Various Artists

Northwest Battle of the Bands, Vol. 1: Flash and Crash [Beat Rocket/Sundazed]

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If it wasn't for the likes of the Sonics (who kick off this album with their pumping "Like No Other Man"), the Sub Pop grunge craze of the early '90s would have never happened. Everyone from Nirvana through to the Young Fresh Fellows have raised their hats to these proto-Seattle punks from the mid-'60s who broke free from the shackles of conservative America (the bobby sox phase!) with the toughest and most belligerent music heard since Jerry Lee Lewis. It still sounds a hell of a lot meaner than what passes as punk today, too. The "Northwest sound" was kick-started by the Jerry Dennon production of the Kingsmen's "Louie, Louie." The record was a hit! A myth! Was it rude? (What did those gabbled lyrics mean?) Why was it so loud? Whatever parents and superiors thought, the young'uns loved it. From this hysteria a whole new teen music was born, and Dennon formed a number of labels that focused on a similarly disfranchised sound. On both Flash and Crash and Knock You Flat, Sundazed collects the greatest Northwest garage punk moments ever recorded (with a smattering of tougher-than-the-norm pop, folk-rock, and psych sides thrown in for good measure).

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