Various Artists

Smash up Derby: The Gearhead Records

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As long as there have been independent record labels, there have been budget-priced samplers designed to promote bands on the roster. Smash up Derby, from San Francisco's Gearhead Records, is the quintessential independent-label compilation. It includes at least one track from each band on the label, plus valuable bonus material. Best of all, it's cheap, coming in at only five dollars. One look at the names of the bands on Smash up Derby, and it's easy to see what you're getting for your sawbuck: loud, fast, and grimy rock & roll. Imagine a Russ Meyer film scored by the best bar bands ever, and you're getting close to defining the label's sound. Smash up Derby includes tracks from numerous garage rock heavyweights, including the Hives, the Hellacopters, and the Flaming Sideburns, as well as the Donnas and the New Bomb Turks. The Pinkz, Hard Feelings, the Sewergrooves, and the Maggots also contribute catalog tracks, some of which are culled from long-out-of-print Gearhead 7"s. Finally, Smash Up features two unreleased songs: "And She Said Yes" from the New Bomb Turks and "You Don't Want My Name" from "Demons." Neither track is available anywhere else. For fans of the genre, Smash Up is a long look back at some of Gearhead's greatest moments. For novices, it's an economical beer-shower induction into the crazy world of garage rock & roll.

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