18 garage-indebted Australian artists including Pond, The Straight Arrows, and The Laurels provide this exclusive track-by-track breakdown of Nuggets: Antipodean Interpolations of the First Psychedelic Era, a forthcoming covers album celebrating the 40th anniversary of New York based Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye’s enduring 1972 garage rock compilation, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era: 1965-1968. Stream and read both exclusively below…
1. Velociraptor – I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
The original Nuggets compilation has inspired all 12 of us in different ways so it was an honour to be involved. We power recorded and mixed the track in a day with the great audio wizard Sean Cook at Applewood Lane. We’ve done our best to stay true to the intentions of the original recording and at the same time utilize the unique set of skills taught to us by Liam Neeson to craft something reflective of Velociraptor. Most importantly we hope that we’ve made The Electric Prunes proud.
2. Pearls – Dirty Water
Pearls are so excited to be a part of this new compilation! The Nuggets series holds a very dear place in our hearts, we are huge fans and have listened to those albums so much! Nuggets 1-4, Children of Nuggets, Pebbles etc all turned us onto such incredible music. Ellice and Cass bonded over a shared love of 60’s psychedelia and garage when they first met, listening to The Electric Prunes, The Standells, 13th Floor Elevators, Count 5 and The Seeds over and over again, daydreaming about starting a band themselves. The songs are classics and being asked to cover Dirty Water, we knew there was no way we could do a straight cover version. We decided to approach the recording with our own style, stripping it back with emphasis on low organ drones, reverb heavy guitar and a primal, driving drumbeat. We also made the song a duet, playing on the girl/guy vocal which is another element to our own bands style. We hope you enjoy our take on one of our favourite Standells songs, Dirty Water.
3. The Straight Arrows – Lies
We recorded ‘Lies’ by the Knickerbockers at our friend Tim Dunn’s studio called Hanging Tree. It’s the same place we recorded our latest hit album, except this time Owen was pressing the buttons and playing at the same time. ‘Lies’ is a classic US 60s Beatles sound-alike, so to rinse out the garbage of the period and make it sound like us we tied a string to it, flushed it down the toilet, then fished it back out and sent it off to the record company. And that’s how hit singles are made.
4. Tiny Migrants – A Public Execution
“Reality is mind bending, and we’re still getting over the fact that this is actually part of the Nuggets collection. Two or so months back we were approached by Warner and asked to perform A Public Execution by Mouse and his uncredited Traps (the Dylan esque delivery of the song made things difficult as we all fucking hate Bob Dylan. Who doesn’t?). So, in a single afternoon, we laid down the track at Incremental Records, catted around the area of West End, ate pizza and drank choccy milks. In the end, we came up with a very different version from the original – it’s a rap of cruel lyrics amid fluttering space guitars.”
5. The Living Eyes – Oh Yeah
We’ve been listening to the nuggets box set since we were in year 8, so when we heard that a tribute album was being put together, we were pretty excited! The song we were given was an old Bo Diddley song “Oh Yeah” which the Shadows of Knight covered, great tune! We recorded it at Sound Park studios in Northcote and it went great – they had a crazy amount of gear there so there wasn’t really any limitations to it. We did it all live except for some percussion and backing vocal overdubs so it only took us a few hours and then it was mixed by producer Haima Marriott. We look forward to hearing the other bands on the comp, the line up looks rad!
6. Davey Lane – Moulty
My band mates in You Am I first played me Nuggets when I joined their band many moons ago. Being a big fan of Todd Rundgren’s, Open My Eyes was always the song for me, but The Barbarians’ Moulty also caught my attention for its sheer fruitiness, and also coz The Band (or Levon & The Hawks) were the backing group on the recording. I jumped at the opportunity to have a crack at it, and rushed to get my submission in before the deadline, recorded entirely in the loungeroom on my lonesomes of a September afternoon, later getting the missus to sing the chorus answer vocals when she got home from work. I thought it’d be a little odd doing the spoken word verses lamenting one’s loss of hand in an accident, but a little shifting of Moulty’s story to the third person took care of that. I hope Moulty found that girl he was looking for.
7. Palms – Don’t Look Back
Well, Nuggets is a totally legendary compilation and it’s not like you’re really gonna say no to being involved in something like this hey. Plus there’s so many other good bands on the comp like The Gooch Palms and Bloods and The Laurels… AND our buddy Owen was recording it, so we knew it was in good hands and was gonna be recorded in the true raucous/shit-fi spirit of Nuggets. We didn’t mess around with the original too much. Just added some guitar wailing. As if we could help ourselves.
8. Eagle and the Worm – An Invitation to Cry
Doing another version of “Invitation”, the harmonies, the rad guitar fuzz sounds, the bizzare bridge.. There is a lot to draw from…I dont know much about the Magicians; only that this song is on the original Nuggets and they had a small following on the East Coast club scene in the mid 60s. The “crooner” style of Garry Bonner’s vocal, and the Doo Wop RnB BVs, stand out. I would say The Magicians are recognized as more than just a garage band, and explored sounds outside of rock n roll and punk rock, obviously influenced by soul and RnB of the time, it a nice slice of what goes on when bands tap into a sound and experiment with their own version of it.
9. Step-Panther – Liar Liar
“Liar Liar” is a really cool, straight-forward song … and such a well-known classic. So it was great to get to do our own version of it. We didn’t have to time practice it as a band because we were all in different cities beforehand, so we learnt it separately and only played it together for the first time when we recorded it. We figured that was in keeping with the rough-and-ready vibe of the whole Nuggets thing anyway. It was great working with Owen Penglis on it. He’s a straight-up dude and we knocked it over with him in a couple of hours. The gurrrls from Bloods had done their song in the studio earlier that day, so they stuck around to do the gurrrly vocal parts … they’re good friends of ours, so it made the whole session kinda like a party. We’re stoked to be on this compilation amongst so many great bands, doing so many sweet classics! Nuggets rules.
10. The Laurels – You’re Gonna Miss Me
You’re Gonna Miss Me (our cover) was recorded in an afternoon with Owen Penglis (Straight Arrows). We had originally planned to sample Roky Erickson’s opening yelp over and over to create a backing track similar to the whistle / teapot in Public Enemy’s ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ but our recording setup was too primitive and we swallowed too much acid. Authentic Nuggets. We are ‘psyched’ to be involved with this compilation and extremely humbled to be given the opportunity to ruin a song by one of our favourite bands.
11. The Murlocs – Psychotic Reaction
Psychotic Reaction by The Count Five was one of the first songs we ever covered as a band. It has stayed within a lot of our sets since we started out 2 years ago or so. Always seemed to please the crowd and get everyone shaking their tailfeather. Being a part of this compilation is a true dream come true. We all have grown up listening to the nuggets compilations and been quite inspired by this particular sound, it’s such a privilege to be apart of something like this.
12. Pond – Hey Joe
Like many others before me, Nuggets was a bit of a gateway into the freakier side of sixties pop music. None of the songs are indulgent, but most of them have some feedback or tremolo or gnarly bass fuzz or crazy drum sound, something to bend your ears. I only just got some of the other Nuggets comps, like the British one, and that has one of my favourite singles, Factory’s “Path Through The Forest”. Garage rock informs only a small part of what POND do, but it was a joy to knock out “Hey Joe” as quick as possible. Songs like that shouldn’t really be fussed over. You’ll notice that the snare sound is pretty shit, but we figured it suited the vibe. Also, take note of the demented Fremantle woman’s ramblings in the middle.
13. The Gooch Palms – Just Like Romeo and Juliet
Over the years this track has been covered a bunch of times, most definitely because it’s a catchy little tune. We really wanted to make it sound quintessentially Gooch Palms and we know our limitations musically, so we deconstructed the hell out of it and pieced it back together to create a more punky pop song that we could actually play! Recording it was a blast and we like playing it so much that we often include it in our live shows now too. All in all, we’re just chuffed to be part of the whole thing.
14. Baptism of Uzi – Baby Please Don’t Go
With this track we wanted to a draw a link between the bluesy garage sound of the nuggets original and the space rock we have come to love. We hope that people can mung out to it and The Nuge appreciates.
15. The Frowning Clouds – Let’s Talk About Girls
The version of ‘Let’s Talk About Girls’ that appears on nuggets isn’t really the version we’re that keen on… Chocolate Watchband actually covered it from an even lesser known band ‘The Grodies’, which is better. Anyway our version isn’t like either, the studio allowed us to add a few tracks here n there so now it’s got some kinda half assed black feel too it. We couldn’t not be on this compilation really, I got it when I was 15 and decided I wanted to be in a band. Nuggets was really square one for us.
16. Montero – My World Fell Down
My World Fell Down, the black sheep of the original nuggets comp. I imagine Australian 70’s proto-punks skipping this track on their Nuggets compilation albums back in the day. You can’t really hear any guitar and it sounds like an evil Mamas and the Papas with a baroque harmony breakdown and a Musique concrète section. Sagittarius weren’t even a real band! The word ‘Antipodean’ makes me think of cavemen bashing out garage, blues, boogie and punk. Fair dinkum blokes music. Not expensive vanity projects with square session musicians. Maybe that’s why this track was perfect for Montero and I’m super glad we get to represent Australia’s connection to Californian beach culture in general and harmony based pop music in particular. Don’t forget Bon Scott sang in ‘Bubblegum’ band The Valentines long before joining AC/DC! We tried to throw as much in there as possible during the recording, including toy piano, layered vocals, bells, whistles and fuzz guitar. We added on the last section as a tribute to the growing dark undercurrents of late 60’s L.A, as a nod to the original punk spirit of Nuggets and as a high five to Molly Meldrum holed up and going mental producing The Real Thing by Russel Morris.
17. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Open My Eyes
We recorded this song half at home half in the studio. We tried to completely simplify the original version because it was a bit confusing. Every track on this nuggets comp is completely ingrained in my subconscious from hundreds of repeated listens so it was nice to have a crack at a song on our own
18. Bloods – Farmer John
When we were approached to be a part of Nuggets, our first reaction was ‘YES!’. The Nuggets compilation has always been a touchstone for our sound and contains so many of our favourite tunes. It also introduced us to bands like The Count Five, 13th Floor Elevators, The Chocolate Watchband and The Premiers, whose track ‘Farmer John’ we got to record for this. When we started to jam on the track, we tried to keep it pretty much exactly as The Premiers version – slow, loose and chill. Unfortunately none of those things are really synonymous with Bloods and it was only a matter of us running the song twice before we realized that it wasn’t really going to work. We decided it would be better if we did the song as if it were a Bloods tune – fast, loud and bratty. We took a few liberties it in the end, but hopefully people who love the original will dig our take on it too.
Nuggets: Antipodean Interpolations of the First Psychedelic Era
Down Under Nuggets: Original Australian Artyfacts 1965-67
Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era: 1965-1968
AVAILABLE FRIDAY 23 NOVEMBER