Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surf City Undergrounddotdotdot
artworkThis Santa Cruz local artist comp is a charming cross section of a once vital scene. many creative and unique tracks here, including very early Tao Chemical, Drivers, and Prisoners songs, along with the amazing "Iranian Disco" from the Newtrons and Doug Spring's light weight "Rebel Dancing." Also here are two surf instros, one from the Humans, and the other from JJ 180.
Picks: Telstar, Iranian Disco, Mad Surf Love

Track by Track Review


Telstar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Humans were an amazing live band, and had a long surf pedigree as well. Born from the ashes of Eddie and the Showmen, they included three ex-Showmen, Eric Gies, Sterling Storm, and John Anderson, who had his own band the Baymen before joining the Showmen. It was 1970, and the three moved to Santa Cruz, where they formed the early Humans. Songs like "Mr. Moto," "Miserlou," and "Telstar" never left their set in all those intervening years. By 1980 when this LP was released, they were a fixture at the Catalyst on Saturday nights and verging on being signed to IRS where they had a couple of hits and toured extensively. "Telstar" was recorded at the Catalyst and sports lots of their signature energy and synergy. Hard driving and very well played, this version shows John Anderson's prowess on lead. Excellent!

Iranian Disco dotdotdot
Iranian Disco (Instrumental)

OK, so this is miles and miles from the surf envelope. "Iranian Disco" is a fascinating coupling of styles, from traditional Iranian melody structures and rhythms with disco thinking and whirly keys. A wholly unique and infectious instrumental adventure in cross-cultural shenanigans.

Mad Surf Love dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

JJ 180 offered up this echo based surf instro as their very first release before minor legend status with lots of other tracks. It's moody and dissonant, with an uncomfortable structure and storm surf feel. The musicianship is quite sloppy and the sound very demo-ish, but the track has a certain charm about it.