Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Instrumental Firedotdot
artworkFor the most part, if you're just getting into instrumentals, this will introduce you to the lesser side of the genre. If you're heavily into it, most of this has been out before, and many of these bands have done better. If you are a hard core Los Straitjackets fan, their track makes this a must because it is unavailable elsewhere. The liner notes are sparse, and contain errors of the Johnny-come-lately to instro type. The production values range from great sound [Los Straitjackets & Tiki Tones] to garbage sound [Bomboras & Tiki Men]. Too many covers and many are not the better tracks from these bands. I'd recommend adding it to your library if you're a completist, otherwise pass.
Picks: The Cave 4 - High Wall, The Fathoms - Blandingo, Four Piece Suit - Kolme Kitaara, Los Straitjackets - Spanish Fly, The Tiki Tones - Sneaky Tiki, The Vice Royals - El Camino

Track by Track Review


Eddie Angel - Brawl dotdot
Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Eddie is a GREAT player. He can perform in any arena. His work with Los Straitjackets is brilliant. He has this other side... an interest in raw 50's instros and that primitive Link Wray sound. Most of the folks in the lo-fi groove seem to be using it to cover limited playing and writing. Eddie uses it to recreate the local-only singles of the nuclear nightmare decade, the kind of records issued in Alabama or Kansas and chronicled on the legendary white label. This number is a low-down Link-like tune, with Link's characteristic simplicity and basic hook. The big difference between this [and Link's stuff] and the rest of the lo-fi issues [like the Lord Hunt track] is that it has a basic quality about it that grabs you despite/because-of the repetition. It's like the difference between hypnotic and boring. If it were a bit less lo-fi, it would be a pick, but it just doesn't work for Surf's Up! Never the less, I like it just fine.

The Bomboras - Forbidden Planet dot
Lounge Surf Space (Instrumental)

An interesting spacy intro leads to a very lo-fi ambiently recorded organ number that bored me from the get-go. The intro is stereo, but the song is mono.

The Cave 4 - High Wall dotdotdot
Surf Biker Fuzz (Instrumental)

German garage band, fuzzy, raw garagy good fun cover of the Wailers ancient number.

The Fathoms - Blandingo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What can I say. This is one of my favorite modern trad bands. Great sound, good melody, edgy sax counterpoint to the guitars. A rolling down the road to Baja with the top down kinda song.

Four Piece Suit - Kolme Kitaara dotdotdot
Surf Lounge Spy Euro (Instrumental)

Spies secreted in a lounge listening to the Shadows or Ventures. Not their best track, but quite cool

Laika and the Cosmonauts - C'mon Do The Laika dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Progression based Euro instro instro. It's a fun though slightly weird track, with almost muddy sound and keys and guitars. Not their best track, but typically early Laika and the Cosmonauts.

Lord Hunt and His Missing Finks - Twice Pipes dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ambient mono recording of a surf number destined for the memory-free zone. It's just a riff over and over and over again augmented with tortured whammy wanking.

Man or Astro-MAN - Intoxica dotdotdot
Garage Surf (Instrumental)

Yet another cover of an overused Neal Nissensen song, and the arrangement is the Ape Men's...

The Omega Men - Our Favorite Dean Martian dot
(Instrumental)

Harsh alert! Crap organ and sixties go-go sensibilities. Even after 5 listens to this CD, I had to go back and play the track again to review it because I couldn't remember what is was like. Totally failed the memorable test.

Scratch Bongowax - Surfin Turd dotdot
Fuzz Punk Garage (Instrumental)

Club PA sound-alike fuzz punk rant with stoopid barf-vocal shouts of "Surf's Up!-Hoo-Ah" do not a surf song make. Boring comes to mind. As a punk band, probably cool. As a surf track... forget it.

Los Straitjackets - Spanish Fly dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An unused track fro their last album. Cool Spanish flavored fast paced number with their signature playing and imaginative writing. Ever since they played for us at Winter Swell, I've been unable to listen to their music without smelling L. J. Lester's mask... ask him about it next time you see him... or maybe by now he's washed it.

The Tiki Men - Theme From The Unknown dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Davie's tune trashed... both in the sense of performance and recording. Horrid sound [surprise!]. Davie Allan did this numerous times quite well. Trashing it is not a tribute.

The Tiki Tones - Sneaky Tiki dotdotdot
Lounge Surf (Instrumental)

These guys possess thee combo sound. They play so well, write really cute-quircky-catchy-nifty tiki-lounge-surf numbers, and have a nice clean sound... sparse with every note and tweak in the right spot. Besides that, they always bring a smile through the obvious barely-concealed grins beneath their playing. Unpretentious pretending... marvelous!

Travelers Of Tyme - Sleestak Chaka Trap dot
Psychedelic Garage Pop (Instrumental)

Stereo guitars [L-R hard pan] are almost linked in meter, but are way off the mark in inflection. The tune sounds to me to be pompous, and uses organ as the lead instrument, something only the Wailers [Tacoma], the Tornadoes [London], and the Merced Bluenotes [pre-Brogues-Quicksilver Greg Ellmore & Gary Grubb-Duncan] were able to do successfully to my taste. I much prefer the subdued use like the Tiki Tones. There's no melody to speak of, and the repeated yakking over the top is not funny, just annoying. Sorry guys.

The Vice Royals - El Camino dotdotdot
Surf Rock & Roll Country (Instrumental)

New York City's latest entry into instro-land, with a very chunky Western/Austin/Car Movie sound. The rhythm section is great, but the melody is just so-so.