Track Listing CD 1 1 The New Breed - Wasting My Time (Worcester, MA, U.S.A.) 2 The Lost - Everybody Knows (Boston, MA, U.S.A.) 3 Bourbons - Alyshia (U.S.A.) 4 The Rising Storm - Baby Please Don't Go (Andover, MA, U.S.A.) 5 Rich Weinberg - Pandora Wants Strange (U.S.A.) 6 The Four Commandments - Can You Get Me Out Of This Place (Boston, MA, U.S.A.) 7 Dry Ice - Mary Is Alone (Revere, MA, U.S.A.) 8 Lazy Smoke - You Gave Me Light (Boston, MA, U.S.A.) 9 The Lost - More Incidental Music (Boston, MA, U.S.A.) 10 Flat Earth Society - Satori (Lynwood, MA, U.S.A.) 11 The Litter - Action Woman (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.) 12 The Litter - Tallyman (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.) 13 Those Of Us - Without You (Sioux Falls, SD, U.S.A.) 14 Steve Ellis & The Starfires - Pride Of A Man (Pipestone, MN, U.S.A.) 15 Dee Jay & The Runaways - unknown (Spirit Lake, IA, U.S.A.) 16 Chuck Barr & The Playboys - Espanie'l (PA, U.S.A.) 17 The Yankee Rebels - I Can't Take It (Pottsville, PA, U.S.A.) 18 Traditions - My Life With You (PA, U.S.A.) 19 Pat Farrell & The Believers - Mojo Workout (Hamburg, PA, U.S.A.) 20 The Flowerz - I Need Love Now (Reading, PA, U.S.A.) 21 Six Feet Under - In Retrospect (NJ, U.S.A.) 22 The Fredric - Country (Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.) 23 White Lightning - Freedom (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.) 24 The Legends - Rock And Roll Woman (Harrisburg, PA, U.S.A.) 25 TNT - Please Let Me Into Your Secrets (Camp Hill, PA, U.S.A.) 26 Pandora - King Queen 27 Moving Parts - House Flaming (Boston, MA, U.S.A.)
CD 2 1 The Electras - Soul Searchin' (Ely, MN, U.S.A.) 2 The Lovin' Sandwich - No No No 3 Apollo's Apaches - Boss (Be Good To Me) (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.) 4 The Males - Kiddie A Go Go (Chicago, IL, U.S.A.) 5 The Black Diamonds - Let's All Mix Together 6 Morgen - Of Dreams (New York, NY, U.S.A.) 7 Dragonfly - Enjoy Yourself (CA, U.S.A.) 8 31 Flavors - Distortions Of Darkness (U.S.A.) 9 The Id - The Rake (San Diego, CA, U.S.A.) 10 The Soundz - Freak Out (Part One) 11 The Space Negros - In A Gadda Da Vida (U.S.A.) 12 The Space Negros - Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (U.S.A.) 13 The Space Negros - Crossfire/Tea For Two Cha Cha Cha (U.S.A.) 14 The Space Negros - We Will Fall (U.S.A.) 15 Erik Lindgren - It Looks You In The Eye (Middleborough, MA, U.S.A.) 16 The Beagles - Deep In The Heart Of Texas (U.S.A.) 17 High Voltage - Fancy Woman (U.S.A.) 18 Lucia Pamela - In The Year 2001! 19 Jack Mudurian - Sings 20 Ken Field - Insanity 21 Erik Lindgren - Changes (Middleborough, MA, U.S.A.) 22 Erik Lindgren - Action Man (Middleborough, MA, U.S.A.) 23 Erik Lindgren - Waltham Camera & Stereo 1 (1982) (Middleborough, MA, U.S.A.)
The Arf! Arf! line focuses mostly on 1960s (and occasionally 1970s) garage bands that are obscure even by the standards of this over-anthologized genre. It also takes in weird amateurish cult records and experimental, idiosyncratic rock (sometimes in projects including label head Erik Lindgren himself). Released in commemoration of its 20th anniversary, this might at first glance look like the kind of label sampler-cum-advertisement that few would seriously consider buying. You'd be wrong, however, because in a refreshing exception to custom, none of these 50 tracks were previously available on CD, and many were previously unreleased in any form. This in turn isn't necessarily as exciting as it sounds, since a good deal of these unreleased items are demos or alternate takes/mixes of cuts by artists that don't exactly have devoted followings, even cult ones. Garage band aficionados will probably have heard of the Lost, the Litter, the Flat Earth Society, and the Lazy Smoke; indie rock collectors might know about Space Negros and Lindgren; and "incredibly strange music" followers will have probably at least heard about Lucia Pamela and Jack Mudarian (the latter of whom is actually represented by a radio story on his ability to sing snippets of old pop tunes for 45 minutes at a time). Otherwise you might feel a little lost. Yet as for the garage stuff, which takes up well over half the set, there are some good selections: the Lost's moody "Everybody Knows" (an alternate version), the Litter's classic "Action Woman" (with alternate vocal), Steve Ellis' & the Starfires' uncanny Byrds imitation "Pride of a Man," and Morgen's "Of Dreams," a quite good heavy psych tune with helium whispery female vocals and inventive fuzz and wah-wah flutters. Although the average merit of the garage cuts is just okay, there's so much variety, from frat rock and instrumentals to glam and power pop, that it actually ends up being a much more enjoyable listening experience than the ordinary Arf! Arf! single-artist or single-label compilation. It's not quite certain whether the typical fan of such sounds will enjoy the wacky ineptitude of Lucia Pamela, or the post-'70s tracks like the creepy synth pop of the Space Negros. These don't mesh comfortably with everything else, though they do complete a representative portrait of the Arf! Arf! catalog. ~ Richie Unterberger
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