Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Mulchmen - Louder Than Dirt, Thicker Than Muddotdotdot
artworkThis is the first waxing from this Dayton, Ohio band. They have an unusual style and place in the spectrum. Not really surf, but instro with some surf edges. Some really good stuff here, and some just ok. The writing is most unusual, and the dissonance is interesting. The sound is generally just average, with some technical issues, but the CD still is a good bet. I suspect, it will stand alone for a long time, and be looked back on with curiosity thirty years down the road.
Picks: Mudslide, Snake Eyes, Dirty White Collar, Swivel Hipster Shake, Flippin' Out, Frank, Sci Fi Voodoo, Chiwawah!, No. 99, Bustin' Golfclubs, Bonfire Serenade, A Man With No Reverb Is No Man At All, Rumble 3000, Bridge Of Death

Track by Track Review

Mudslide dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An odd track to start the CD with. Non-melodic and not very interesting. The rest of the CD is much better. This is mostly a progression with no direction.

Snake Eyes dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is a pretty cool tribal rhythm track with a simple but effective melody, and a primal ethic. While not remarkable, it is quite nice with it's raw slow burn energy.

Dirty White Collar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ah yes, a song about ring around the collar... a sort of white collar version of a blue collar plague. Not very melodic, and a bit faster paced. It is a fun track. Big chords and a taste of ominosity.

Swivel Hipster Shake dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dissonant edginess, chords and a simple melody. The chords leave you with a nervous edginess, and that seems like a nice change. Not as nerve wracking as Armageddon's "Buzzard," but still it grates on the nerves - cool.

Flippin' Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What a nifty track. The basis is a simple progression, but there's just enough noodling guitar licks and the like to keep it afloat.

Frank dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with a sort of fifties sock hop thing, and moving into a slow melody with a sound that allows the cohabitation of pretty and ugly vibes together. It sounds dissonant in an out of tune way, without being out of tune. Pretty cool.

Sci Fi Voodoo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ringing chords, slow deliberate pace, vibrato lead, extra sad melody line, and moodiness deluxe. Very nice track.

Chiwawah! dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

So, is this the way a boy from Dayton, Ohio spells "Chihuahua?" Not significant I suppose. No Spanish feel here, but it's delicate damped notes and changes to big guitar and drum rants is quite tasty. Great track.

No. 99 dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One hundred minus one. Ninety plus ten. It all comes out the same - a bit too predictable for my taste.

Bustin' Golfclubs dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great title. I expected some peon to "Bustin' Surfboards," but alas, it wasn't to be. It's a groany number with a cool little riff. I usually dislike such repetitious numbers, but this seems to work just fine.

Bonfire Serenade dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ah, now this is nice. The gentle rim shots, the serene melody and guitar tones, the relaxed pace are all nice. There seems to be some problem with the bass resonating (eq or cabinet noise maybe), but it's a very pretty number, not in theAqua Velvets or Richie Podolor way, but in a garage last dance at the prom way. Very nice.

A Man With No Reverb Is No Man At All dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Well, who can argue with the title... A pretty cool song, nicely written and structured. The mid tempo gentility of it is soothing without being background. I like this track.

Rumble 3000 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Having just seen Link Wray, the inspiration isn't lost on me. The electronic warbling is pretty cool. The Linkster doesn't play it this laid back, of course, but then that adds a whole other dimension. Best Link cover is a while.

Bridge Of Death dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Holy speed, Bad Man! This just starts, stays, then finishes - fast. A really interesting next step from the Dick Dale noodle factory filigree thing. Quite different than the rest of the CD, with it's rockabilly feel and it's intensity.