Friday, October 21, 2005

Little Hits

Way back in 1972, future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye compiled a double LP called Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 that caused people to realize that there had been a lot of great underground American music during the late 1960s. In 1998, Rhino Records, realizing there was a lot more great underground American music during the late 1960s, expanded Nuggets into a 4-CD box set. In 2001, realizing there was a lot of great underground music outside the US during the late 1960s too, Rhino released another 4-disc box, Nuggets, Vol. 2: Original Artyfacts From the British Empire & Beyond. And now, in 2005, Rhino's realized there's been a lot of great underground music outside the late 1960s, and released yet another 4-disc box, Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era - 1976-1995. (By all rights, I believe, the children of Nuggets should be entitled to take the patronym and call themselves McNuggets.)

But someone else has already been introducing us to
some of the best music most of us somehow missed during the last couple of decades: Jon Harrison, proprietor of the blog Little Hits. Beginning on New Year's Day of this year, Harrison has worked toward this goal by posting an MP3 each day and leaving the entire archive available for download. By April, he had already posted the equivalent of a 4-CD box set.

We're talking about obscure stuff. Stuff that in a lot of cases is out of print. Stuff that was never digitized, pressed on plastic, and brought into the CD era. Stuff that Harrison has converted into MP3 format from cassette, LP, 45, picture disc, and flexi-disc, often complete with the crackling of a needle on vinyl. And good stuff. Stuff that deserved to go to the top of the charts instead of falling off the bottom and straight into the discount bin. The site is full of power pop and post-punk gems that are catchier than Asian bird flu and make you wonder at how the hell it could be that you've never heard of any of it before.

I advise you start right at the beginning, on the post from January 1, which contains one of the best: The Someloves' "It's My Time". The Grottybeats' "Love Games" follows on January 2, and is just as good. Move forward through the archive. There's lots of great stuff. Some of my favorites include Daryl and the Chaperones' "My Baby's a Spy", The Tony Head Experience's "Debbie One", and The Corn Dollies' "Forever Steven", but it doesn't end there by any means. Got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell? Then check out Tonight's "Drummerman". Or, if you think your ailment might actually be gonorrhea, try They Must Be Russians' "Don't Try To Cure Yourself".

If you like music at all, you ought to find something you really dig at Little Hits. So dig around in the archive and do yourself a big favour.

6 Comments:

Blogger John Eje Thelin said...

What if one thinks that Power Pop has neither Power nor is actually Pop (but actually just a less bluesy Rock) and that catchy is just shorthand for "childishly simple and annoyingly repetitive"? Any point then?

I checked the first three weeks and gave up when Nikki Sudden was claimed to have ceated a masterpiece, which is a blatant lie.

10/23/2005 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Ken said...

I thought about you today. A girl almost stopped talking to me because I called her ignorant of a subject she knew absolutely nothing about.

I thought, "If only Peter were here to settle this with his MIGHT EDITOR POWERS!"

10/24/2005 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger SamuraiFrog said...

Damn you, Peter Lynn (huh, that DOES sound better with the last name on it). Your music posts always conspire to make me waste my entire weeked with rockabilly, with psych rock, and now with endless downloading. I had dreams, once...

10/24/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Not that I think that that Nikki Sudden track is the site's strongest offering. But with all due respect, Mr. Thelin, if you don't like power pop, and if IKEA is, as the commercials have led me to believe, Swedish for common sense, then you, sir, need some IKEA knocked into you.

I feel bad for saying that. Baby, Peter Lynn didn't mean to threaten to hurt you. It's just sometimes I get a little crazy.

10/26/2005 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger John Eje Thelin said...

This may seem stranger to me than to you, but I am currently subtitling a seris of IKEA short filmsm and that's my first professional association with them.

I never *listened* to the Nikki Sudden track, I dismissed the entire site out of hand for making such an outlandish statement.

Power Pop is - 9 times out of ten - more Rockish than Popish, and I just have very little room in my Basket of Tolerance for three chords in three minutes all in the same key and repepepepepetition as a substitute for cleverly catchy (case in point: My Sharona).

Just wanted to check, really. Off to listen to Pure Reason Revolution...

10/30/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Ely said...

"Got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell? Then check out Tonight's 'Drummerman'. Or, if you think your ailment might actually be gonorrhea, try They Must Be Russians' 'Don't Try To Cure Yourself'."

Pure. Genius.

12/21/2005 09:52:00 PM  

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