Various Artists

Ugly Things, Vol. 1-3

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U.S. and U.K. audiences were totally unaware at the time, but Australia was home to a thriving garage-punk scene in the mid-'60s. The scope and output of these groups were limited by the country's population, which was only about 15 million or somewhat less, after all. But there was a surprisingly large number of fine singles, some of which measured up to the manic, over-the-top R&B-derived energy of anything coming from Texas, California, or London. Volume 1 is by far the best of the series and, indeed, one of the best '60s garage compilations ever, filled with good hooks, screams, and crunching riffs. The second and third volumes aren't nearly as good, peppered with undistinguished covers and unmemorable tracks, although some excellent ones do surface, including some from neighboring New Zealand; the best of these two LPs should have been combined into one. Raven has put out a best-of compilation CD from the Ugly Things series that draws from all of the volumes and adds some other cuts.

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