Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|15 Tracks from 15 bands, almost all previously released on CD, or at least vinyl, some from deceased bands, and much lo-fi. As a collection, it's pretty consistent. For ground breaking or new material, it's a bust. The high points are few, with Los Straitjackets' "Calhoun Surf," the Fathoms' "Fathomless," and the Boss Martians' "XK-E" at the top of the list. If you're a lo-fi fan and want to enter the surf realm, this is for you. If you're looking for the best new surf as your entry point, don't waste your time or money.|
Picks: The Boardwalkers - It's A Bikini World, The Boss Martians - XK-E, The Daytonas - Surfer's Deal, Sir Bald Diddley and his Right Honourable Big Wigs - Chaeto, The Fathoms - Fathomless, The Hillbilly Soul Surfers - Renegade, Laika and the Cosmonauts - Surf's You Right, The Royal Knightmares - The Hipster, Southern Culture On The Skids - Rumors Of Surf, Los Straitjackets - Calhoun Surf, The Untamed Youth - Tube City
Track by Track Review
The Boardwalkers - It's A Bikini World
A simple progression and an infectious performance make for a pretty cool track. The damped lead lines are most pleasing. The Boardwalkers have long been a band I've hoped would get into a good recording situation, because their material and delivery have always been great, but their releases have suffered from poor production and recording. This is among their better technical efforts.
The Bomboras - Time Bomb
Near-mono warehouse sound, distant, with an organ lead, all adds up to a boring unmelodic frat song.
"XK-E" original melody is strong. This infectious track is rhythmic and bouncy, and sports optimism galore. This is perhaps the definitive Boss Martians song. Totally excellent.
The Daytonas - Surfer's Deal
"Surfer's Deal" is a pretty solid surf tune, original and energetic. Good riffs, and arranging. You have to listen past the muddy ambient sound to get in there, but they are likely much better live than recorded this way.
Sir Bald Diddley and his Right Honourable Big Wigs - Chaeto
A fifties sorta rocker with Baldy's double picked lead lines. Cool and trashy. Sir Bald Diddley and his Right Honourable Big Wigs have been inactive for quite a while, being replaced by the also expired the new band called the Wig Outs. Fast and furious, from 95.
Totally infectious... rhythm oriented with killer tone and nice changes in both arrangement and tonality to keep it going. This is the stuff of great cruising music. I have trouble playing other tracks from this CD, not because they don't shred, but because this is so totally grand!
The Hillbilly Soul Surfers - Renegade
Hot!! Guitar is in your face, and the tune is quite cool. A real nice surf stomper. "Renegade" is more surfy than most of their tracks.
Jackie and the Cedrics - Scalping Party
Jackie and the Cedrics are a Japanese lo-fi frat rant that has issued several singles, and been included on a few Japanese CD compilation (Hodge Podge Barrage etc.). High spirits in the performance is their hallmark, as is marginal sound quality. Moderately interesting.
Laika and the Cosmonauts - Surf's You Right
Shreddin' ska backed raging surf, with screams of joy sprinkled in, and a bridge that's unique and out of this world. Melodic, low-E growling, spiffy glissandos, and even a tiny bit of the old double pick.
The Phantom Surfers - Sloth In Molasses
The stereo here is very strange - some accented guitar parts shout out and detract from the mix, which isn't that great to begin with. The tune is pretty cool, fast and furious, though not too melodic. From 1996
The Royal Knightmares - The Hipster
One vibrato guitar and a double picking guitar combine with a simple lead line to produce a nice track, good enough to overcome the bad recording.
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.
Los Straitjackets - Calhoun Surf
Danny Amis' first ever composition (from his days with his first band the Overtones ) rocks mightily. His fluid melody and happy charm bounce with a grinning gate and excellent surf credentials. Infectious rhythm and great drums.
The Trashwomen - Aphrodesia (sp.)
The long dead Trashwomen are captured with a really bad recording doing a high powered performance. Elka's guitar is great, as always. Not remarkable.
The Untamed Youth - Tube City
A decent cover of the Trashmen classic album cut, not remarkable. From 1992.