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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Illegitimate Spawn: The Fuzztones Tribute Album (2CD, Sin Records)

Posted: November 9th, 2006, by Simon Minter

The Fuzztones have been ploughing their determined furrow through the, uh, fields of 60s-styled garage punk since the early eighties. It’s fitting that this tribute is in the form of a compilation, as so much of the freakbeat, psychedelia and caveman-stomp garage that will have influenced them will, I’m sure, have been filtered down to them by way of countless other compilations. Nuggets, the Pebbles and Rubble series, and so many more in an endless stream of collected musical ‘artyfacts’ have brought an avalanche of once-unknown acts to new audiences.

And so it is here across these two CDs . Whilst there are some better known (nay, legendary) carriers of the garage flame on here – Jayne County, Plasticland, The Morlochs and Nikki Sudden, for example – they’re mixed in with a pile of other, less familiar names. The original 60s compilations were inevitably uneven in parts, with varying levels of songwriting skill, recording quality and experiment, and this is also true of Illegitimate Spawn. However, the 42 tracks here are shot true with an irresistible spirit and unwavering adherence to a world of psychedelic mini-skirts, whacked-out organ licks and drug-damaged mayhem.

There are many highlights for me across the two CDs. Mad Juana’s ‘Idol Chatter’ is a raga-drenched foray into mystery and stoned eastern vibes, a style continued with tracks from Gondolieri and Special Agents. There’s freaked-out punk and keyboard-heavy madness with Fuzz Faces, She Wolves and The Sextress. There’s even authentic horror-style desperation (in the vein of The Monks, The Sonics and early Seeds) from Staggers, Blues So Bad and Ravens.

There are artists from around the world featured here – representing France, Brazil, Austria, Italy, USA, England, Argentina, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Germany, Finland and Peru – and it’s impressive to know that there are so many likeminded groups still out there. This is a great compilation, and the highest praise I can give it is to say that it lines up totally comfortably alongside my Pebbles, my Rubble and my Chocolate Soup For Diabetics records. These bands are totally out of step with modern music, and they’re all the better for it.

Sin Records/The Fuzztones

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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