As the Died Pretty proved on some of their later releases, there's a fine line between really good rawk stuff and shitty college rock; a step or two in either direction, and before you know it you're Toad the Wet Sprocket or the Mighty Lemon Drops. What kept the Died Pretty out of the ditch, more often than not, was the sheer heft of Brett Myers' guitar playing.
I'd already thoroughly digested Died Pretty's less-languid "Mirror Blues" 7-inch (which I still have) by the time I heard "Free Dirt", so when I first dropped a needle on this it didn't grab my attention right away. I can still remember how I was standing off to the side of my room, barely listening, when the first of one of Brett Myers' impeccable, wailing guitar solos came pouring out of the speakers. I immediately stopped whatever else I was doing and stood in awe for a few seconds.
The guitar solo on "Just Skin" (a fairly crappy song otherwise) is literally like nothing I'd ever heard before or since.
Died Pretty -
(these files are now listen-only)
"Life to Go (Landsakes)"