Reviews

Voxx

Bobby Fuller The Bobby Fuller Tapes, Vol. 2 LP

Culled from demos left behind after his death in 1966 (he was rumored to have been killed by the mob—gasoline poured down his throat and lit!), most of these tracks are tame compared to his classic “I Fought the Law,” but do convey his evolution from the heir to BUDDY HOLLY to a ’60s rocker. Surprisingly, I like his version of “Miserlou” the best here, as surf music wasn’t what he was noted for. For fanatic collectors only.

Dwarves Horror Stories LP

This band recorded one LP under the name SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE, and I recall it being fun and just a little on the snotty side. With this release, they get down and dirty with their hard-driving garage/grunge punk. Some great covers of bands like CALICO WALL, AVENGERS, and LARRY AND THE BLUE NOTES. This puppy smokes.

The Gravedigger V All Black and Hairy LP

Another hot new neo-’60s release. This now-defunct outfit was from San Diego, and they knew how to mix original and cover songs to achieve the right mid-’60s feel. The high points here are an amazingly snot-nosed vocalist with sneering ’60s inflections, some strong original songwriting, an appropriately tinny “mono” production, and an above-average choice of tunes to cover. Although the fuzz guitar could be louder, these guys have obviously been inspired by primo stuff.

SS-20 / Sky Saxon Paradise EP

After hearing the LP with RED KROSS and this EP, I have to say anything connected with SKY SAXON is pretty much doggy doo. Only two songs of four actually have SKY on them, the rest are strictly SS-20 (not the Ohio punk band) and if you’ve heard their LP on Voxx, you know how wimpy that can get. Sounds like outtakes from some DOOBIE BROTHERS record.

Ten Tons of Lies The Seeds of Next Season / You Lie 7″

Both tracks are labeled with the same title, but I know for a fact that they’re two different songs. Good stuff more in the YARD TRAUMA/FUZZTONES style of hard-driving psych/punk with a good sense of melody, a nice use of the whammy bar on guitar.

The Barracudas I Can’t Pretend EP

A new release of old stuff by this English band on an American label. Two tracks are from the debut LP Drop Out with the Barracudas, but the best songs are previously unreleased trashings of the We Five’s “You Were on My Mind” and the Surfari’s “Surfer Joe.” The guitars and vocals are out of tune and the playing is sloppy. A must.

The Flamin’ Groovies Bucketful of Brains LP

Back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, the GROOVIES were in my Top Five list of hard-edged rock ’n’ roll bands. Though not as generally acknowledged as the VELVET UNDERGROUND, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, the MC5, or the STOOGES, their underground appeal led to an international cult following that still exists today, despite the many permutations they’ve since undergone. Here, they’ve been captured in their heyday in a live (and not so hot) recording, doing originals and covers. There are a few incredible moments, so if you love real rock ’n’ roll, give it a listen.

The Gravedigger V The Mirror Cracked LP

One live side, on studio that is mainly outtakes from their first LP of years ago, as well as a cut with Paula Pandora. These are the San Diegans who went on to be the MORLOCKS, and they do your basic ‘60s punk stuff, all snarly and ultra-cool. OK music, very sharp cover.

The Laughing Soup Dish Teenage Lima Bean / Rainy Day Sponge 7″

Neo-psych from Mammoth Beach, NJ, and judging from the photo they’re not too ashamed to whip out the old paisley. Truthfully, this isn’t so bad—nice mix of fuzz guitar and droning hypnotic vocals. And the flip has one of the best sounding SMALL FACES rip-offs ever. Very enjoyable, thank you.

The Leopards Psychedelic Boy / If You Come Back 7″

This is a Kansas-to-LA transplant that manages to capture the KINKS “Waterloo Sunset” era—not an easy thing to do right. The song also manages to effectively poke a little fun at the LA psychedelic scene. Nice bit of pop.

The Pandoras It’s About Time LP

After their great debut EP, I was afraid the ensuing album would wimp out, as often happens with this ’60s “teen punk” genre. No way! What we get are twelve killer songs, ranging from folk-rock to snarling ’67-era punk, all delivered with guts and drive. The music is tight and raunchy like that of their heroes the SHADOWS OF KNIGHT, and it’s hard to believe that all the members are female, because the vocals have such a deep, gruff sneer. Fucking excellent.

The Pandoras Hot Generation / You Don’t Satisfy 7″

The PANDORAS present two rockin’ blasts of ’60s psych/punk on this one. “Hot Generation” opts for a slightly more commercial approach than past efforts, though the flip packs it all in—cheesy keyboards, thickly textured guitar riffing, and an unforgettable melody. The cover’s great, too.

The Primates We Are the Primates LP

Primitive 60’s punk that relies heavily on rhythms simple drumming, maracas, tambourines, etc.). Basic R&B punk with classic garage meets Mersey tones. They can fuzz punk as well, though, and that wimp Jeff (who was supposed to have done this review!) really likes this one.

The Stomach Mouths Wild Trip LP

Just the thing for folks who can’t afford the steep import prices for great Swedish garage music. While the MOUTHS aren’t the best at what they do, they still manage to kick up a decent fuss full of ‘60s style ravers. Lots of early demos and alternative takes for the completist.

The Tell-Tale Hearts The Tell-Tale Hearts LP

The TELL-TALE HEARTS use an invigorating R’n’B-style as an inroad to their brand of psychedelia, replete with cheesy organ and harmonica. “Crawling Back to Me” employs a biting ’60s punk sound with good results, but I also enjoyed the moody “Dirty Liar” the most of their slower material. A very good effort.

The Things Coloured Heaven LP

This new garage-psych band might be a bit too laid back for most readers of MRR, but I hope a few brave souls will venture out and pick it up. The Things have obviously been influenced by the likes of the BYRDS, LOVE, and maybe QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE, yet they retain a raw garage sound that keeps them from sounding mushy. Steve Crabtree has a knack for writing infectious tunes that make excellent use of his voice and melodic guitar style. A gem of an album.

The Wilde Knights Beaver Patrol LP

One of a seeming million early-’60s garage bands from the Northwest that paved the way for mid-’60s punk. This LP traces their progress from an only slightly more interesting later reincarnation as a pop/rock R’n’B-sounding band (while going from name to name). It’s a classic story, but not necessarily that interesting, musically.

The Wombats Bye Bye Baby / Give It a Number 7″

A much faster and more enthusiastic follow-up to this Ohio band’s kwiet KINKS-ish debut. Great ’60s pop vocals, hooks aplenty, and heavy guitars make this a sterling record. Really impressive, but I wish to hell Bomp would do a better job distributing their subsidiary labels—you can’t get Voxx 45s anywhere in the Bay Area and the situation probably isn’t much better elsewhere.

V/A Acid Visions LP

A compilation of ’60s Texas punk and psychedelic bands. There’s lots of good stuff here, including some real obscurities like the GREAT BELIEVERS, A-440, the THINGS, etc. If by chance you’ve already picked up Mindrocker vol. 4, then pass this up because there’s only a four-song difference, and the sound quality isn’t as good on this.

V/A Battle of the Garages Vol. II LP

The latest collection of neo-’60s bands to hit the record stores in recent months, and the second in a series. It’s about 50% lighter psychedelia and 50% punkoid stuff, with the gnarliest material emanating from the MIRACLE WORKERS, MYSTIC EYES, the ODDS, OUTNUMBERED, the FEZMEN, and the SHARP TURNS.

V/A Battle of the Garages, Vol. III: The Paisley Underground LP

This latest Greg Shaw reliving-his-teens comp contains all contemporary SoCal neo-’60s bands. The accent is on punk here, with just a dash of folk-rock, psych, and Mersey. And a good one it is—solid rockin’ from beginning to end by all 16 bands (most previously unreleased). Recommended.

V/A Winnipeg 1965-66: The Best of Eagle Records LP

Nothing especially mandatory here, although it’s not a poor collection either, with tracks from the QUID, SHAG, SATAN & THE D-MEN, and others. In 20 years, will Greg Shaw be documenting the current punk scenes as methodically? Will kids in 2005 even care what’s happening now?

V/A Battle of the Garages, Vol. IV: Tomorrow the World! LP

Current garage sleaze from both the U.S. and Europe featuring LES THUGS, CANNIBALS, LEGENDARY GOLDEN VAMPIRES, SICK ROSE and much more. One of the best neo-‘60s series going.

V/A Beasts From the East LP

Here’s one where I liked the idea better than the final outcome. Take the best East Coast and Midwest garage bands and showcase a couple of their tunes—should be a great collection, right? Well, they started off right by getting the right bands—from Chicago, DWARVES, CUNTS, GREEN, from PA, the CYNICS and the ENDORPHINS, and also tracks from the LIBERTINES and others. But the whole is mixed horribly and just ends up a limp mess. What a disappointment.