Various Artists

Green Crystal Ties, Vol. 8: Stomping Garage Band Legends

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The title of this volume sort of sums up its characteristics -- there's not much lyricism here, just frantic playing and lots of teen alienation from either society or girlfriends. The Unrelated Segments' "Where You Gonna Go" does recall the 13th Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me" without the catchy hooks or charismatic, Howlin' Wolf-style lead performance; the Shandells, Inc. managed to get the shimmering fuzz-tone and organ-dominated sounds of "Say What I Mean" and "Just Cry" onto the otherwise country and gospel-dominated Woodrich Records label out of Nashville in 1966. In this company, the Mixed Emotions out of Florida sound almost too classy on the mournful yet reflective "Marie" and "I Lied," which owe as much to 1966-style folk-rock as they do to any garage punk source -- one wonders if they sounded this good on-stage and, if so, why they didn't get further than this. Another mystery, in terms of their being missing in action, are the Innsmen out of Michigan, who had a better, harder attack on their instruments, incorporating the basics of the surf guitar sound into their punk posturings, and boasted a forceful, charismatic singer as well. Less distinctive but still entertaining is Carrols Mood -- which pales when sandwiched between the Innsmen and the legendary Outcasts ("I'm in Pittsburgh and It's Raining"), who had what it took to carve an exalted place for themselves in garage punk history. The Headstones out of McAllen, TX, are worth hearing for the strange moments of almost delicate harmonizing on the pulsing, frustration-laden "Bad Day Blues." Whoever the Apollos were, they get points for spirit if not originality with raw and raunchy renditions of the Standells' "Dirty Water" and the Animals' "I'm Crying" -- they at least try to add some high harmony singing to the latter to distinguish it from its source. As with the rest of this series, the notes are a little sketchy, owing to the uncertain memberships, histories, and recording dates of much of the material.

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