Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Sounds From The Insidedotdotdotdot
artworkThis CD came with issue number 82 of California Music Magazine. It presents a good cross section of unheard, now-familiar, traditional, experimental, and talented bands. Some of these tunes later appeared on full CD's by these artists, some appear nowhere else, some are live, and some are the only record of these bands. This is a great and worthwhile CD. The instrumentals are augmented with vocal tracks from Denny Aaberg, the Rock Island Boys, Blue Oceans, and Corky Carroll.
Picks: Green Sunshine, Lonerider, Little Dume, Dorothy Pearl, Hibiscus, Desert Bound, Black Ice, Suicide Ride, Time Out, Hero Of The Beach, Return To Surf City, Mig Alley, Wohilo, Sacquito Fria, Haunted Beach

Track by Track Review

Green Sunshine dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is a masterwork of writing, nearly liquid in its sinewy flow. The melody line is beautiful, the and the textures are glorious. It is an extremely picturesque, psychedelic surf piece. Its structure migrates through moderately paced melodic scenes, into speed ravaged wave building power which drops into a harmonically driven pristine pool, and back to a mid tempo end that descends gradually to a stop. Absolutely stunning. This tracks was recorded live at KFJC, direct to 2 track VHS Hi-Fi.

Lonerider dotdotdot
Blues Shimmer (Instrumental)

Slow painful Blues melody shimmer. Very pretty!!!

Little Dume dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Closing out side one is a great sounding track from my favorite Woodies, a song they've played for a few years now called "Little Dume" It's a wonderful tune, and this version is quite inviting, capturing your attention wholly while you play the disc.

Dorothy Pearl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Australia's most amazing surf exponent, the jazz-n-groove based GT Stringer debuted into the recorded daylight with this fine track. GTS' blend a jazzy grodie sax, a surfy slippery guitar, and bass-drum magic to create a new idiom of the surf genre, mixing the West Coast jazz of the early surf films and traditional surf into a fluid and infectious watery sound. Highly infectious, very listenable, cuts across many boundary lines. Great.

Hibiscus dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Traditional surf and stinging Atlantics influenced instrumental madness. There's no doubt this is an Aussie band with it's feet firmly planted in the rich sixties scene down under, but also influenced by the traditional sounds of Southern California surf. A solid melody, fluid double picked lines, and fast paced drums a la the Atlantics add up to an interesting and infectious track.

Desert Bound dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Desert Bound" is ominous, pure surf, with a fine melody, and a solid structure. This song stays with you after listening. It grumbles along, growling out Spanish influenced changes, and issuing forth the sounds of the surf...

Black Ice dotdotdot
Shadows Country (Instrumental)

This is the best track. It has an intense western feeling, and is quite melodic. The twang is irrepressible, and the power unmistakable. It rolls relentlessly down the highway, across open spaces. I'm not sure it relates a vision of black ice, more of an Arizona highway with the top down.

Suicide Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Such a happy melody and delivery. It has the joy and adrenaline of the danger, but not the peril. This is highly melodic and memorable. The glissandoes literal dribble out of the guitar. The organ break provides a rest, and is not overbearing. The guitar work is stellar. A fine track.

Time Out dotdotdot
Surf Jazz Funk Polynesian (Instrumental)

Jazzy Polynesian horns and keys and guitars...very gentle. Theme for a bar-bee in the outback.

Hero Of The Beach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an unusual surf tune, employing nontraditional lead tones via an extreme warble keyboard, and accompanied by trad rhythm guitar. It's nearly whistling melodic sound is both catchy and annoying, not in a negative sense, but in a disquieting sense. I found myself both drawn to it and uneasy with it. That tension hold the interest. The whistling organ lead is almost calliopic. This is a playful and infectious track.

Return To Surf City dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow, moody vibrato angst opens this mid tempo number. The thematic melody flows like a slightly dangerous version of the theme to the 1992 Australian film The Efficiency Expert. It's not playful like that, but it has a similar structure delivered with edgier sounds and more dynamic playing.

Mig Alley dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Insect Surfers occupy their own island in the surf scene - they always have. The rhythmic nature of this track, coupled with the whammy dipped leads, and pounding racing drums, create a unique and hauntingly dangerous sound. The insect Surfers have always been able to structure songs where every instrument is in a separate aural space, yielding a full spectral sound. The rhythm is playing fast and furious, shoving out glissandoes, the lead is playing a deliberate clear melody, the drums are speeding... and when one element changes, its counter part also adjusts to maintain the balance. This is a brilliantly structured track. It was recorded live at KFJC during the infamous asbestos removal period. They played in the lobby because the pit was off limits. The ambient reverb is the sound reflected off the office windows.

Wohilo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the great bands of the late eighties-early nineties surf scene was the Ultras. Eric Lenchner had a long and colorful music history in Bay Area bands, including the power pop marvels the Readymades, where as Ricky Sludge, he wowed 'em at The Mab. He also sat in on trumpet with Richard Berry, Jack Ely, and the Lady Bo Trio when they played live at KFJC's infamous Maximum Louie Louie. Eric's surf-spy-twango-exotica show band the Ultras were spectacular. Highly visual on stage, they sported Eric's sly sense of humor, which is also evident in much of his writing. This slow, sensual, shimmering song has never been recorded in the studio, and was captured here live at KFJC direct to VHS Hi-Fi. It is a twisted and hauntingly beautiful track, with ringing chords, pleasant changes, and a break that features a wickedly demented break distorted with speed-choked notes. Very cool.

Sacquito Fria dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One rainy day back around 1988, I spent an afternoon in Dino's abode with my little 8-track cassette recorder, a few mics, and a sound board. Dino wanted to lay down a couple of tunes he had been working on, and I wanted to submit them for What Surf IV (a release that never happened). Anyway, the drummer set up in the living room, the amp was in the bedroom, where I was, and Dino overdubbed the bass lines after the fact via headphones. I kicked the reverb. So, what started life as a 2 song demo, has endured through the years, remaining Dino's favorite two recordings from any and all line ups and sessions. I agree. I've been involved in every other session he's done, and I also find these two tracks to be the best. Sacquito Fria is clearly a melodic and well written song. Dino is a master of counter play with guitars, and the two instruments here are offsetting each other delightfully. The title comes from a condition of the scrotum experienced in cold water, a shriveling as it were. It was originally titled in English (and means) Cold Sack. I would have liked to remix it. I think there are some areas for improvement, but Dino said no, he liked it just as it was. This track was recorded at the same session as "Chummin'" for the same purpose. It did end up on the Australian compilation Sounds From The Inside, and is also included on their first CD, though in a different mix. This is a very infectious track, melodic and very interesting. I kicked the reverb.

Haunted Beach dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

As the ocean crashes on the shore, this guitar only track stuns the senses, with thick lead sounds, and a relentless damped reverbed second guitar. This is highly infectious, stunningly unusual, and rhythmic as all get-out. The sounds created here are quite unique to this band. It's trad surf and modern guitar effect alchemy, combined to create a new and different aural experience. Oh, for a full CD from SurfTreK.