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66 greatest raw & raucous garage rock tunes of all time

May 30th 2011

Garage rock is back-to-basics rock’n’roll. The appeal is instant. The songs are simple, short and direct. The music is even simpler – often lo-fi, and with no pretensions of great musicianship. It’s a raucous upbeat sound which comes with an attitude.

In recent decades, the meaning of garage rock has become as fuzzed out as the music itself, as garage has morphed into various different sub-genres. Fortunately the original garage bands still provide a great reference point for what garage is all about. So in selecting garage punk tunes to include, I’ve favoured songs which have something of the feel and the tempo and the attitude of the best of the original garage songs. So I’d like to think it hangs together, but it is just one take on garage rock. From the 60s I’ve ignored some of the tamer bands and taken the rawest, meanest snarliest bands. And again in the post punk era I’ve selected songs that fit my ideas of what garage is about, from bands whose overall output is often hugely more varied than is represented here.

Few of these bands have had massive popular success. Few of them care much about being popular or trendy. It’s a genre that has a real working class character to it. These songs reflect this : they’re short, no long guitar solos, they deal mainly with day to day subjects, they get you moving, and you don’t have to be an art school student to appreciate them.

Massive credit has to go to Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye who in 1972 compiled the original Nuggets compilation of 1960s garage rock singles which has remained the essential reference point ever since. The later less influential Pebbles series made available large amounts of often obscure 1960s bands. In the last 10 years Little Steven has done an impressive job of championing garage rock through his Underground Garage radio show, his record label Wicked Cool Records, and a series of compilation albums Little Steven’s Underground Garage presents The Coolest Songs in the World. And a special mention also to Sky Saxon and Lux Interior who died in 2009 and to Jay Reatard who died in 2010. Your music lives on below.

The songs are arranged in chronological order – partly to give a picture of how garage rock has evolved. All can be listened to on this page. The links in the song titles are to places where you can buy the song (though in several cases the original albums are difficult to obtain, especially in the UK). Finally, if your favourite band is among the many hundreds not represented here, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page, and if possible give a link so we can check out their music.

1960s

Bobby Fuller Four – I fought the law (1964)
Written by Sonny Curtis who recorded it with The Crickets in 1959. Fuller took it into the Billboard top 10, but of course the definitive version is by The Clash, who made it into one of the greatest songs of all time.

The Pretty Things – Rosalyn (1964)
Debut single from the band dubbed by the British press the “uglier cousins of the Rolling Stones”.

The Rolling Stones – Get Off Of My Cloud (1965)
How can you ignore the Stones when you’re talking about Californian garage bands ? This was top of the charts in 1965, their influence was enormous.

The Seeds – Can’t Seem to Make You Mine (1965)
This song sums up for me what garage rock is all about. From Sky Saxon’s obituary in the New York Times – “The Seeds, formed in 1965, were a short-lived but cultishly memorable band that melded primitive rock rhythms with the free-love message of the flower power generation.”

http://soundcloud.com/skatefun/04-the-seeds-cant-seem-to-make-you-mine

The Wailers – Out Of Our Tree (1965)
Not to be confused with Bob Marley’s band, The Wailers were a vital early part of the Seattle rock scene which would later give birth to grunge rock and Nirvana.

The Brogues – I Ain’t No Miracle Worker (1965)
One of a multitude of shortlived Californian bands which seemed to spring up out of nowhere in 1965 or so, before disappearing just as quickly. The song however was given a new lease of life when it was featured on the Nuggets compilation.

The Remains – Why Do I Cry (1965)
Barry Tashian : “We started at Boston University in the dormitory. We were all second year students. I had made a trip to England the previous summer before we had gotten together. I just saw what The Stones were doing with old blues songs and saw the Beatles and the Kinks. I thought, “That’s great, I could do that”. So, I came back to Boston very excited and asked these guys if they wanted to form a band. And that was the beginning of The Remains. It was September of ’64 when we put the band together, and by December we were signed to Epic Records. In March (’65) our first single came out, Why Do I Cry, a song that I wrote. And at the end of that school year, when September came around, we didn’t bother to re-register another year of school, we all dropped out. We ended up the following January moving to New York City.”

The Sonics – Strychnine (1965)
If you only check out one 60s garage band, check out The Sonics from Tacoma, Washington led by the great Gerry Roslie. The White Stripes named The Sonics as one of the bands that influenced them the most, calling them “the epitome of ’60s punk” and claiming they were “harder than the Kinks, and punk long before punk”. This song (which has been covered by The Fall and quite a few others) takes you by storm, I was amazed when I first heard it.

The Missing Links – You’re Driving Me Insane (1965)
Australia’s wildest group. During live performances, Andy Anderson would climb walls to hang from rafters, then drive his head into the drums, other band members smashed guitars into speakers and all wore the latest Carnaby Street clothes.

The Standells – Sometimes good guys don’t wear white (1966)
This deserves to be just as well known as Paint It Black, which was released in the same year.

The Monks – Complication (1966)
The group was formed by American GIs who’d all been stationed in Germany. As their music developed and became more rough and abrasive, they cultivated an “anti-Beatles” image : short hair with tonsures, black clothes sometimes with cassocks, and ropes around the neck. In this they prefigured later garage bands such as The Mummies who also created their own stage appearance to go with the music.

? & the Mysterians – Up Side (1966)
The group is best known for its song 96 Tears, which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and would go on to sell over one million copies.

The Underdogs – Love’s Gone Bad (1966)
The Underdogs were a bunch of white kids not long out of high school who got themselves signed up to Motown Records where they released this – a cover of a Holland-Dozier-Holland song. It flopped.

Count Five – Psychotic Reaction (1966)
Count Five were five teenagers who rocketed into the Billboard top 10 with this song, which was modelled after The Yardbirds I’m a Man.

Zakary Thaks – Bad Girl (1966)
Performed at a speed which makes it sound like a punk song. Yet another Texas band, Zakary Thaks modelled themselves on British rock groups, and were elated when the success of this single led to a opening slot for one of their idols The Yardbirds.

The Sparkles – No Friend of Mine (1967)
This Texas band formed in the 1950s and gone through a few different lineups before hitting underground gold in 66/67.

Nobody’s Children – Good Times (1968)
Another Texas band. In addition to the Bobby Fuller Four, The Sparkles and Nobody’s Children, Sam the Sham, Mouse & the Traps and the Thirteenth Floor Elevators were all part of the flourishing Texas garage scene.

The Other Half – Mr Pharmacist (1968)
Hearing this was another of those jaw dropping moments for me. Mr Pharmacist is one of the greatest singles by The Fall – I had no idea that theirs was a cover of an equally brilliant garage rock original.

1970s

New York Dolls – Trash (1972)
I’ve reluctantly left out The Stooges and the MC5 as being closer to rock than 60s garage, but this song from glam queens the Dolls keeps the snappy structure and the simple chorus and adds a lot of raw energy and bad attitude.

DMZ – Barracuda (1977)
Already a decade’s passed since the heyday of garage rock. When Jeff Connolly started DMZ he was working at Boston rib house Buzzy’s Bar-B-Q. He’s better known for his later band The Lyres.

Ramones – She’s the one (1978)
The Ramones made their CBGB debut on August 16 1974. Legs McNeil, who co-founded Punk magazine the following year, later described the impact of that performance: “They were all wearing these black leather jackets. And they counted off this song … and it was just this wall of noise … They looked so striking. These guys were not hippies. This was something completely new.”

The Cramps – Human Fly (1978)
From Lux Interior’s NY Times obituary : “As connoisseurs of seemingly all forms of trashy pop culture from the 1950s and ’60s — ranging from ghoulish comic books to Z-grade horror films to the rawest garage rock — they developed a sound that mixed the menace of rockabilly’s primitivist fringe with dark psychedelia and the blunt simplicity of punk. Cultivating a sense of sleazy kitsch, the band played songs with titles like Creature From the Black Leather Lagoon, and its members dressed like a rock ’n’ roll version of the Addams Family. Lux Interior, gaunt and dark, was fond of skintight rubber, although onstage he usually ended up in just his leopard-skin trunks, or less. Poison Ivy often performed in pin-up or bondage costumes, and others who passed through the band developed tawdry characters of their own.”

The Clash – Hateful (1979)
From London Calling. They famously sang “We’re a garage band / We come from garage land”, though over time their musical interests would take them in other directions.

Spizzenergi – Where’s Captain Kirk (1979)
One hit wonder English punk/new wave band led by Spizz.

Members – Sound Of The Suburbs (1979)
I’d love to have heard what The Seeds would have made of this song. It’s a song for bands who don’t aspire to be rock stars, and who are proud of their “hood”.

1980s

Newtown Neurotics – Kick Out the Tories (1981)
Another UK punk band, Newtown Neurotics were formed in 1979 by Ramones fan Steve Drewett. Their early efforts weren’t very political, but that all changed when they began to see what Thatcher was doing to the country.

Lime Spiders – Slave Girl (1984)
Mick Blood’s vocals on this obviously owe a debt to garage and punk; however when asked “So you never refer to the Lime Spiders as a garage band?” he replied “No, I don’t. I do find it a little bit insulting. As I say there’s a lot of good musicianship within our band and we managed to have quite a successful career with three albums for a major label and touring overseas and so on and I don’t think many garage bands can attest to that sort of achievement. We were, for want of a better expression, a bonafide rock band.”

Chesterfield Kings – She Told Me Lies (1985)
The Chesterfield Kings perhaps more than any other band kickstarted the 80s garage rock revival. They set out to recreate the sounds of the 60s, and succeeded better than anyone in creating a product which sounded authentic but was also exciting to audiences steeped in punk culture.

Fleshtones – I Was a Teenage Zombie (1987)
The Fleshtones use of the fuzz guitar and Farfisa organ sounds marked them out as garage rock revivalists. On this number they ramp up the wild raw fuzzed out sound – it’s a little OTT, but that’s part of the fun of the song.

The Stems – Sad Girl (1987)
Unlike his Ossie compatriots Lime Spiders, Dom Mariani is proud of his place in the garage rock tradition : “The Electric Prunes are a big influence. I first discovered them on Nuggets and soon after found a copy of their Underground in a discount record store. This was like finding gold. It’s still one of my all time favorite albums … The Standells, Chocolate Watch band, Music Machine all had some influence on The Stems … as did the Australian bands like The Masters and The Easybeats. The Masters are incredible, The Missing Links I discovered later.”

The Brood – On Fire (1988)
All girl fuzz rock band from Maine. The song’s from the album In Spite Of It All on Skyclad Records. I’m beginning to wonder if it was ever released on cd, I can’t find any links for it.

The Sick Rose – A Kiss Is Not Enough (1989)
The Sick Rose were an Italian combo whose direct style opened more doors for garage rock in Europe.
The Sick Rose – A Kiss Is Not Enough

1990s

The Gories – I Think I’ve Had It (1990)
Detroit’s Gories were instrumental in the rise of garage punk. According to Pitchfork they “reinvented classic 60s garage rock as something dirtier and more confrontational, pushing a tinge of punk menace into the mix”. The band featured Mick Collins (of The Dirtbombs), Dan Kroha (later of The Demolition Doll Rods) on guitar and vocals, and Peggy O’Neill on drums.

Thee Headcoats – I wasn’t made for this world (1993)
Billy Childish is the ultimate English iconoclast. As well as a vast musical discography working under numerous band names, he’s a prolific artist, author, poet, photographer and film maker. Lo-fi production and a DIY ethos are clearly part of his personal philosophy, as is the desire to share his many projects with the public, despite accusations of unevenness of output. But he is rightly considered the dominant and most influential figure in the British garage punk scene.

The Devil Dogs – Don’t Try It (1994)
From the compilation album A Tribute To Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs. A couple of nice tributes I found :
“These New Yorkers knew the history of rock n’ roll and they knew it the right way. The Devil Dogs were a totally unique sounding blend of 60s American garage, 50s American rock n roll plus the “Wall of Sound” of Phil Spector. Rock n’ roll played by Americans and ignored by Americans. A drive through the fast lane. A one way ticket back to your teenage years.”
“The Devil Dogs are definitely not the stereotype New York band; they trash all regard for coolness and looks and go for the sweat and the beer.”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Wail (1996)
A bluesy NYC band. Spencer’s previous bands included Pussy Galore, Gibson Bros, Boss Hog and Honeymoon Killers.

http://soundcloud.com/h-records-1/03-the-jon-spencer-blues-explosion-wail

The Hentchmen – Psycho Daisies feat Jack White (1998)
This Yardbirds cover features a young Jack White on guitar, and when Norton Records reissued the album in 2007 White’s name appeared all over the packaging. But the Hentchmen are a very decent Detroit garage rock combo in their own right : “The trio’s self-described ‘hit and run’ sound is mainly attributed to their minimalist approach – guitars, drums, and organ – and their mastery of the stripped-down and sped-up is certainly well represented here. There aren’t many instruments to choose from or a wide range in repertoire, but the guys never needed it. Organ-driven melodies, thick harmonies, dueling guitar riffs and a thumping snare: the Hentchmen threw it all in the pot, and the combination always somehow resulted in moments that sound like pure fun more often than just self-indulgent noise.”

The Dirtbombs – I Can’t Stop Thinking About It (1998)
The band was formed by Mick Collins of The Gories. He says “I went out of my way to play music that was deliberately difficult to describe and I wanted people to come to their own minds about it. But of course then everybody just started calling it garage rock so people who would’ve been interested in it never got the chance ‘cause they just wrote it all off. I describe it as rock’n’roll – the Dirtbombs are a rock’n’roll band. It doesn’t give a journalist a fuzzy feeling but that’s how I view it. You just gotta hear it.” In another interview he was challenged on his definition of garage rock : “Most garage bands are really like 1960s punk bands. A real garage band is like a 1960s punk band heavily influenced by R&B. These bands nowadays calling themselves garage bands are not. They don’t have it. They have vintage gear. They copied a bunch of Humble Pie riffs, and that’s the extent of it. That isn’t garage.”

Demolition Doll Rods – Married for the weekend (1999)
A really fun song from yet another Detroit band – part of the scene which produced MC5, The Gories, Bantam Rooster, Rocket 455, The Detroit Cobras, The Dirtbombs, The Hentchmen, The Von Bondies, Electric Six, Gore Gore Girls, The Come Ons, The White Stripes and others.

2000s

The Black Keys – I’ll Be Your Man (2002)
The duo from Ohio are basically a blues rock band rather than a garage band, but this track from their debut album which was recorded entirely in Patrick Carney’s basement on an 8-track tape recorder definitely has a garage feel to it.

The Buff Medways – Troubled Mind (2002)
Another Billy Childish band. From their website : “The BUFF MEDWAYS cut a dash with their Victorian army uniforms and their vintage Vox amps. The gear may be old but as one critic wrote the band are ‘the snarled lip embodiment of rock’n’roll spirit rather than nostalgia or shabby revivalism’ “.

Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl (2003)
So Chris Cester, does this hit rip off Iggy’s Lust For Life ? “It’s funny because I asked him point blank about that. He said I was crazy. He said that when he and David Bowie were writing Lust for Life, they were ripping off Motown’s beat. It’s funny that he said that to me because we also thought we were ripping off Motown more than Lust for Life. To be honest with you that kind of annoyed me a lot, because I always thought it was really lazy. People just go well Lust for Life is more well-known so that’s what they go for, but if you listen to a song like You Can’t Hurry Love I think you’ll find its closer to Are You Gonna Be My Girl than Lust for Life ever was. And that’s what Iggy said as well.”

New Bomb Turks – Radiobeat (2003)
Eric Davidson : “All these Cleveland bands I liked in the late ’80’s, early ’90’s, that I thought were really great, they were some big influences on me, like My Dad is Dead, the Mice, Death Of Samantha, the Reactions. No one has ever heard of them. That kind of cemented in my mind, that if no ones ever heard of these great bands that’s kind of the attitude I took into this band. I didn’t really worry if we didn’t have big hits. It kind of gives you this idea when you start a band in Ohio, you don’t really have these career aspirations of stardom. One thing that was funny is even though the Dead Boys were from Cleveland; it just showed you how bad the big chain record stores are, because even in Cleveland it was hard to find Dead Boys and Pere Ubu records. But now it’s better, and there’s people in Cleveland who appreciate the history, there a little more. Its definitely a blue collar aesthetic compared to out West where all these skateboard kids, the pop punk kids, with happy happy music, because it’s happy happy weather. Whereas growing up in Cleveland, everyone’s middle class or lower, and you kind of make this kind of dirtier rock and roll. You don’t expect anybody to ever really care except you and some friends.”

Reigning Sound – Let Your Self Go (2004)
The Reigning Sound was formed in 2001 by Memphis garage punk legend Greg Cartwright (vocals/guitar), who is also much admired for his previous bands Compulsive Gamblers and the Oblivians.

The Makers – Four Button Suit (2004)
From their promo : “The Makers hail from the city of Spokane, a small blue-collar town in eastern Washington State. Back when The Makers were playing amphetamine-driven Kinks covers, wearing four-button suits, and being pelted with beer cans, the rest of the world was wearing flannel and grooving to Pearl Jam. Long before the ‘New Garage’ phenomenon hijacked the mainstream, The Makers were touring in a 1965 Pontiac HEARSE and sounding like some cross-bred mutant child of The Stooges and Small Faces.”

The Horrors – Crawdaddy Simone (2006)
England’s Horrors are coming back to shock us this summer with a headline slot at Reading and Leeds, and the follow up release to 2009’s NME album of the year Primary Colours.

King Khan and the BBQ Show – Treat Me Like A Dog (2006)
One of a series of bands fronted by Canada’s Mark Sultan, which include The Spaceshits, Les Sexareenos, BBQ, Mind Controls, The King Khan & BBQ Show and The Almighty Defenders. He’s planning to release two new albums later this year under his own name on In The Red.

Jay Reatard – Turning Blue (2006)
From his NY Times obit : “With help from members of the Oblivians, a proudly sloppy veteran Memphis garage-rock band, Mr. Lindsey started his recording career at 15 and released music with numerous bands, including the Reatards, the Lost Sounds, the Bad Times and the Final Solutions. By the mid-2000s he had established a reputation in the rock underground for his songwriting skill and devotion to do-it-yourself production methods, as well as for a sometimes belligerent stage manner.
Mr. Lindsey began to reach a wider audience in 2006 with his first solo album, Blood Visions (Fat Possum), and in recent years he continued to produce music at a rapid pace.” He died aged just 29 and was buried with his guitar.

Black Lips – Bad Kids (2007)
Last week I got the chance to see what all the fuss was about when the Atlanta band played at Liverpool’s Sound City. A relentless barrage of short high energy songs, a wildly pogoing moshpit, flying beer, harassed security guards trying to prevent attempts at stage diving … yes, it was f**king brilliant. The new album Arabia Mountain is out June 7th.

Carbonas – Don’t Know Why (2007)
Atlanta’s Carbonas are no more, but watch out for offshoot bands GG King and Gentleman Jesse.

Gore Gore Girls – Fox In A Box (2007)
The Gore Gore Girls are an all female garage rock band from Detroit. The band’s name comes from The Gore Gore Girls, a 1972 B-movie. Download is by permission of Bloodshot Records, who say this – “Harnessing sheer rock power for the forces of good, the GORE GORE GIRLS strut their stuff with boldness and attitude, throwing down dirty grooves and instigating scenes of libertine abandon in nightclubs around the world. What sets them apart is their underlying respect for the legends of earlier eras. From BO DIDDLEY to THE RONETTES, THE SONICS to THE SAINTS, the Gores take inspiration from the greats and inject it with hi-octane ferocity, forging a new sound with a modern edge.”
Gore Gore Girls – Fox in a Box

The Woggles – It’s Not About What I Want (2007)
Like Black Lips and the Carbonas, The Woggles are from Atlanta Georgia. The Professor : “We don’t consider what we do stuck in a rut or limiting at all. The music that we play draws on influences from jump blues, early R&B, a tad bit a country or hillbilly, surf instrumental sounds, 50’s rock and roll, 60s teen rock and roll bands, on up through early punk sounds of the later 70s. We use about 50 years of pop music as a reference and draw from that. We don’t live or wish to have lived in any of those time periods, but we draw from those musics things that we find relating to our experiences now, and fashion them into songs that express the ideas that we feel today.” This track and the following one are available for download courtesy of Wicked Cool Records.
The Woggles – It’s Not About What I Want

The Urges – I Gotta Wait (2008)
The Urges started out in a damp Dublin garage in late 2004. With little or no musical knowledge they set out to write nothing but raw stripped down rock ‘n’ roll. By the time their debut album Psych Ward came out in 2007 the Irish Times described it as a “psyched-out zombie rocker complete with all the horror show ingredients: the devilishly swirling Farfisa organ, the bendy guitar twangs and a singer who howls like a teenage werewolf at a beach party”.
The Urges – I Gotta Wait

The Morlocks – Dirty Red (2008)
The Morlocks had a good few years in the 1980s, then they split up, then the lead singer Leighton Koizumi got busted for robbery and kidnapping during a drugs heist and spent 10 years in a Mexican prison, during which time Spin magazine incorrectly reported that he’d died of an overdose. After his release Koizumi reformed The Morlocks with a completely new lineup and started on the comeback trail.

The Satelliters – Unknown State Of Mind (2009)
Endearing Frankfurt quartet who describe themselves as “take-no-prisoners 60s garage-punk psych rock! Vintage sound and attitude. Organ, fuzz and reverrrrrrb!” and list their influences on Facebook as “The Sonics, Kinks, Seeds, Remains, Shadows Of Knight, Blues Magoos, Standells, Kenny & The Kasuals, Byrds, Music Machine, Strawberry Alarm Clock and tons more. The SATELLITERS created their very own 60s-garage-acid-psyke-style. They dig R’N’B, Beat, Garage, Psychedelic, Freakbeat, Folk aka all the beloved styles of the 60’s!!!” Though it has to be said that they rip it up a lot better than many of their 60s heroes …

Thee Vicars – Feel So Good (2009)
The Guardian : “If the dozen three-minute surges of short, sharp guitar-bass-drums-vox on Psychotic Beat, sounds as though it was produced on vintage equipment, that’s surely the point: to make Thee Vicars seem like a mainline back to the source, to bands like the Seeds, the Sonics and the Standells. It was the latter California garage outfit whose 1965 classic of 12-bar blues-rock, Dirty Water, gave Thee Vicars their label name. It’s also the name of the north London club, round the corner from the Dome in Tufnell Park, where bands of this ilk are wont to tout their wares on a Friday night. Frankly, we’re outraged that Thee Vicars – who have been going for two years but are still only 17-19 years old – are allowed out on a Friday night, or indeed any other night. All but one of the band are in full-time education and they had to get their parents’ permission to go on tour, bless ‘em. Not that they’re mummy’s boys – they describe themselves as ‘annoying bastards’ whose avowed intention it is to ‘kick kung-fu-style all the shit bands into orbit’. Others are equally impressed, one magazine hailing them as ‘heirs to the Horrors’, another comparing them to ‘the Jam circa 1978, only better looking’.”

Wau y los Arrrghs!!! · Viva Link Wray (2009)
The wildest group ever to come out of Spain : “they play their own songs but as well covers from such bands as The Trashmen; Kenny and the Kasuals; Los Saicos; We The People … and everything in Snotty Bad Attitude Spanish … most of the Lyrics they changed in the nasty WAY !!!!”

2010s

Bleeding Knees Club – Bad Guys (2010)
The Guardian : “Bleeding Knees Club only formed in March 2010 and recorded their debut EP, Virginity, at the back of a shoe shop and it shows: not that it sounds shoey – just tinny, echoey, shambolic and raw, with some of the primal energy of the early Stones. As for Alex Wall’s vocals, they have the croaky, shredded quality of early Jagger – or David Johansen, who modelled himself on early Jagger, too, only Wall is way less knowing and arch. Just as mannered, though.
This music’s so thin and cheap it makes the White Stripes’ Toerag recordings sound like Queen circa A Night At the Opera with arrangements courtesy of Wagner and Trevor Horn at the helm.”

http://soundcloud.com/bleedingkneesclub/bad-guys

Ty Segall – My Sunshine (2010)
Aged 23, Segall graduated from the University of San Francisco two years ago with a degree in media studies. He’s already released four solo albums (with a 5th, Goodbye Bread, out June 21st on Drag City), and is a member of the bands The Traditional Fools, Epsilons, Party Fowl, Sic Alps, and The Perverts.

White Mystery – Power Glove (2010)
Their invitation to you : “If you’re a fan of stripped down garage rock, loud drums, and/or redheads, meet your perfect match. White Mystery is the two-piece brother/sister duo of Miss Alex and Francis Scott Key White.”

http://soundcloud.com/h-records-1/white-mystery-power-glove

Thee Oh Sees – I Was Denied (2010)
Pitchfork recently reported on the burgeoning San Francisco scene – “the bands that Gardner selected for In a Cloud – The Fresh & Onlys, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Kelley Stoltz, the Sandwitches, and Sonny and the Sunsets among them – have a particularly close kinship. Part of it’s a shared sound– all draw some inspiration from the well of early-60s garage rock and psychedelic pop. And part of it’s a shared history– most have spent the better part of a decade living and making art in San Francisco. They split group houses. They buy the same recording gear. They share bills at the Eagle Tavern, a heavy-duty leather bar that doubles as a rock venue.” John Dwyer’s Thee Oh Sees is singled out for praise : “the band started soft and spacey, but has been gradually re-jiggered into a jammed-out take on the Cramps – perfectly splicing stone-age riffs, melody, and hallucinogenic weirdness. ‘You go to an Oh Sees show and you’re exhilarated,’ says Kelley Stoltz. ‘John can do some weird duck-walk dances and they’re having fun and the people are having fun even if the song’s about the cops fucking with you when you’re on a weird acid trip.’ “

Tyvek – 4312 (2010)
The latest standard bearers for Detroit underground garage punk.

The Unwed Teenage Mothers – No One Wants To (2010)
Trash merchants from Oxford Mississippi, featuring members of Bass Drum of Death and Lover! .
The Unwed Teenage Mothers – No One Wants To

Wheels on Fire – Black Wave (2010)
So guys, what are your top three musical influences ? “Easy…Katie Perry, Eminem, and Whitney Houston”. You get the impression that these garage poppers from Ohio don’t take themselves over seriously …

The Kits – Wild At Heart (2011)
The Kits are a Melbourne band now resident in the UK founded by brothers Kit and Jay Atkinson who recorded their new album during snowed-in sessions at 811 Studios in Horsham, England.

27 comments

  1. One of the best blog posts of the year. Brilliant.


  2. NO WAY is the Clash version of I Fought the Law the definitive version! My god, that is a retarded thing to say. Apart from the Clash being one of THE most overrated bands ever… And that’s only the start of my criticisms of this blog. To really tell it how it is I would need to do a blog of equal length to show you where you are wrong and what’s missing. And there’s a lot of stuff that’s missing. I mean, as much as I love the Remains I wouldn’t call them “rough” and “raw”. There’s plenty of records from the same year that are much more wild and rough and crazy and demented than that. Seriously. Do you actually know anything much about this music apart from what you’ve looked up on the internet?



  3. The link above is for Blackout of Greately by Gonn.

    The link below is for Blue Shoes by The News.


  4. I have to add another one from my own record label (on top of Thee Vicars)… ;-)

    Here’s El Humo Te Hace Mal by Los Peyotes:

    And I gotta give you some Hollywood Sinners too:


  5. “She Told Me Lies” by The Chesterfield Kings came out in 1984, not ’85 – on a 45rpm single anyway. It is on an album that was released in 1985 but it’s a different recording and the earlier single is WAY better.


  6. Oh, by the way, Jeff spells his surname Conolly, not Connolly. And if you call his band “The Lyres” he’ll tell you off for it. “My band’s called Lyres! No THE!!!” Heh heh! That’s Jeff for ya. Don’t upset Jeff, you’ll get yourself in a whole heap o’ shit that way! Ha ha!


    • It should be mentioned that Lyres’ “Help You Anne”, penned and sung by Conolly, is one cool-as-hell garage tune:


      • With the possible exception of the Cynics and the Chesterfield Kings, the Lyres are unquestionably the best post-Sixties garage band we’ve had.


  7. Some damn fine examples of garage rock as well as some serious omissions… Gonn, Chocolate Watchband, Electric Eels etc…

    However, I enjoyed reading this and your enthusiasm really shines through. I also discovered a few cool bands that I didn’t know about – thanks for that!


  8. Some great examples of garage rock. Thanks. I think you could have included a couple of Undertones tracks as well.


  9. Great stuff – Cheers!……Would be good to have seen MC5, Stooges, The Mummies and the Fuzztones. Oh and the Stones aren’t from California.


  10. great fucking list man! everyone one is going to say that you left someone out and shit like that, but truth be told this is your list and your idea and i couldn’t love it more! keep them coming!


  11. your list is out without the kinks


  12. You are missing 4 great 60’s garage band tunes out of the US (1966-67). The State of Mind out of Wilmington Delaware recorded 4 songs worthy of consideration in this group.

    1. Move
    2. If He Comes Back
    3. Make You Cry
    4. Goin’ Away


  13. This is a *great* list. Would also include the following classics:

    o “YOU LIED TO ME BEFORE” by Treez,
    o “FIRE ENGINE” by 13th Floor Elevators,
    o “COOL ONE” by Sounds Unlimited,
    o “THE WITCH” by The Sonics.

    Some fiery covers of the above here:

    http://tinyurl.com/7od26by

    Today, in 2012, there is a growing number of new garage bands out there, essentially vintage garage purists, who are not-so-quietly focused on preserving the original sturm und drang of 60s garage.

    A good example is Chapel Hill NC’s THEE DIRTYBEATS (free download http://tinyurl.com/7od26by). They specialize in recreating the tough, primitive, aggressive vibe of early to mid-60s garage rock and psychedelia — the sound that inspired proto-punk pioneers like MC5 and The Stooges.

    To get that sound, THEE DIRTYBEATS use period gear exclusively, including vintage Mosrite, Rickenbacker Fender and KAPA guitars, Fender and Ampeg amps, Big Muff fuzzes, Morley wahs — even coiled guitar cords. The result is prickly, gritty, unpredictable… and (if you are into that pure vintage garage rock thing), utterly glorious.


  14. 1)HEADSTONES(24 hours everyday) 2)MIKE REYNOLDS & INFANTS OF SOUL (when will i find her) 3)JESTERS OF NEWPORT(stormy) 4)COLONY(all i want) 5)EXPRESS(you gotta understand) 6)BROTHER L.CONGREGATION(bringing me down) 7)MOXIES(i m gonna stay) 8)MURPHY & MOB(born loser) 9)ESQUIRES(judgment day) 10)BANSHEES(project blue) 11)FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH(hard woman) 12)MOODS(leave my house) 13)BEAVOR PATROL(e.s.p.) 14)PALACE GUARDS(no comin back) 15)TREMORS(wondering why) 16)SAVOYS(can it be) 17)CHANTS R & B(neighbour,neighbour) 18)MACHINE GUN KELLY S REJECTS(i m going back) 19)MICKEY FINN & BLUE MEN(garden of my mind) 20)LES SINNERS(nice try) 21)LES SINNERS(Cleopatra) 22)RANGER SOUND(ricordarmi) 23)NIGHT CRAWLERS(let s move) 24)NOMADS(thoughts of a madman ) 25)UNKNOWN BAND(down home girl) 26)STATUS QUO(they all want her love),garage-punk GODS from Texas!!!!! 27)SURREALISTIC PILLAR(i like girls) 28)CRAIG(i must be mad) 29)SHAPRELS(dare i weep,dare i mourn) 30)HUNTED(sinner) 31)NOBLEMEN(short time) 32)KEGGS(to find out) 33)ELECTRIC LOVE(this seat is saved) 34)WERPS(love is a fire) 35)MOPS(inside looking out) 36)ELECTRAS(action woman) 37)BROOD OF VIPERS(psychedelic web)


  15. What i wrote above are the 37 BEST garage-punk songs of the 60s!!!!! What follows are the 33 BEST psychedelic-punk songs of the same unique decade!!!!! 1)ONE WAY STREET(tears in my eyes) 2)SOUNDS UNLIMITED(about you) 3)LYKES OF US(7:30 said) 4)DEEPEST BLUE(somebody s girl) 5)MOODS(it s for you) 6)STATESIDERS(patterned the same) 7)SANDS(cant find a way) 8)SHY GUYS(goodbye ti you) 9)ESQUIRES(loneliness is mine) 10)SOULS OF THE SLAIN(cant go on) 11)MYSTIC TIDE(mystic eyes) 12)MYSTIC TIDE(mystery ship) 13)WATERMELON(trilogy) 14)WATERMELON(the ocean song) 15)CHESSMEN(no more) 16)LOST GENERATION(they tell me) 17)CAVE DWELLERS(meditation) 18)CHAPTER VI(fear) 19)LEATHER BOY(shadows) 20)SUNDAY FUNNIES(a pindaric ode) 21)NOBODY S CHILDREN(st.james infirmary) 22)JAY-BEES(good times) 23)LES SINNERS(le souvenir) 24)MODS(days mind the time) 25)LONDON KNIGHTS(go to him) 26)CASCADES(she ll love again) 27)EYE ZOOMS(she s gone) 28)EASTERN ALLIANCE(love fades away) 29)RISING STORM(rain falls down) 30)CHRIS MORGAN & TOGAS(would you believe,love is dead) 31)SUNDAY(dawn) 32)YO YOZ(leave me alone) 33)DIRK HAMILTON(happiness)


  16. At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming again to read other news.


  17. bad miss – The Chocolate Watchband…..


  18. Here a raucous 60’s one for you: Outcasts-1523 Blair


  19. Great list of garage tunes. Click on the link below and you’ll find a playlist with some more good ones – Action, Majority, Squires, Brogues, Avengers, Ugly Ducklings, Painted Ship, etc.

    http://recordshops.blogspot.com/2012/07/heres-playlist-of-garage-60s-singles.html


  20. I just wanna go pelvic! poor girls


  21. I think any 60’s garage rock song list is somewhat incomplete without Love (My Little Red Book), The 13th Floor Elevators (You’re Gonna Miss Me), The Velvet Underground…


  22. Great stuff by where are the Gruesomes and The Cynics? Huge mid-late 80s garage bands … also the Miracle Workers …


  23. My Bobby Fuller Four choice would have been “Magic Touch” on Mustang records which i’m informed he hated but for me his best record which i include in my d.jing spots from time to time


  24. “Crawdaddy Simone” by the Horrors is a 60’s song cover too.The original was a typical british “freakbeat” song by the Syndicats (you can find it in the “The Demention of Sound,british beat/ r & b , 1964-1965″ compilation album)



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