Horror Garage

Here Lies Dirty Bird (4 Walls Records)
Dirty Bird

By David Lilly

For being the band that never existed, Dirty Bird (featuring contributions from members of the Glasspack, S**tluck Clothing, Metal Bikes, Monster Magnet and The Hookers), brings as much gritty, dirty rock 'n' roll as an avalanche of cooled, crumbling lava. Likewise, as psychedelic-blues guitarists go, "Dirty" Dave Johnson is, uh, dead on. While much of this CD might recall late '60s electric ax workouts by such luminaries as the 13th Floor Elevators, MC5 or Ted Nugent, Johnson's playing is more homage than derivative. Not that he is intentionally saluting anyone; he's following his muse and I salute him for that.

The first few songs here are pretty much straight-ahead, few-frills, bluesy, Dirty-garage songs. And that's all right ... in fact, it's very all right. "The Wolf" is an especially spirited workout that might require some patience due to its slow pace - the discipline of patience is worth it. "Little Girl" picks up the pace, offering the chance to dance and a call to headbang. The second version of an earlier song, this one entitled, "Scared b," (or on the back cover, "If You're Scared, Go to Church") brings another straight-ahead blues riff, but this time with some feral, spooky screams of fowl. Somehow, perhaps as kindred spirits, "Diggin' My Way Out" reminds me of the Paul McCartney song, "Let Me Roll It," though the former is more intense. "Scared c" is a tour de force for Johnson's guitar work and its relationship with the mixing board.

With most debut CDs - and this one is the recommended (by me) work of seasoned musicians - there is at least one flaw. Leland "Bird" Thurman's distorted, mostly unintelligible, power-tool vocals represent that flaw. But ghoul grief, that's just me; for the legions of fans of power-tool vocals, that can only add to Dirty Bird's appeal. At least the dude's vocals are on key and in time. All the more reason for you to ride your mouse over to www.4wallsrecords.com/pages/8/index.htm

and pick up a copy of this motherbugger. If you enjoy the small pleasures life offers - even if you call them cheap thrills - there's one that comes with this CD. Remove the folder from the front window ... turn the case over ... place the folder face-side up and to the left of the back cover for a spooky, sexy little scenario. Now imagine how cool that would look as a mural.

(You can also find this disc at ear X-tacy Records).