Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1996

Rhino’s third box set in the Nuggets series covers garage-rock’s second go-around, concentrating heavily on material from the ’80s, an era wherein synth-pop, arena-rock, and hip-hop ruled the airwaves, and playing a guitar or a vintage organ seemed like a true act of rebellion. Unlike the current White Stripes/Hives epoch (or the days of the Standells, for that matter), few of these songs became hits, which was the whole point. The snarling bravado of DMZ’s Jeff Connolly, the raging fuzz of the Cynics’ “Baby What’s Wrong,” and the frightening thrust of the Cramps’ “New Kind of Kick” all seemed to sneer in the face of capitalism. That said, four discs of distortion and grit would’ve proved wearisome. Thankfully, Children of Nuggets cocompiler and El Cerrito resident Alec Palao chose a vast swath of ’60s-inspired stuff, from the tuneful power-pop of the Spongetones and the Paisley Underground psych of Rain Parade to the rough rock of the Swingin’ Neckbreakers and the no-wavy surfstrumentals of the Raybeats. The CDs showcase a nice balance of no-fi outfits like the Mummies, Nashville Ramblers, and the Point with the radio-ready material of the Bangles, Dukes of Stratosphear, and the Church, leaving room for plenty of other bands in between. My only quibble (and quibbling is what these collections are all about) is with the inclusion of multiple tunes by several acts, which takes up space that could’ve been reserved for other fine groups, such as the Real Kids or the Sneetches or … you get the idea.

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