Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Middle Class Music For Middle Class Peopledotdotdot
artworkThis is good compilation of the bands on the Middle Class Pig label out of Germany. The first three tracks are from rockabilly practitioners the Madison Trio. Their vocals have somewhat of the sound and textures of the 101'ers, Joe Strummer's pre-Clash band. Two of their instros appear here as well. Also of note is the extremely good instro from Schwarz. There is a pretty wide cross section of sounds on this disc, with some punk, some disturbed dark space sounds, some aggressive semi pop, and some general lunacy. The instros are from the Madisons, Schwarz, and Essighaus. The labels' motto is "A strong middle class is the basis for a healthy society." Excellent and fun comp, with the bonus a some good instros.
Picks: Stampede, Milky Way, Panoramic Sunset and American Moon, Stalker

Track by Track Review


Stampede dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

This is a really good cover of the rockabilly classic. The echoed guitar is rhythmic and dynamic, and the rhythm section is relentlessly pumped. A strong performance and a lot of energy bring forth the power of this tune. Many have done it, but few have actually captured the original spirit embodied in the original Scarlets version. The whammy adds a surf feel without using reverb or any of the other surfisms. The tribal nature of the drumming during the transitions under the whammy harmonics is quite surf/jungle. Great track.

Milky Way dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

The damped lead work accents the echo, providing the same kind of effect damped reverbed rhythm guitar so, yet retains the rockabilly air of the band. The cool sax adds a feel of smoky club mystery. The main melody of this song is within' microzots of Link Wray's "Crossties," with the sax replacing the organ, and the break from the Pyramids' "Penetration" inserted. This is really a nice track.

Panoramic Sunset and American Moon dotdotdotdotdot
Psycho Surf (Instrumental)

What a gorgeous track. It is very exotic. Schwarz uses tribal drums and bass to create a mystical environment within which the guitar can use stretched out slightly feedback shaded notes to create a middle eastern air of nomads and oasis nights, while the organ underpins with a whirling Leslie. Entirely captivating. It's not a surf piece exactly, but there are so many of the subtle elements of the genre that it's hard to to hear this as at least a close neighbor. Intense and gorgeous, this uses elements of Santana's "Gypsy Queen" and sideways glances at the Mermen. Stunning track.

Stalker dotdotdotdot
Dark Space (Instrumental)

This has no bearing at all on surf, but I had to include it here, both because it is an instro, and because if is so unusual. It is a dark and brooding track, stark in it's deep space imagery, menacing in it's distant military feel, and just out of reach like hearing an out of state radio station just slightly above noise level under the signal of a local. These elements combine to create a glimpse of an invader just perceived while official America sleeps ignorant of the impending danger. No melody, just threatening ambiance. Quite effective. I didn't pick it because there's no way to fit it into a surf set.