Thursday, June 29, 2006

49. The Sonics - Here Are the Sonics (1965)

Track Listing

1. Witch
2. Do You Love Me
3. Roll Over Beethoven
4. Boss Hoss
5. Dirty Robber
6. Have Love, Will Travel
7. Psycho
8. Money
9. Walkin' the Dog
10. Night Time Is the Right Time
11. Strychnine
12. Good Golly Miss Molly
13. Keep a Knockin'
14. Don't Believe in Christmas
15. Santa Claus
16. Village Idiot


More than a decade before Punk there were The Sonics. They can't play, can't sing but they sure can scream at the mike. And they are great. They sound like what they are, Sex Pistols/Little Richard love child. With the sounds and songs of the Sixties rock but the sensibility of a punk band. Even their lyrics reflect this. The best song in the album Strychnine has very punky lyrics, and the Village Idiot sung in a moronic style is years ahead of its time.

Where The Sonics are at their best is in their original songs. This is not to say that they don't inject their covers with a good dose of raw energy, Good Golly Miss Molly and yet another version of Money are good examples of that. Although the Flying Lizards still have the best version of Money, this one comes a close second, beating even the Beatles.

This is really an album that has to be listened too to be believed. Lovely screeching going on, the birth of punk and psychobilly and all 'round pretty influential stuff as well as a big breath of fresh air for the mid Sixties. I can hardly fathom what people listening to this in 1965 thought! Maybe that is why they never became chart-toppers.

Still, be sure to listen to this, not the most technically accomplished people but damn fun to listen to. Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Strychnine
2. The Witch
3. Boss Hoss
4. Psycho

Final Grade



Fucking insane bat-shit crazy stuff. Me Loves It!

A few quotes from Wiki

"We were a wild, dirty, kickass band." - Bob Bennett

"We were nasty. Everything you've heard people say about us is true." - Larry Parypa

"If our records sound distorted, it's because they are. My brother (Larry, guitar) was always fooling around with the amps. They were always overdriven. Or he was disconnecting the speakers and poking a hole in them with an ice pick. That's how we ended up sounding like a train wreck." - Andy Parypa

From Wiki:

The Sonics had an often overlooked but notable influence on subsequent rock music, not just in the Washington area. They are often-cited contenders for the title of 'the first punk band', due to their wild and unconventional style. Gerry Roslie was the first white man to record a frightening rock 'n' roll scream in earnest, thus influencing Iggy Pop and the rest of protopunk, such as The New York Dolls. The band also have a clearly marked influence on golden age American punk bands such as The Dead Boys in their brash, immature, masculine style and posturing, and on the nineties grunge bands (who originated in the same area), especially Mudhoney, who adopted some of the darker themes from Sonics music, and a lot of their groundbreaking techniques on over-driving and distorting electric guitars. Their reach stretched beyond the US; influencial Manchester post-punk group The Fall covered Strychnine during a session for the late John Peel's programme in 1993 and they repeatedly performed the song live around this time. As well as all these, there have been whole generations of garage rock revival bands (such as The Things) who make no bones of plagiarizing The Sonics and their ilk.

The lyrics of The Sonics' original material dealt with early '60s teenage culture; cars, guitars, surfing, and girls (in songs like "The Hustler" and "Maintaining My Cool") alongside darker subject matter such as drinking strychnine for kicks, witches, psychopaths, and Satan (in the songs "Strychnine", "The Witch", "Psycho", and "He's Waiting", respectively).

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