Taking Brit blues invaders like Them, the Animals, and the Yardbirds as a template, not to mention plenty of '60s garage inspiration, San Diego's Tell-Tale Hearts forged a fairly original beat homage between 1983-1986. A bit too gritty and blues-based to really fit in with L.A.'s contemporary Byrds and pop-psychedelia revival (the Rain Parade, the Three O'Clock, Plasticland), the Hearts only cut one album, an EP, and a smattering of singles and live tracks. This anthology brings together a handful of songs from their eponymous debut LP (including an outtake and some remixes), all of their Now Sound EP, five early demos, a few live cuts, and an Australian single. Compiled by bassist Mike Stax and featuring the snider-than-Van Morrison vocals of Ray Brandes, the 21-track collection includes studio highlights like "(You're A) Dirty Liar" and "Me Needing You," as well as some super lo-fi demo covers and a live rendition of the Seeds' "Satisfy You." The place to start and most likely end your Tell-Tall Hearts shopping spree.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook