Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Death Valley - Apollo XIIIdotdotdotdot
artworkHere's the thing. In order to get the full appreciation of this 7 inch ep, you have to put in on the stereo, and then go into the nearest closet, shut the door, and viola! The round sleeve glows in the dark, just like the old radium watch dials. Wow! Even if Death Valley sucked, which they don't, this would be a must just for the cover! OK, so I got that outta my system. Death Valley's prior work was limited to a cool Christmas 7 inch and a CD called !Que Pasta!. From the title, you'd guess correctly that they are slightly influenced by Enio Morricone and the spaghetti western ethos. The key word here is slightly, because there are healthy doses of that illusive mysterious Southwest desert surf sound too, and the unique and curious lead style that is dry, played without fury, but somehow embodies mucho energy anyway. This is a great band, and this is a mighty nice ep. There is some vinyl noise as you might expect (hence the 2 star production/fidelity rating), but other than that, I have no complaints. My hat's off to Dave Crider at Estrus for a great package and Death Valley for the soundtracks to movies not yet conceived.
Picks: Have Rocket, Will Travel, Same Planet, Different Worlds, Apollo XIII, Meteor Of Many Moods

Track by Track Review


Have Rocket, Will Travel dotdotdot
Desert Space Surf (Instrumental)

Moderately paced gently played dry guitar tune with clear Southwest desert and spaghetti western influences.

Same Planet, Different Worlds dotdotdotdot
Desert Space Surf (Instrumental)

Cowboys on parade in Ixtapa at the end of their whirlwind tour of Sicily. Rolling rhythms and great drums. The keys in the middle give a bit of a break. The post performance guitar noodleage is funny.

Apollo XIII dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Spaghetti Western Surf (Instrumental)

Count down to lift off at 2:13. This evokes images not unlike those of the sixties space singles like the What Four's "Gemini 4," but the style is totally different than that, with the marinara sauce overtaking the reverb and echoplex of it's forerunners.

Meteor Of Many Moods dotdotdot
Southwest Desert Spaghetti Western Surf (Instrumental)

Dissonant coolness. This strange number has a unique character, lots of changes, and textural variations. There is a curiously medieval sound to it... sad and foreboding, like an antediluvian rock hurled through the cold expanses of space, like maybe a... meteor.