasher. Heavy "Dick Rock" for the beach. Mean and very dark

Mister Neutron - Super Constellation dotdotdotdot
Desert (Instrumental)

Spunky and rhythmic, with a real sense of you car with the top down on a highway through a cactus valley, and warm textures. Mister Neutron give lots of energy to this rocker, with reverb added and a very cool beat. With ample changes, "Super Constellation" bears repeated enjoyment.

The Molly Maguires - Tenderizer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tenderizer" is a traveling number with whammy chords and a sense of watery expanse. While the melody line is fairly simple, it's also pretty catchy. Circulating guitar lines and swimming pool whammy with a great bass and drums track.

The Nematoads - Five Guns West dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Haunted guitars and stereo throbbing with an image of great dry expanses and cabaleros. This very spacious track is quite effective at painting its picture, and its gentle flow just adds mystery and confidence. I like this a lot. "Five Guns West" washes you in throbbing echoes, which create a sense of expansive range land. The melody is cool and the mix strongly suggests a dreamscape adventure.

The Oranglers - Landwaster dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Dark feedback, drums, and bass open what becomes an angular and edgy double picked nerve wracker. Intense and sort of grating in an endearing way, "Landwaster" seems like it's flipping you off while inviting you in.

Greg Peterson and the Decateurs - Theme From Third River dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Theme From Third River" is a soft and easy guitar instrumental with a touch of surf sensibility, but mostly kinda jazzy. It's interesting and engaging, and fairly unusual, but not too memorable.

Pozor Vlak - Sun City dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pulsing and murky, this dark sounding track has an oddly uplifting rhythm and melody line. Only the wash of reverb makes it seem dark. "Sun City" is an aptly titled track.

The Razorblades - Tiki Dog dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tiki Dog" is surf all the way, flashy and solid, with a fine riff and tuff sound. There's an island feel, a curl crashing sense, and a bit of danger. Great composition!

Spy-Fi With Billy and the Bullets - Memory Burn dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

My my, what grooviness oozes from a cowboy's vision and islander's chords! Simple and easy to enjoy, with warm tone and a lurid edge. "Memory Burn" gives you an open road urge!

SteerS - WindJammers
Punk (Instrumental)

Dangerous punkoidal sound wash assault. It's both big and loud, and layered in an indistinct way. Industrial ugliness abounds.

The Stratford Survivors - Tunnel Of Love dotdotdot
Punk (Instrumental)

Bring on the frat party... a bit of howling feedback rises in the backwash, the punkoidal rhythm drives, and the melody never arrives. "Tunnel Of Love" is structured like party instros of the past, with party laughter and a frat rock progression. A fun track, but not something that keeps you listening.

The Surfdusters - Collateral Tears dotdotdotdot
Punk (Instrumental)

Organ whirl and weird guitar notes, along with rising cymbals create a haunted dungeon image. The lead guitar trembles with extreme tremolo as it lays out a simple progression. The shimmer and the eeriness make this work really well. Very nice.

The Surfites - Drag-u-la Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dracula's laugh, a Mission Impossible kind of back-riff, and very cool heavily reverbed lead guitar. "Drag-u-la Beat" is a splendid song with a dark sound and feel, and hot rods racing through the middle. The piano circulating i the middle adds a childlike quality, like the little girl in Frankenstein that gets tossed in the lake. Way cool!

Da Surfones - Zona F dotdotdot
Punk (Instrumental)

This track is highly unusual for Da Surfones, being dark and dirty and aggressive in an assaultive way. It's a very heavy and edgy track with a murky growl. Intense and dramatic.

3 Balls Of Fire - Chrome and Water dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Delicate damped surf plucking opens a very cool song that is readily identifiable as 3 Balls Of Fire. Spunky, moderately paced, intriguing, and spiced with double picked surf drones and darkness. "Chrome and Water" is more than unusual, with splashy whammy and a magnetic sound and power.

The Thurston Lava Tube - Let's Go Squirrel Fishing dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Organ swirl and silky guitar paint an island picture in harsh left-right pan. The melody is quite nice, but the melody is sometimes overcome by the keys. Still, its spy grooviness is compelling.

The Tommys - Thruster dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slicing and dicing a ten-foot face like a tri-fin, "Thruster" races across a mean wave of reverb and thrills. An excellent surf instrumental with lots of power and dashing flair. Too cool.

The Tube Sharks - Fiero dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fun cover of the nineties Fireballs tune. It has less bounce and spunk, but more smooth tone. Nicely damped, with suave whammy.