Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - The Utterly Fantastic And Totally Unbelievable Sounds Of Los Straitjacketsdotdotdotdot
artworkLos Straitjackets are Danny Amis, (writer of modern surf classic Calhoun Surf, founder of the Overtones, ex-member of the Raybeats, E. Scott Esbeck (Dig Mandrakes, Sweethearts of the Rodeo) - bassist deluxe, L. J. (Jimmy) Lester (Webb Wilder, Billy Joe Shaver) - drummer extraordinaire and owner of the smelliest wrester's mask on earth, and Eddie Angel (Planet Rockers, Ronnie Dawson) - guitar god and chicken bop enthusiast.

Background: Formed originally in the summer of 1988 in Nashville by Eddie Angel - guitar, Jimmy Lester - drums, and Danny Amis - bass. They were an instrumental trio called the Straitjackets. They played locally throughout the summer, and then disband. In May of 1994, the Straitjackets get back together, adding Scott Esbeck. Los Straitjackets is born. This is a very cool band of chums playing great instrumental magic. Tracks range from pure surf to surf inspired. A must to see and hear.
Picks: Fury, G-Man, Straitjacket, Jetty Motel, Car Hop, Caveman, Tailspin, University Blvd., Gatecrasher, Itchy Chicken, Della Street, Calhoun Surf, Rampage, Lynxtail

Track by Track Review


Fury dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An explosion opens this grindy power twang track, with L. J. Lester flying around his drum kit. Major crunch and wham-bam, and machine gun double picked break like early rockabilly fire breathers.

G-Man dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gee man, this is a fine mid tempo spy ish track, with round twangy guitar over a slow paced bed. Eerie guitar tones and dangerous liaisons. Ringing notes, reverb, and rich textures. The melody is just dangerous enough to convey the title's message. The big chord drama in the middle is very cool.

Straitjacket dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Percussion and a slow beat, and an ominous let-me-out-of-here beat. This is very low down and mean, not desperate or escapist, but angry and boiling under a placid surface. Remarkable.

Jetty Motel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I love this highly melodic track. It has pure surf feel and great surf sounds. The twang and the flair are impeccably delivered to great effect.

Car Hop dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Exports' obscuro Car Hop covered exquisitely as only Los Straitjackets can do it. Low down guitar twang, and that marvelous melody. The counter point between the guitars and the drums is a stroke of genius. Great track.

Caveman dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

As L. J. opens with his "Cave Man" cry, the band breaks into this lumbering Neanderthal of a song. You can just picture low brow knuckle draggers peering out of the mouth of their cave wondering what those insipid homo sapiens are doing out there with their guitars. It really captures the image and the IQ of a failed species. Great track.

Tailspin dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the double picked intro slam, the track sucks you right in, as do most of their monsters. It is very fast, fun, high energy, and mostly a riff slammed into your subconscious, emphasized with major low-E double picked rage during the bridge.

University Blvd. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and playful ode to the street of desire and no worry life. This is a very melodic and pretty track. It has all the finesse it needs, and plenty of twang. Great for a stroll down the boulevard of life.

Gatecrasher dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The band flies high on this track, with the energy and chemistry perfectly in sync. Power beat and double picked introductory phrases lead to an infectious performance with Danny in the lead. There's no mistaking the surf foundation here. Majorly enjoyable and energetic.

Itchy Chicken dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Out in the barnyard, the chicks are peckin' at the ground, looking for a few grains to scarf down. The guitar plays the part of the chicken voice so well, and the flying double picked parts are fever pitched. Grindy, fast, super fun.

Della Street dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The street, not Perry Mason's secretary, or is it the other way 'round. This is a coy little number with a great walking bass line that speaks volumes about the suaveness of the subject matter, which ever it may be. Fine guitar work, and a detective sort of air.

Calhoun Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Danny Amis' first ever composition (from his days with his first band the Overtones ) rocks mightily. His fluid melody and happy charm bounce with a grinning gate and excellent surf credentials. Infectious rhythm and great drums.

Rampage dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Machine guns, screaming girls, and grinding pummeling guitars using major amounts of twang. Relentless lowbrow fun.

Lynxtail dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Twanging vibratoed chords, a Link Wray sort of structure, and too much magnetism. Fine suave evil, and shimmering tone.