Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
PO Box 7240, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-7240 USA

album coverVarious Artists Surfin' The Spillway 5 stars
Label: Happy Hour HH-1964

This is easily the best compilation of new artists in a long while. Michigan bands all, there are almost no weak spots here, and some tracks are just plain killer. An absolute must have, no ifs, ands or buts! Magnificent. Did I say I like it? More like love it!!!

Picks: Mondo Mod 'Penguin', 'Spy Theme', 'Wangler', Professor Schmiddy (& The Elements) 'Hotfoot', 'Outbound', The Campus Kings '207', 'Cheyenne', 'Singapore Swing', The Lustre Kings 'Bottle Rocket', 'Forbidden Planet', The Prodigals 'Firewalker', 'Ride The Savage Dolphin', 'Tsunami', 'X Ray Man', The Silencers 'Matt Helm', The Volcanos 'Side-Swipe', 'Twilight At Rincon'

THE PRODIGALS "Tsunami" 4 stars

A mighty pretty intro - almost oriental. That quickly gives way to a hot low-E double picked storm of notes! Yeow!
Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE PRODIGALS "Firewalker" 3 stars

Distant reverbie guitar notes flowing with tom-toms, dancing in a very slight breeze on a strange island paradise. It's the sorta melody that would grace a fly-over scene of Maui in a travelogue for the surfisticated. Cool
Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE PRODIGALS "Ride The Savage Dolphin" 4 stars

Extra edgie hot low-E double picked onslaut. Totally in your face! High energy guitar work with a cool surf beat behind. Nice whammy chord & glissando break. The tom-toms and ahs from the male chorus should make you puke, but somehow they are quite appropriate. A great song.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE PRODIGALS "X Ray Man" 3 stars

A rolling dum-ta-dum-ta-dum-ta-dum riff and cadence under a Henry Mancini / "Pink Panther"-ish oddity that's quite inviting. Cool.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE SILENCERS "Matt Helm" 3 stars

Quiet wah-wah under a "Satan was an acid head" sample. OK, so that's dumb, but the track is a drum driven riff with an infectious structure. Not melodic at all, but somehow they overcome the riff-rock nature of it with subtle chords and machine gun suave work and surfy sounds.
Spy Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE VOLCANOS "Twilight At Rincon" 4 stars

Yup! This is one of their most melodic and endearing tunes. A great riff from one of the best new bands around (especially when you include their alter ego the Hell Benders). Wow! Totally infectious and powerful!
Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE VOLCANOS "Side-Swipe" 3 stars

A simple but powerful pumping tune. Their infectious sound and fiery approach carries it off well.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


One of the great overlooked bands. Cheesy organ chords under a simple guitar line. Professor Schmiddy is onto something here. He doesn't play with the force of the Prodigals or the Volcanos, but this is an awesome tune!
Surf Instrumental Mono


The match strikes, flares up, and you can almost smell the sulfur. Then, the scream from the juvenile hotfoot! The melody is cool and it's pure surf... less than the Lively Ones and way more than the Boss Martians.
Surf Instrumental Mono

THE CAMPUS KINGS "Singapore Swing" 4 stars

Runway tom-toms, exotic bass, strip joint sax, muted trumpet, and surf guitar. Not Lounge or Exotica, not Surf... wait! It's Vegas Grind Surf. Unique sound.
Frat Instrumental Stereo

THE CAMPUS KINGS "207" 3 stars

Sax and surf guitars plus some ominous sounds make for a great journey here. Alone in the spectrum of modern surfisms.
Frat Instrumental Stereo

THE CAMPUS KINGS "Cheyenne" 3 stars

Hardly Indian inspired, more cowboy. Nice melody and rolling feel. Drive down 101 to this!
Frat Instrumental Stereo

MONDO MOD "Spy Theme" 4 stars

Cheesecore. A big organ and hooks and coolness dripping ever so slightly from the corners. Where's the Pink Panther now? This is how the Bomboras want to sound and the Tiki Tones approach. It's hard to get me to like organ instrumentals, but this did it. Very nice, lads!
Mod Spy Surf Instrumental Stereo

MONDO MOD "Penguin" 3 stars

Quirky choppy choked hokum. The organ lead is pretty minimal. It works. Quickly sucks you in where you don't want to go.
Mod Instrumental Stereo

MONDO MOD "Wangler" 2 stars

Pumping organ and minimal guitar. A remix would help a lot. The guitar is too buried.
Mod Instrumental Stereo

THE LUSTRE KINGS "Forbidden Planet" 5 stars

Whoa!!! Dueling leads, one low-E and one high-E for a very intense effect! Each guitar is doing really nifty things and getting very cool sounds, and the combination is remarkable. Hubba Hubba. This is a monster track! I've played it many times on my show.
Surf Instrumental Stereo

THE LUSTRE KINGS "Bottle Rocket" 4 stars

This stuff is so-o-o much better on CD, and it was great on vinyl. This band is a must hear just for the guitar tones. Love it.
Surf Instrumental Stereo