There are people out there who will tell you rock finally rolled over and died in or around 1982, but if that’s the case, then bands on this compilation were dancing on its coffin lid, cocking a snook at its executioners, and suggesting that second opinion was very definitely called for. – Nigel Cross
In short, Nuggets is a graveyard of 80’s underground bands that didn’t make it. They all came from a period when rock was as dead as a door nail. Record companies controlled everything, metal was taking over, pop was just becoming image, and the music industry was making music for all the wrong reasons.
It may have seemed they were destined to fail, and for the most part, they did. Bands playing jangle pop, psychedelic, and power pop in an era where disco and hair metal ruled was not exactly a good idea if music was your income. But these bands played the music for all the right reasons. They were the defenders of what rock and roll stood for. With a 12-sting guitar as their sword and a crash cymbal as their shield, they fought for what rock really meant. The underground had many warriors. Its network was full blown and spread across America, and in the 80’s it was close to exploding to mainstream. Lots of activity in the west coast out to Arizona produced bands like Green On Red and it spread to Middle American cities like Milwaukee (Plasticland) and to the eastern seaboard from Boston (Lyres) down to Baltimore (United States Of Existence).
The Atlantic didn’t shield this movement either. Australia produced fine acts like Died Pretty, The Lime Spiders, and The Stems. New Zealand boasted The Chills. France, Germany, and Austria all had garage bands of their own. Scandinavia was the leader in the Europe underground, namely Sweden who had such rockers as The Creeps, Watermelon Men, and the most brutal and one the best garage bands of all time, The Nomads.
England was toughest for the underground, but produced fine acts like Mickey And The Milkshakes and The Cannibals. The 80’s was definitely turning into one of the most exciting moments in rock history. And all of this led up to what Nigel Cross liked to call a “David and Goliath battle.” Only this time Goliath won. Only few bands made it large and were signed (R.E.M. comes to mind) the rest of the bands were left to die. Till this day they remain obscure and at most forgotten by the mainstream.
Nuggets is a memorial for the bands that fought for rocks true meaning. They played music so it could be heard, not to get money. Having their name in print and playing a gig for the sake of music was 1000 times more important than money. And you can hear on this compilation the true glory of the underground of 1976-1996, and how they maintained that precious attitude that rock and roll was.
The music on Nuggets may seem like they would be locked to a certain time period and fans would have little taste for bands that were defined by the 60’s. But its not, the music on here is immortal. Psychedelic may have died in the 60’s, but these bands decided to use their voodoo music magic to revive it. A vast collection of psychedelic is assembled for Nuggets. Everything from Primal Scream’s hazy Gentle Tuesday, to The Dukes Of Stratosphere’s Vanishing Girl can be found here. Nuggets is a vocal harmony, glittering keyboard, dancy drum beat monstrosity.
The psychedelic section is best represented by underground heroes, The Flamin’ Groovies. The guitars glow and the vocals produce that druggy effect so commonly associated with psychedelic music. The absolutely fantastic Died Pretty have their song Out of The Unknown showcasing a more guitar focused psychedelic and bands like, The Three O’clock, Chris Stamey And The dB’s, and The Nashville Ramblers carry the psychedelic torch high.
Garage rock thrives on nuggets too. The gritty attitude and angst of garage brings some rawness into this mix. And as Little Steven so boldly says “it’s the purest form of rock and roll”. And that’s not far from the truth. The fuzzy guitars, fast drumming, and slack jaw singing are all attributes to garage and bands like The Soft Boys definitely know how to rock out the garage way. The Godfathers’ This Da
mn Nation is so rockin’ it demands you to play air guitar. The Lime Spiders’ Slave Girl is just one of those astoundingly cool songs. You have to wear shades while listening to it. The Lipstick Killers’ Hindu Gods Of Love makes you want to take out a cigarette and throw on that leather jacket that’s been gathering dust. Without a doubt, Children of Nuggets is one of the coolest albums of all time.
Power pop and jangle pop shimmer and shine on Nuggets. The 12-string guitars strumming and the bouncy 6-string are abundant within Nuggets. The La’s show their 60’s influence by covering the Beatles’ There She Goes and giving it that jangle pop touch. The Hoodoo Guns turn the volume up for their pounding power pop and Green On Red maintain their psychedelic roots while playing their fuzzy power pop. A lot of these bands are heavily influenced by 60’s bands, but that doesn’t stop them from making a great original song.
Mickey And The Milkshakes, Screaming Trees, and Teenage all fought for what rock was. They may have lost making it into the mainstream, but they ultimately won by making some of the greatest music ever. The Funseekers name associates well with these bands. Its fun music, it puts a smile on your face. It’s some of the most enjoyable rock music I’ve heard in a long time, and will probably ever here in a long time.
Children Of Nuggets follows in the footstep of Nuggets as the most important box set of all time. It has saved hundreds of bands from disappearing and being forgotten. It’s trying to remind people what true rock was like and what it stood for, and I have reason to believe its working. Rock is working its way back from the grave with help of garage revivalists The White Stripes and The Hives, and one time or another, they were most likely influenced and inspired by the bands on this box set. Sure garage may not have had the most accomplished musicians, or even ones that were original, but they kept the attitude that makes rock and roll, and fought for what it stood for, even till the death of their band.
And on the seventh day God took his rest from all the work which he had done. And God saw everything which he had made, and behold it, it was very good. But he realized something was missing. So on the eighth day he took a look at rock and roll and found it was becoming pretentious and self-important and boring and he created garage.
And it was not always particularly original and the musicians not always particularly accomplished and it would receive very little respect, as it would usually be found on small independent labels. But God gave the singers a permanent snotty adolescence and infused the entire genre with the essence of what rock and roll is all about – attitude, anger, angst, anxiety, frustration, bravado, guitars, fuzztones, and Farfisa organs
And it was cool – Little Steven
Amen brutha, Amen.