Various Artists

Aliens, Psychos & Wild Things, Vol. 2

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Like the first compilation in this series, the focus of this collection of regional garage/psych singles from the '60s covers Virginia, in this case looking more at the north of the state, near the D.C. area and elsewhere. As with the predecessor, it's a fun labor of love -- besides packing the disc full of goodies, including a slew of never released cuts, the compilers have a lot of photos and band stories to offer. One statement says it all: "True fans want the human side, not just the sides on old 45s." There are a few numbers that cropped up elsewhere, but the liner notes promise cleaner transfers and indeed everything sounds pretty darn good throughout, given both the recording conditions and the need to transfer from vinyl at points. The general musical flavor remains pretty much the same -- there's nothing really deathless throughout the 25 songs on the compilation, but all the vaunted energy and good times ascribed to the American garage explosion has a fine echo here. Standouts include the nervy "Jump, Jack, Jump" by the Miller Brothers, with some just threatening enough vocals on the verses, and a fairly echoey but still excitable enough take on the Yardbirds' "You're a Better Man Than I" by the Nite Beats. There are a lot of numbers that were clearly designed first and foremost for the local dances and gigs just about all these bands thrived on -- the Live Wires' "Scrambled Eggs" and the murkily recorded but still sharp "Let Me Take You Down" by the Uprisers are two good examples. Two brothers, Larry and Stanley Burnell, crop up in a number of bands and as producers along the way -- being a pretty good rhythm section obviously made their services in demand!

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