Fronted by the eccentric charms of Sky Saxon, the Seeds were one of the most popular bands cruising Southern California’s fertile music scene of the late ’60s. Stationed in Los Angeles, the group formed in 1964 and also included Jan Savage on guitar, Daryl Hooper on organ and Rick Andridge on drums.
Considering the massive amount of exposure the Seeds have received within the garage-rock community, as their songs and long players have been reprised over and over again throughout the years, it may be challenging for fans of the band to listen to the latest resurrection of their first album — no matter how cool and fascinating it is — with fresh ears. But I must say, this reissue sits head and shoulders above what went before. Aside from featuring several worthy bonus tracks, the sonic quality is stunning and a huge booklet telling us all about the group further clinches the deal.
Originally released on the GNP Crescendo label in 1966, The Seeds (Big Beat Records) not only proved to be wildly unique back then, but even today it inhabits a space and place all its own. A few basic guitar chords, the insistent squeal of a reedy organ and clattering drums were the chief components of the band’s exterior, leading to a style dripping with minimalism magnitude. Sky’s vocals whined and snarled with validity, while the tooting wail of a harmonica gave the group’s material a bluesy feel.
Early 1967 saw the Seeds seize nationwide attention with “Pushin’ Too Hard,” which peaked at the No. 36 spot on the charts and would be the band’s biggest hit single. The classic tune, rigged with Sky’s signature scowl and the group’s appealingly raw performance, appears on “The Seeds,” as well as comparably infectious cuts like the moping pleas of “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine” and “Try To Understand,” while “No Escape” and “Evil Hoodoo” are executed with the kind of manic and intense energy characterizing the surly punk acts a decade or so down the line.
Although The Seeds sports a tendency towards repetition, the album is actually rinsed in revolutionary measures. So many other bands of the era were attempting to be as complex as possible, but these guys stuck to a simple script and benefited from doing so. The music of the Seeds caught fire with both Top 40 record buyers and the hippies, and worked the same magic on future generations who prefer sounds that are raunchy and real.