Various Artists

Last of the Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-2

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Lenny Kaye started the mania for collecting overlooked garage punk classics with his superlative 1972 compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, and more than four decades later, garage rock collectors are still pouring out collections of rare vinyl singles documenting snarky teens bashing out rock & roll in their parents' basements or garages in the mid-'60s. One can't help but wonder if the well will ever run dry on such things, and Tim Warren, Crypt Records founder and the man behind the outstanding Back from the Grave series, seems to be suggesting that vintage garage material is becoming a dwindling resource in the title of 2015's Last of the Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-2. But if there are fewer hidden treasures out there, Warren is still going a bang-up job of digging up choice obscurities, and this set features 29 fine if little-known rock & roll sides full of cheap guitars, pounding drums, and adolescent snark. While most of these tracks lean to the more melodic and less fuzzy end of the garage spectrum, the attitude is still plenty ferocious on most tunes, and these performances stomp hard. The Electric Sensation speak with eloquent annoyance about a gal named "Mary," the Krels chart the previously undiscovered link between some yeti-like creature and acid rock on "Psychedelic Feelin'," the Colonials cram many possible double meanings into "Crawdad," "Careless Love" by Our Gang delivers plenty of menace along with some quality harp work and reverb-drenched guitar, the Expressions let loose with all sorts of romantic teen angst on "One More Night," and the Dirt Merchants show just how much they love the song "Little Black Egg" on "I Found Another Girl." As usual for Crypt's anthology releases, the sound quality is quite good on this material, and while Warren hasn't been able to track down information on all the artists, what is here is well researched and fun to read. It's impossible to say how much more of this stuff remains undiscovered, but Last of the Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-2 shows there's still great music out there that most '60s rock mavens have yet to hear. (And since Vols. 3-4 is in the works, this isn't the end of the line just yet.)

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