Various Be A Caveman - The Best Of The Voxx Garage Revival

The Voxx label, an offshoot of Bomp Records, was responsible for a large part of the '80s garage rock revival, and this disc culls 27 tracks of the finest from the 66 LPs they released. With a pool of prospects that large, you'd better be able to deliver a killer comp. They have. It opens with the Vertebrats' "Left In The Dark," one of the great lost '80s singles. It's a smoking combination of the Shadows Of Knight and Flamin' Groovies that was good enough for the Replacements to cover. The Crawdaddy's, the first band signed to Voxx, offer a terrifically garage-y cover of the Velvet Underground's "There She Goes Again," and the Pandoras, who'd later morph into the Muffs, redo "Gloria" as "Melvin." The Hypstrz's "Midnight Hour" would've reduced the Jam to little more than a pair of slightly singed, smoking shoes. We get lost gems like the Time Being's "Why Don't You Love Me," the band's only released track; the Unclaimed, featuring future Long Ryder, Sid Griffin; and Surf trio's poppy "Fun In The Summer." We also get garage legends like DMZ, with a pre-Lyres Jeff "Monoman" Connolly; the Fuzztones and the Chesterfield King's, with a dandy Chocolate Watchband cover. Most of it's less metallic and grungy than the garage bands of today on labels like Estrus. Inspiration comes from the original wave of Nuggets-era bands, and most tracks feature hard-charging guitars, pumping keyboards and snotty vocals. The only dogs to be found are Eye's Of Mind's slick quasi-psychedelia and the Steppes Beatley Music Hall tripe. Otherwise, it's pure rocking bliss. (Voxx)