Various Artists

History of Northwest Rock, Vol. 4: Battle of the Bands [Jerden]

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While Etiquette Records was easily the most crazed of the many labels documenting the Pacific Northwest rock & roll scene in the 1960s, its rival, the Jerden imprint, had more than their share of great acts, and Jerden even released the third and final album from Washington's greatest-ever rock band, the Sonics (and yes, that does include Nirvana). History of Northwest Rock, Vol. 4: Battle of the Bands features 25 tunes from the Jerden vaults, and while little of this matches the frenzy of the Sonics or the Wailers at their peak, this is an above-average collection of garage rock-styled rave-ups. For sheer sleaze, George Washington & the Cherry Bombs take top honors with the remarkable "Crisco Party," followed closely by "Owl and the Pussycat" by the Bards (whose lead singer really enjoys saying the word "pussy"). The Sonics are in relatively subdued form on their two cuts, "Like No Other Man" and "Maintaining My Cool," but they have plenty of attitude and sound just fine. Beer-bustin' frat rock is the order of the day for City Limits and the Mercy Boys, while the glossier and more lysergic sounds that were a few years down the road are anticipated by the Dynamics on "I'll Be Standing There." Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers and the Imperials crank out some nasty fuzz guitar, and while Don & the Goodtimes and Sir Raleigh & the Coupons were just serving up covers for the kids, they played 'em with style and flair (and the latter is one of the greatest-'60s garage rock band names ever). History of Northwest Rock, Vol. 4: Battle of the Bands is yet another fix for garage rock junkies out there, but the stuff is good enough to make devotees plenty happy.

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