Various Artists

Be a Caveman: The Best of the Voxx Garage Revival

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From 1979 onward, the Voxx label has been the home of more 1960s garage revivalist bands than any other company, although the label's activities tapered off in the early '90s. This is a 27-song survey of Voxx's output (excluding the actual '60s garage bands whose material it reissued occasionally). Many of these names were among the best-known groups in this rather insular movement, such as DMZ, the Crawdaddys, the Barracudas, Plan 9, the Unclaimed, the Pandoras, the Tell Tale Hearts, the Fuzztones, the Cynics, and the Chesterfield Kings. There are a few names that might be unfamiliar to those steeped in the style, like the Time Beings, the Leopards, the Event, and the Laughing Soup Dish. But even if you're the purist who only wants to hear the original 1960s garage recordings, you'll probably recognize most of these bands, if only because so many of them advertised in (and wrote for) fanzines detailing obscure 1960s garage music. The music on this disc? It's a cliché by now to note that it's not as exciting as the obscure 1960s recordings it's modeled on, but that's no less valid a statement than it ever was. Those songs that are covers of old nuggets don't match the original versions; much of the original material sounds like form without the content. Some non-standard garage influences peek through occasionally, such as surf, punk, and polished late-'60s British psychedelia, but for the most part it's bluesy, simple 1966-style ranting. The Leopards' late-'60s Kinks-style vaudeville-mod satire "Psychedelic Boy" really stands out (refreshingly so) in this context as something a little different. Should you want just one overview sampler of the genre, though, this -- despite the absence of some of the more celebrated names, such as the Lyres -- has got to be the best one out there.

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