Stay tuned for my list of reissue faves from 2012, from Evol to SRC, from True Hearts to the Ventures, presented as always in alphabetical order. After all, who can really choose, with so many great sounds?
Click through the artists and album titles for in-depth reviews …
EVERY MOTHER’S SON – COME ON DOWN: THE COMPLETE MGM RECORDINGS: Seemingly here today and gone tomorrow, Every Mother’s Son scored a huge hit single in 1967 with the terminally cute and catchy “Come On Down To My Boat Baby,” that in my opinion, rates as one of the greatest pop songs ever laid to vinyl. But as “Come On Down: The Complete MGM Recordings” so boldly attests, the band cooked up a clutch of comparably clinging tracks on par with the harmony-dappled delights of the likes of the Hollies, the Turtles and the Monkees.
EVOL – EVOL: You would never know the songs on this disc were recorded in 1970 because the sound and feel backpedals to an earlier era. But such a comment is high praise, as “Evol” fuses firm folk rock figures ala the Grass Roots and Buffalo Springfield with generous doses of Cyrkle styled pop sensibilities, resulting in a stirring slice of ear candy.
HOMER – HOMER: Containing the band’s lone album from 1970 in its entirety, along with singles and previously unreleased material, “Homer” is a wonderful tribute to an amazing band that played a bedazzling brand of hard-fisted psychedelic rock with occasional southern-fried angles and jangles.
THE KNICKERBOCKERS – LIES: When “Lies” ripped the airwaves in the final days of 1965, many a listener believed it was the latest disc from John, Paul, George and Ringo, and it’s easy to hear why. And the whole album is just as Beatlesque as the classic single, which is of course not a bad thing at all. Top grade guitar pop and then some!
THE SEEDS – THE SEEDS: Honest to goodness garage rock, performed by a troupe of hairy hipsters that not only benefited from their economic approach, but were incredibly inventive in the process. Take three basic chords, nail them to a wall of leering vocals dripping with rebellion, a touch of Sunset Strip flavored blues and hyperactive keyboard action, and there you have the raw but righteous 1966 debut album by the Seeds.
THE SKEPTICS – COMPLETE EARLY YEARS 1965-69: Reigning supreme as Oklahoma’s most popular band, the Skeptics especially excelled when engaging in gritty garage punk grub. Traces of the Standells and the Shadows of Knight spring to mind, but the band was no one trick pony, as they also skillfully mined ballads, folk pop and horn rock.
SRC – SRC/MILESTONES/TRAVELER’S TALE: During their livelihood, SRC recorded three spellbinding albums, which are included on this two disc collection. Images of the Doors flourish throughout the bleak and brooding SRC (1968), a progressive pop stance mans the wheel on Milestones (1969) and Traveler’s Tale swells with stupendous hard rock moves. The epitome of brilliance!
TRUE HEARTS – TRUE HEARTS: Punchy power pop from 1980 wielded in the spirit of the Who, Raspberries and Romantics, but bestowing enough originality to rise above intentional imitation. The vocals beam with confidence, the hooks are infectious and the band is totally together and balanced.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – MAINSTREAM RECORDS: A PSYCH-POP COMPENDIUM: Despite its moniker, the Mainstream label, for the most part, directed its energy towards the quirky bands of the late 60s rather than those purposely peddling commercial fare. Mainstream Records: A Psych-Pop Compendium supplies a nice look at a sampling of the acts bound to the roster, with cuts from Tiffany Shade, the Amboy Dukes, Bohemian Vendetta, Ellie Pop, the Jelly Bean Bandits, Maxx, the Six Pentz and Fever Tree holding ground as select nuggets. Fun, freaky and frequently frivolous, the two record set captures a time when experimentation was encouraged and anything was possible.
THE VENTURES – WILD THINGS!: Gods of instrumental guitar rock, the Ventures get as groovy as groovy gets on “Wild Things!,” which initially arrived in the shops in 1966. Slinking, sliding, swaggering and shaking with swarms of swinging rhythms, the album is ideal to wiggle your booty to or pluck air guitar to, depending on your preference. Cheesy but cool, Wild Things! is indeed pretty wild!