This four-CD collage of bands inspired by the psych-garage-punk-pop of Lenny Kaye’s original 1972 compilation of ’60s one-hit garage wonders has keepers among its 100 tracks. There’s primordial angst in the Nomads, Cramps, Chesterfield Kings, Lyres and Green on Red; a psychedelic pop shimmer to the Rain Parade, the Bevis Frond and Chills; and no reason whatsoever to include the La’s, Long Ryders and Smithereens. Since the garage-rock revival of the 1980s had no true "hits" and remained strictly an underground — and unconnected — "scene," the rules for inclusion are fuzzy at best. Why two tracks from the Posies when nothing from the Steppes or Gravedigger 5?
The arguments are endless. What’s inarguable is that the box sounds positively quaint — not just by today’s standards, but by the standards of the day. Whereas Kaye’s inductees inadvertently recorded low-budget classics while trying to transcend their limitations, their followers tried to capture that magic by applying limits and emulating a bygone era. It’s why much of this music sounds implosive vs. explosive, why Plasticland and the Vipers could never match the intensity of The Seeds’ "Pushin’ Too Hard" no matter how many fuzzboxes they use.
Rob O'Connor writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].