I like a good compilation, especially the sort of indie/small label ones that lump together groups of seldom (if ever) heard bands. And I have a soft spot for the 1980s. So when I found this 1983 comp of current garage/psych bands over at Philly’s Sit & Spin Records, I didn’t have to think too hard about whether or not to buy it. I like the genre, the time period is right, plus I recognized The Nomads, so what the hell.
Turned out to be a great decision on my part, as whoever curated this thing put together an impressive 14-band roster that covers a range of different subgenres within the overall garage/psych category. From the pure fuzz guitars on The Nomads’ “Have Love Will Travel” to the rockabilly of The Viceroys’ “7 Come 11” to the pure 60s classic stylings of The Unclaimed, it’s a solid effort start to finish. My favorite is “Elongations” by Plasticland, sort of a psych/glam blend that reminds me more than a little of an early version of Seattle’s own Mother Love Bone. Honorable mention to The Point for “All My Life,” featuring a male/female singing duo that captures the best elements of The Vaselines, but does so without the later bands sometimes intentionally amateurish sound.
The Rebel Kind is a winner start to finish, so if you find a used copy floating around out there for a fair price, do yourself a favor and latch on to it.
If you told me that The Nomads put out Outburst in the late 1960s, I would have totally believed you. They play stripped down, lo-fi garage psych… except they started playing it in the early 1980s… in Sweden. Huh. Go figure.
The proto-punk garage style of the 1960s is one that has always captivated me. The combination of psych, distortion, and feedback played in a sort of poppish style has a lot going for it, and The Nomads come pretty close to perfecting the sound, adding in elements of surf and rockabilly when it suits their needs. Outburst (1984)opens with a very pop sounding “They Way You Touch My Hand,” reminding me of bands like The Birds and The Vaselines with it’s trippy, poppy hooks and vocals. Contrast that with the rawness, speed, and 50s style rockabilly on “Real Gone Lover,” the instrumental surf track “Rat Fink A Boo-Boo,” the sort of Clash-esque “Bangkok,” and the proto Gun Club “Stranger Blues,” and you’ve got a band that’s sort of all over the place. But in a good way.
All the vocals are in English, making The Nomads very approachable and a must for fans of the Pebbles albums and those into stuff like the White Stripes and the Gun Club.