Various Artists

Psychedelic Microdots, Vol. 2: Texas Twisted

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From the great state of Texas comes this handful of psychedelic relics and long lost classic performances. The reissue mavens and tape vault archaeologists at Sundazed Music corralled nearly an hour of hard to find and previously unreleased trippy garage rock on this second volume of their Psychedelic Microdots triptych. Along with the more obscure acts such as the Living End and the Menerals, the undeniable centerpieces of Texas Twisted are the recordings that feature Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators. These ten cuts were documented live in the studios of Dallas television station WFFA for the criminally short-lived Sump'n Else teen dance program, which was akin to a decidedly hipper version of American Bandstand. The show was locally produced and broadcast weekdays between Labor Day 1965 and February of 1968. Surprisingly, the surviving recordings sound remarkably fresh, no doubt thanks to the painstaking remastering efforts of producer Bob Irwin. In keeping with the unspoken tradition of burgeoning teen rock combos, the Elevators included copious cover material -- such as rousing readings of Van Morrison's garage rock anthem "Gloria" as well as Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" and the Kinks' "You Really Got Me." However, what separates the Elevators from many of their contemporaries is the strength of their original tunes -- four of which are featured here. As these live sides are divided between two respective appearances on Sump'n Else, both "Fire Engine" as well as their signature tune, "You're Gonna Miss Me," were performed during both. The band bristles with a blend of unrefined garage rock power and ethereal psychedelia -- particularly evident on "Tried to Hide," a definitive precursor to grunge. A rare and brief interview between Tommy Hall and the show's host, Ron Chapman, reveals the origins of Hall's amplified jug (no, really) playing. The remainder of this volume highlights several lesser-known groups -- such as the Living End and the Menerals -- who were somewhat typical in their incorporation of unique remakes rather than original material. However, instead of ploughing through top pop hits, they delve into deep cuts from the Rolling Stones ("Empty Heart"), the Creation ("Making Time"), and the Byrds ("Captain Soul"). Likewise, these are fueled and inspired tracks that reveal a roughness and aggression comparatively lost on the originals. The Southwest F.O.B. comes up aces with its sole contribution, "Green Skies," which is bathed in the group's trademark dark Farfisa-driven instrumental work and multi-layered vocal harmonies. Enthusiasts should likewise be aware that Sundazed reissued the band's sole long-player, Smell of Incense (1968), and included several tracks previously available only on 7" singles. This volume should be considered a no-brainer for fanciers of ephemeral psych and gritty garage rock.

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