Various Artists – WarfRat Tales (Unabridged)

Tracks Form The Murky Bowels Of L.A.

Even though the original “abridged” version of this comp was released way back in 1983, during the days of birth of the L.A. “Paisley underground” scene, another one of it’s subtitles, which goes “13 (9 originally) more L.A. bands, when you thought you’d heard them all”, is still pretty accurate, considering the fact that most of them remained buried in those same murky bowels.

A couple of them, however, became some of the most frequently referred to, in the reviews of anything contemporary that has something to do with ’60-inspired guitar-oriented popsike. This is also one of those occasions, when the “garage-rock” phrase can be used in it’s most appropriate way, since all of the tracks were recorded by Vitus Matare in the same garage on Lyceum Ave., also his own band’s (The Last) rehearsal place, with some of the future Paisley Pop originators laying down their first attempts at punky ‘60s revival.

Not everything here is really my cup of tea, but then again, some of it still make it an essential listening. THE LAST deliver either their usual harmony-fuelled moody folk-rocking jangle (Anything That’s Out There), recalling the unsung heroes of the local scene, The Dovers, or the sound of the mid’60s garage punk-gonin’-slightlydelic (Try To Rise), which is exactly what THE LEAVING TRAINS’ Creeping Coastline Of Lights and THE RAIN PARADE’s Look Both Ways sound like, with the latter also contributing another one of the album’s highlights with the “revolving” Beatlism I Look Around.

Others names that should ring a bell, might be WEDNESDAY WEEK, delivering a pair of new-wave-ish psychedelicate power-pop numbers (Boy You Got Me Good, Anyone Like Me) and of course THE GUN CLUB, featured with the usually dark, punky surf twang (Fire Of Love).

The ones that came “when I thought I’d heard them all”, were THE QUESTION? with their mod-infused r’n’beat (Brand New World, One More Time), HECTOR & THE CLOCKWATCHERS’ quirky upbeat popsike (Octavia, Mishap At Greebsley’s), the punky folk rock of THE UP & OUT’s I’m Learning and the equally punky little piece of spy-soundtrack-like Stop The Clock by EARWIGS.

So, as murky as they were, the L.A. bowels with the above content were sure enough to lead you to the light at the end of it back then, and they will most certainly do the same these days, taking you twenty plus years back.

[Released by Avebury 2005]

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