Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Garage Rock... The Final Frontier

Today, I thought that it might be fun to look at a couple of 60's garage discs that share a label name. I'm not sure how many Star Trek imprints sprang up in the wake of the TV series but here are a couple of different ones.

The Xtreems - "Facts of Life"/"Substitute" This Star Trek label was out of St. Louis and stuck around long enough to release at least one more garage item, I'm pretty sure. The Xtreems disc dates from 1966/67 and is common enough that a copy should be around for pretty cheap. The record is notable for its very heavy use of fuzz guitar that's turned up way louder than anything else. "Facts of Life" is, I believe, a band original and a good punker, with the singer lamenting he and his baby having to conform to society's rules during the day. But at night, it's Katie bar the door and no amount of talk from anyone is gonna make him see things differently. The fuzz kicks off the record and then comes back mostly at the end of each verse to drive home the point. There's also a short wah-wah session after the second verse and the singer gets off a good scream right near the end. The flipside is a version of the Who classic, also featuring intermittent loud fuzz and some cool organ. I've noted a few garage fans ripping on this record, primarily I assume for the overdriven fuzz guitar effect. But I'm on record as liking it a lot.

The Unknown Kind - "Who Cares"/"Since You've Come Back To Me" Now, this Star Trek label is a tad more obscure. The record itself seems fairly common but I'm not sure of any other releases on the Lorain, Ohio imprint. The Unknown Kind were probably native to the area. "Who Cares" is a bit of a brooding punker, with a nice, albeit short, guitar break. The lead vocal is somewhat snotty and is similar in tone to the above "Facts of Life", with the singer not caring what people think about him growing his hair, etc. Someone else joins in on vocals during each chorus. The drums pound and the guitar sounds very primitive. Over on the b-side, "Since You've Come Back To Me" is more upbeat and this time the organ gets a workout. There's a nice beat and the vocals are still in the snotty range. Both sides of the record are crudely recorded, almost as though the band were playing down the hall from tape machine. It's definitely an all around, lo-fi affair. Given the two songs in question, that's not entirely a bad thing.


Stephen M.H. Braitman said...

Would you kindly have Brian Marshall contact me at braitman@mindspring.com? I want to send him a tear sheet of an article I wrote in Discoveries magazine about Moe, Adrian & The Sculptors. I quoted him in the article from his blog post. Thank you.

Rob Branigin said...

holy crap!! "star trek" labels...truly a bizarre couple of finds. where did you score these, anyway?

spock should have hooked up a vox fuzz to his vulcan harp. he was sounding decidedly garcia-ish when he jammed with those space hippies...he was HERBERT.

we reach?

Todd Lucas said...

Rob, I think both of these were had at Indy record shows. I've had them both for a few years.