Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: War Of The Surf Guitarsdotdotdot
artwork32 cuts of surf instro madness, much of it garagy, and for some reason mostly in mono (or very narrow stereo). Just a few tracks appear here for the first time, but then again, it's a two-label showcase. Lots of fiery performances from a variety of bands and places.
Picks: Sabre Jet, Continental Theme, Side Slippin', Bad News, Stella Vista, Black Boots and Bikes, Shanghai Surf, Codename: Gypsy, Caught in the Undertow, Surf Hammer, The Sweet Ride, The Rafter, The Wayback Machine, Pogo a Go-go, Sand Pumper, Malaguena, James Bond, 50 Bucks A Midget, Sol Si Do Si Mi Re La, Bullseye, Avenue X, The World We Knew, The Wet Set, Horrorscope, Good / Evil, Run Chicken Run, 1,000 Foot Road, Apollo, Step Lively, It's So Easy, Bolero, Sea and Shore

Track by Track Review


Sabre Jet dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Church Key" twang sets up this instro heavily influenced by the Central Coast sound of bands like the Revels and Duane Eddy's "Moovin' n' Groovin'." Lots of unpretentious fun.

Continental Theme dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tuff instro with a healthy debt owed to "Haulin' Honda." It has a similar main riff, but a different break and a much tougher surf sound. High energy and an infectious beat. A fine track.

Side Slippin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track has a very warm tone, round and very pleasing. The melody floats off of the guitar, remaining in your memory long after the track ends. Parts of the melody line are derived from "Blue Moon," but overall, this is an original and very pretty piece. Really nice.

Bad News dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Volcanos power up "Bad News" aka "Church Key" with no shortage of energy. This is quite a bit higher powered than the others. More clarity and focus, and high caliber playing. Excellent.

Stella Vista dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Big distorto twang and high energy drive the Coffin Daggers, and "Stella Vista" certainly displays their straight ahead approach. This rock instro is modern and hard driving. The melody is miles from the brine, but fluid nonetheless.

Black Boots and Bikes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Hondells' "Black Boots and Bikes" is powered by the Dutch garage edge of the Krontjong Devils. The Hondells (Richie Podolor and company actually) had a much more pristine longboard vision of the aqua zone, where as these guys always zig-zag their short board hard across the face. Very nice track.

Shanghai Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Keyboardist Tim Sullivan penned this. It's smooth and melodic, but a bit undeveloped. It lacks spit and polish, and energy. Still, it's a nice tune.

Codename: Gypsy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In a slightly ska sifted Mediterranean mood, "Codename: Gypsy" sparkles with spies and spaghetti. Excellent double picking and an infectious rhythm.

Caught in the Undertow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The main riff here is slightly middle eastern. The glissandoes a little rough, yet it tastes of salt spray and leisurely small wave action on a desolate beach. Nice track.

Surf Hammer dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big chord swim wear and chunk, waiting for a melody line to appear. More grind than song. Very thin sound doesn't help.

The Sweet Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dribbly glissandoes, plinky piano, solid surfability, and a very memorable melody riff coexist in this fine track. The surf factor is high, and the playing really good. Infectious in a powerful and friendly way.

The Rafter dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fast and surfy, "The Rafter" sports the pace of a Boss Martians instro with more splash. Adventurous and fit for a 65 MPH romp down 101. very cool.

The Wayback Machine dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fast and post surf garagy, "The Wayback Machine" uses fuzz and frat rock riffology, amped by screams and teenage angst. The end is a marvelous decay of feedback. The Honkeys raw garage attack is captured in demo sound.

Pogo a Go-go dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Early reverbiage from Holland's Apemen. Among their best early originals, "Pogo a Go-go" is chunky and quirky. The melody is fluid and way fun.

Sand Pumper dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tasty rhythms and a friendly riff together in a solid original. The riff is varied by climbing ever higher up the neck and onto the low-E. Fast and very fun. This live take is captured in shallow ambient sound, with crappy sounding drums. The energy is high, but the performance seems sloppy.

Malaguena dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rock solid performance generally in the Trashmen's arrangement of the Ernesto Lecuona classic. The lads do a really strong performance here, infectious and tuff, fluid and very trad.

James Bond dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Barry's "James Bond" is fluidly drenched in reverb and nicely arranged with cool whammy.

50 Bucks A Midget dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great opening drums... "50 Bucks A Midget" is sideshow surf with a really crisp sound and an almost prancing joy about it. Richly reverbed, almost to the chunk limits established by the Woodies. Totally cool track.

Sol Si Do Si Mi Re La dotdotdot
Thick Intense Surf (Instrumental)

This is in the mold of last decade Austin meats Minneapolis... very strong and grindy, with no rest for the weary.

Bullseye dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

A series of big whammy chords open "Bullseye," which is a rockabilly rave-up. Melodic riffology in a kind of "Lady Of Spain" vein. More energy than magnetism.

Avenue X dotdotdot
Lounge Surf (Instrumental)

This cool tune sounds like a Los Straitjackets and Henry Mancini in a blender, swirled not shaken by Jake (Bomboras). Smooth, fluid, and very cool.

The World We Knew dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Mediterranean theme is a smooth departure for the Krontjong Devils. Its double picked holiday in Greece feel and whammy chords create an escape. Nicely done.

The Wet Set dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nicely played and recorded, gentle, and somewhere between Richie Podolor and the Ventures. The riff is circular and a little too unchanging, yet inviting. Quite surfable.

Horrorscope dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big hard driving surf and twang, well played and nicely written. The double picking is solid, as is the bass thunder. The melodic riff is friendly and a little unusual.

Good / Evil dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song sports an interesting guitar riff which is quite intense. Touches of flamenco drama, double picked shredding, and a lot of energy drive "Good / Evil." Very cool.

Run Chicken Run dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This song has been done and done, and then done again. 10, maybe 15 times. This is thin and not the least bit original, except that its more garage than most rockabilly.

1,000 Foot Road dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Without the hot rod peeling out, "1000 Foot Road" becomes much more interesting. The band launches into a rhythmic number that relies on a cool riff and really nice guitar picking.

Apollo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This sports a fine melody, and excellent playing. The power chords and the damped lead are quite nice, and the ambient recording doesn't detract too much.

Step Lively dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Make nice with your shoes bouncing off the pavement, lads. Prancy and playful, and a little goofy, yet very enjoyable.

It's So Easy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jonny and the Shamen make nice with Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy." Lots of pure surfisms, damped reverb and splashy guitar lines, some fuzz, and plenty 'o fun. Imaginative.

Bolero dotdotdotdot
Thick Intense Surf (Instrumental)

"Bolero" brings a melodic fluid lead line to a crunchy rhythm and power backtrack. Hugely cool!

Sea and Shore dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This version of "Sea and Shore" is less powerful than many of the Untamed Youth's instros, but it is a very solid rendition. Excellent tone and vintage appeal, but not really remarkable.