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

album coverSurf Cinema First Run 4 stars
Label: Reverb Archives RA 0176 CD-R Live

San Francisco's Surf Cinema came by for a Pitstop on Saturday November 16, 2002. The trio played for an hour, displaying many fine originals and unusual cover choices, some of which will be featured on their upcoming CD release. In the broadest terms, if you were to draw a line between Pollo Del Mar and the Berzerkers, you might find Surf Cinema about half way.

Picks: Flemgringo, Zippy To The Rescue, Unbundled, Our Weapons Are Useless, Rip Off Another One, Sticky Finger Sunset, Pale Face Hombre, They Don't Call Them Chihuahuas Any More, Honeybaked Ham, Dos, Dos Equis Por Favor, Harlem By The Sea, He No Lickety Split, C'mon Do The Laika, Boris The Barbarian, Prague Rock, Dead Pedestrians, O.C.C.C., Ricko Suave, Strait Up Chuck, Country-fied, Quarter Pump, Memory Man, Taco Bell, Bullfight In April, Sleigh Ride


"Flemgringo" [live] 4 stars

This is a kinda Spanish song with a circular melody line and warm string bending. The beat is solid, as is the bass. The break thicker and more dramatic. Simple open road wind in the face traveling music.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Zippy To The Rescue" [live] 3 stars

"Zippy To The Rescue" is a little bluesy and energetic. There's a bit of the "Stand Back" verse from Steve Miller hinted at in the break.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Unbundled" [live] 5 stars

This is a spectacular piece. Long whammy chords, a slow rhythmic moody afternoon sound, and an ominous edge. "Unbundled" stands right out as the coolest track in the set, with more depth and emotional content, and a really fine structure. It fades to near silence midway before crunching back to full throated power. Magnificent!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Our Weapons Are Useless" [live] 4 stars

This Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet song is strong and thick, with the edge required, and the moodiness intact. Excellent!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Rip Off Another One" [live] 4 stars

This is a faster song, with a spy edge and a rock simplicity, with big whammy and a delicate verse in the middle. Intensely powerful!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Sticky Finger Sunset" [live] 4 stars

A lot like Laika and the Cosmonauts' "Fadeaway," but injected with anticipation and whammy. This is a very pretty song with a thick command and fluid delivery. Excellent!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Pale Face Hombre" [live] 4 stars

Cool whammy and a bit of a desert edge, and a warm thunder. "Pale Face Hombre" is a border tune with romantic village conflict at its heart. Very friendly!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"They Don't Call Them Chihuahuas Any More" [live] 4 stars

Mexican spices, a playful melody line, a military sub-rockabilly beat, and an easy full bodies bass line together in a most unusual song. Infectious, interesting, and intellectually stimulating. Way cool!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Honeybaked Ham" [live] 4 stars

Ah, the imagination of instro writers when it comes to titles. There's nothing hammy or honeybaked about "Honeybaked Ham." Strong and thick, vibrato throbbed, and a little ominous. Great drums!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Dos, Dos Equis Por Favor" [live] 5 stars

Spanish breezes carry warm tropical aromas across the playa on the wings of liquid guitar. "Dos, Dos Equis Por Favor" is a pretty and very interesting song, with a bit of sadness and splashy optimism.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Harlem By The Sea" [live] 4 stars

Earl Hagen's wonderful "Harlem By The Sea" is played fast and fluidly, a lot like Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet cut it. This is a fun and adventurous performance with dynamic variations.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"He No Lickety Split" [live] 5 stars

Thundering drums and rumbling bass under thick power bar guitar. This is a dominating track with a solid beat and plenty of mean action. The stinging whammy chords are quite intense!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"C'mon Do The Laika" [live] 4 stars

Laika and the Cosmonauts' ultra fun "C'Mon Do The Laika" is well suited for a trio arrangement. Surf Cinema have fun with it.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Boris The Barbarian" [live] 4 stars

Laika and the Cosmonauts' grumbly "Boris The Conductor" is powerful and whammified, with a big guitar attack and rolling thunder underbelly.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Prague Rock" [live] 5 stars

On the mean side, thick with whammy, and grumbly, "Prague Rock" speaks of spies and vibrato danger. On the faster side, yet with a sense of delicacy. Very nice!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Dead Pedestrians" [live] 4 stars

Thick and whammified, kinda Laika-ish, and pumpin' with energy. The light whammy breaks are very cool! And the inspiration for "Dead Pedestrians" is...?
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"O.C.C.C." [live] 4 stars

Laika and the Cosmonauts' "Oahu Community Correctional Center" is like an island vacation interrupted by a stay at the tropical detention center. Echoed and liquefied, "O.C.C.C." demands your time with an equatorial invitation you can't refuse.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Ricko Suave" [live] 4 stars

This song of Spanish womanizing is really cool, with whammy and sunny adventure at every turn. Excellent!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Strait Up Chuck" [live] 4 stars

On the fast side, "Strait Up Chuck" is riffy and circular, but is also catchy. In some ways, it's hints of the Austin sound, yet speaks of Northern latitudes.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Country-fied" [live] 3 stars

A short blast of speedy punkoidal echoed circular riffology... only 30 seconds long, and sporting a slowdown fall apart ending that's pretty cool.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Quarter Pump" [live] 4 stars

"Quarter Pump" is a slick number with warm whammy and an infectious inviting sound. An excellent song that hints of spies and foreign travel. A very fun song.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Memory Man" [live] 4 stars

Like a rainy jazz afternooner, "Quarter Pump" is surfable and cool, and fit for open road adventure. Nice track.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Zombie Compromise" [live] 4 stars

Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet's "Zombie Compromise" is dark brooding mechanical doom chordomatic thunder, intense melody line, and long fading notes. Drama and danger!
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Bullfight In April" [live] 4 stars

Fast circular dark surf from the Bell! Kinda like a fast "Pink Panther" on the rocks. Even a morphed "Wipe Out" verse to connect to the surf.
Surf Instrumental Stereo


"Sleigh Ride" [live] 4 stars

Surf Cinema ended the show with a holiday foreshadow... a spunky performance of ""Bullfight In April"" Arranged similarly to Los Straitjackets, this is just too fun!
Surf Instrumental Stereo