Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
East Coast Tremors - EP Collection 2004-2005dotdotdot
artworkThere are some very nice tracks here, but I had to listen in several sessions to review this, as it got tedious at times. It's very good to see all these track out, but there isn't as much variety in writing and arranging as I personally like, and there are too many derivative melodies as well. The mix error here is the common practice that paces the guitars at extreme left-right pan, allowing neither to dominate. A 10 and 2 arrangement is better if you must pan them so, but lead middle is really how you get focus and power. On the tracks where the guitars trade duties and/or are dueling, a less harsh pan gives it more of a sense of ensemble. If you load all of these tracks into your iPod and let it shuffle away, they work much better. It's just too much in one slab.
Picks: Honeymoon Academy, The Triple Lindy, Killer Hill, Brass Pole Blues, Ol' Chuckwagon Express, Running Zack, Torpedo, The Hunted, Spotted Horse, Dr. Goldfoot Goes To Mexico, Digging To China, Great Grimpen Mire, Captain Spaulding, Edge Of The Night, Utility Belt, Handclamps, The Kraken, Poultry Truck, Evil Genius, Stolen Cash, Mirage, Spirit Of Zorba, Long Road Home, Methamphetamine Drive, Fishbowl, The Pit & The Pendulum, "H" Is For Heretic, Porcelain Pipeline, Cut Four, Camel Toe, El Camino, 1996

Track by Track Review


Honeymoon Academy dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A heavy double picked drone darkens your door. "Honeymoon Academy" is not really melodic, but it's very heavy between the breaks where there's a lighter structure that's more melodic.

The Triple Lindy dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This riff-rocker is mostly about minimalist note grunting. The all too brief bridges feature some tasty surf rhythm chunk.

Killer Hill dotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This very minimalist track is all riff rocker, with glissandos to give it a bit of surf. The break is quite nice, while the rest is pretty jammy. It fades before it's done while the lead noodles.

Brass Pole Blues dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

"Brass Pole Blues" is a kind of Link Wrayish thing, minimal with moody bass and drums. Its darkness is solid and very well defined.

Ol' Chuckwagon Express dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A cowboy beat and punky energy drive this simple piece. The frantic muted lines are very cool, and they are nicely complimented by large whammy chords.

Running Zack dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Tremolo throb gives "Running Zack" a cowboy feel, while the lumbering pace gives it a bit of darkness. Shimmering chords and a thin lead that's low in the mix hold back what is otherwise interesting track. The flamenco drama in the bridge is pretty cool.

Torpedo dotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

"Torpedo" is very much a rock track, seeming at times to need a melody line. It doesn't really go anywhere, and its dry chord domination and circular riff don't raise it up much.

The Hunted dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Mysterious and rhythmically chunky, this tracks sports a spy feeling. The rhythm dominates the focus while the guitar paints the foreground scene. "The Hunted" is heavy and engaging, with power to spare.

Spotted Horse dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

"Spotted Horse" is a live recording that sports muted reverbed cowboy rhythm and a semi-punky western feel. It brings a grin and engages you with each pass. The melody is very good, and the undulating rhythm gives it a very cool, almost moronic sense that's very hard to disengage from. Wonderful!

Dr. Goldfoot Goes To Mexico dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A big whammy chord brings on this spies in Mazatlan track. Dirty fuzz, rhythmic chunk, whammy chords, and darkness. It's quite minimalist, but also compelling. "Dr. Goldfoot Goes To Mexico" is very heavy, and the long tortured pick slides add danger to this already threatening track.

Digging To China dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

With bass hanging down to the knees, "Digging To China" is a not quite lowbrow number with a heavy sound. The melody is pretty good, and the keys add a bit of contemporary edge. It seems to grow on you while it transgresses on your tranquility.

Great Grimpen Mire dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

An excellent rhythm and heavy sound power this mid tempo piece through a series of scenes. The keys slither through siren sounds, or perhaps it's a guitar. It's so overwhelmed by the left-right guitars that it's hard to tell for sure. Anyway, "Great Grimpen Mire" ends up being very powerful in the end.

Captain Spaulding dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A sample precedes keyboard vs. light guitar playfulness in a riff rocker with a country whine and surf edge. The contrast between the slide guitar and the surf guitar and the rest are interesting. I didn't like it in the beginning, but as I listened and wrote, it quite grew on me.

Edge Of The Night dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slushy groovin' late nighter, with jazzy chords and a sinewy melody line. Tremolo chords precede big rock guitar noodleage.

Utility Belt dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This is very cool. Engaging changes, contrasting rhythm and lead styles, and a pleasingly goofy theme. I liked this right from the get-go, and it didn't wear thin as you might think. Lots of changes and a few glissandos to boot.

Handclamps dot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

With a melody riff that hints at the Hokey Pokey and borrow mercilessly from "Wipe Out," this ends up just too derivative. Probably very fun live, but not on disc.

The Kraken dotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Oh those Kraken with their many tentacles thump with heavy pulsation in an unending semi-hypnotic piece. Dark and mechanical, with a deliberate pace.

Poultry Truck dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

"Poultry Truck" is a moderately pace piece with a slightly comic feel. The delicately muted picking is superb. This track required a little listening to appreciate, but it did capture me eventually. It's much more rock than surf.

Evil Genius dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This basic circulating riff rocker is fun and somewhat uneasy in mood. The evil laughs are goofy, but the feedback is unnerving. Big drum drama and dissonant guitaristry.

Stolen Cash dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This basic cowboy riff rolls onward as the prairie dogs pop up from their dens. Damn if I can recall the actual title of this, but it's been done before, though not with as fun.

Mirage dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

The drums are very cool here, and the bass too. They set the stage for the angular chords. The samples are annoying, but the lead guitar plays a spaghetti western-ish theme.

Spirit Of Zorba dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

The dominant rhythm pattern is liberated from Devo, while the melody is quite non-melodic. The double picked playfulness is - well - playful. Another sample opens another derivative track.

Long Road Home dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Lumbering dry chords and deliberately paced drums give rise to an acoustic lead that's sad and moody. The long delay on the snare is annoying, making "Long Road Home" seem like an eighties refugee, but otherwise, this is a pretty nice track.

Methamphetamine Drive dotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

I suppose this is a sort of ode to truckers. Perhaps it's right on the mark, being a kind of relentless stay-awake song. It really doesn't work for me.

Fishbowl dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Great ringing chords and delicate muted lead guitar lines hint at surf instros from the Midwest. I think this just may be the coolest thing here. Charming and fun.

The Pit & The Pendulum dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

"The Pit & The Pendulum" is a fine track with a relentless bass and drum pace, time-kept by a muted rhythm guitar pattern. The organ is nicely haunted, and the lead's light tone quite appropriate. I like this a lot.

"H" Is For Heretic dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Take the riff from the Animals' "I'm Mad Again," add a circular tick tock pattern, a swirling organ, and a "worms go in" kinda melody riff, and you get the idea here. Spooky and goofy.

Porcelain Pipeline dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

The two guitars play off each other. It's often hard to tell which is supposed to be lead, with both playing rhythm patterns. Still, this ends up a catchy and snappy instro with an engaging energy and light hearted sound. Quite fun, though very simple.

Cut Four dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Imagine a post-sunset beach at a resort where the wahines dance the night away. This is a very pleasant track with some very nice muted guitar patterns opposite a lovely lead. Excellent!

Camel Toe dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

A stark rhythm guitar creates a metronomic sense, while the bass and drums rock. The organ adds a small club feeling, and the lead guitar suggests the Ventures. Lots going on here that's enjoyable. My guess, they aren't talking about the foot of the camel.

El Camino dotdotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

"El Camino" is a slow and very pretty tune with soothing unchanging rhythm chords and a lovely island melody. Warm whammy chords and delicate drums and bass call to the quiet evening. It builds up a head of steam, but returns to the beauty of the beach. Very pretty.

1996 dotdotdot
Riff Rock Surf (Instrumental)

Basic riff rock with reverb and the shimmer of tremolo. "1996" has some cool spots, particularly the breaks, where some very cool glissandos lurk.