Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Great Lakes Surf Battle 3dotdotdot
artworkThis is a very interesting release, put together solely for the 3rd annual Great Lakes Surf Battle, interesting because of the number of bands that are otherwise unheard outside local live performances and MySpace. Some of these tracks go back quite a ways, others are brand new, and most are very much demos, yet all tease you. Some really good songs, fiery performances, and original ideas.
Picks: The Aquaholics - Super Bee, The Blue Demons - Nice Tits, Cougar Country, Pussy Whipped, Beatnik Bandit, The Burnin' Sands - Typhoon, Big Boss, The Calrizians - Call Me Evil, The Eradicators - Love Or Money, Friends & Enemies, Whistling In The Desert, The Lorrainas - Rectified, The Reverb Syndicate - Lunar Attack, The Robots - Ride The Surf, Stinky Juliens, Robots Rock, Tabernacos Surfers - Hot Rod, The Treblemakers - Exploding Bikers From Hochelaga, The Dentures In Space, The Von Drats - Malaguena, Church Key, Wild Weekend, The Z Rays - Number Nine

Track by Track Review

The Aquaholics - Super Bee dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Super Bee" reminds me of a couple of the early Penetrators numbers, with its nervous high speed guitar melody line. This song commands attention, if for no other reason than it's power to make you feel anxious.

The Blue Demons - Nice Tits dotdotdot
Garage Rock (Instrumental)

Big twang whammy and grumbly bass ride above boss drums as the guitar's melody flows. The bridges sport a very liquid melody line, while the main riff is more rock-instro oriented, with garagy edge.

The Blue Demons - Cougar Country dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Abrasive in the red sound fits well with this aggressive riff rocker. It's loud and obnoxious, with some flair.

The Blue Demons - Pussy Whipped dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lo-fi demo sound captures a raucous performance of a very surfable number. "Pussy Whipped" is part surf and part rock, with spiffy glissandos and a surf riff, but elements of rock instro and harsh tone.

The Blue Demons - Beatnik Bandit dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Likely named for Ed Roth's splendid joy stick controlled and beautifully sculpted hot rod, "Beatnik Bandit" shreds dangerously in a harsh demo sound. More jammy than I usually like, but there's something compelling going here!

The Burnin' Sands - Typhoon dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Typhoon" has a circulating riff that's slightly spyish, and a structure that's unusual, yet it seems pretty jammy. That said, it does convey the relentless nature of nervous energy that an impending typhoon suggests. Relatively ambient.

The Burnin' Sands - Big Boss dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What an interesting composition. A highly original bass line and drum cadence, and a truckload of dissonant twin note chimes. "Big Boss" isn't melodic, but then it wouldn't work if it was. It's more nervous, maybe ominous, and definitely uneasy. Great ideas here.

The Calrizians - Call Me Evil dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark throbbing moods and angry chords use a progression to create a sense of danger, while the melody line sweeps you along with a more fluid sense of optimism than the Blondie original. The almost morose break borders on metal darkness without giving in to its tonality. This is very cool!

The Eradicators - Love Or Money dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Love Or Money" is a big number with an excellent riff and lots of dramatic power. While on the trashy demo side, "Love Or Money" definitely commands attention. The raw intensity here is unmistakable.

The Eradicators - Friends & Enemies dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Eradicators deliver a dark and heavy twangster with menacing double picked lines and bent string danger. "Friends & Enemies" is intense and powerful, and portrays a bad day on the break. The drums are ambient and dry, but they sure do drive this.

The Eradicators - Whistling In The Desert dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big spaghetti western twango and splendid western imagery. While the drums are too upfront demo sounding, the song is superbly written, and the glissandos very cool. Very strong.

The Lorrainas - Rectified dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A very intense and angry rock instro assault would be a gentle way of describing "Rectified," which seems early punk inspired. Big and abrasive.

The Reverb Syndicate - Lunar Attack dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Reverb Syndicate charges through a splashy song with a solid melody and dribbling double picked notes. The break is single picked cool and on the pretty side. "Lunar Attack" is a well written piece with real surf appeal.

The Robots - Ride The Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a dark number with menacing drums and ominous bass. The big reverb twang of the lead is whammy accented and, while hovering around a repetitious pattern, it sure does get your attention. "Ride The Surf" is quite something. I'd sure like to hear more from The Robots.

The Robots - Stinky Juliens dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Brooding double picked danger and muted charm, with big whammy chords and swirling dark green water ominously engulfing the rocks. "Stinky Juliens" is a power surf number with a cool melody and power. The midsection employs the main riff from Lee Hazelwood's "Movin'."

The Robots - Robots Rock dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Following some sampled stuff, The Robots power into rich dark surf tone. Gad-zooks, "Robots Rock" sure is boss! This is in many ways a jam, but it shreds surf and sports great whammy dipped notes. A monster!

Tabernacos Surfers - Hot Rod dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Hot Rod" starts off from a rising pattern, and carries it throughout, except in the breaks, where great glissandos and chords rule. The burning rubber and screaming engines meander throughout the track.

The Treblemakers - Exploding Bikers From Hochelaga dotdotdotdot
Biker Fuzz (Instrumental)

Some biker fuzz a la Davie Allan, some speedy iron thunder, and a well written melody line. The lead and keyboard are playing a duet, which creates an interesting paradoxical feel via the contrast between the biker fuzz lead and the whistling sixties organ. What I wanna know is, do the bikers explode on purpose, or are the Treblemakers blasting the two wheeled invaders, and where the hell is Hochelaga.

The Treblemakers - The Dentures In Space dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The obvious parody of the Ventures' album title misleads you to expect the octogenarian stiffness so often displayed on stage by the aging statesmen of instro rock, but alas the Treblemakers pound and wail. A swirling duel between the lead and organ sets up a more garage feel and an intense ride through the milky way.

The Von Drats - Malaguena dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Based on the Trashmen version of Ernesto Lecuona's "Malaguena," this richly reverbed recording is all about the surf. The organ is sufficiently low in the aural blend. On the trashy side recording wise, but very period correct.

The Von Drats - Church Key dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dan Darnold's "Church Key" is surf trash cool in a more or less Trashmen vein, with organ added. While a straightforward cover, it hits the right buttons for the frat surf crowd.

The Von Drats - Wild Weekend dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slow and reverbed out version of The Rockin' Rebels' "Wild Weekend." The organ carries the melody, but it's the muted surf guitar's pattern that gives it the chunk.

The Z Rays - Number Nine dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Number Nine" is a strong rock instro with a pair of guitars often playing the same line, or slightly different lines in opposite corners. A think, heavy, genuine rock sound delivers the goods.