steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"WarfRat Tales" CD

Avebury Records

Genre: garage rock, rock

June 2006

Chronicling the underground garage rock scene of early 80s Los Angeles, Warfrat Tales is a series of tracks recorded in The Last's makeshift Lyceum Sound "studio," actually a refurbished garage filled with barely functioning equipment stolen from venues and the like. Lo-fi? Yes, but ain't that the point? This compilation was actually originally released in '83, giving listeners at the time a chance to check out The Last, The Leaving Trains, To Damascus, The Urinals, and others at their grittiest. If none of these names mean anything to you, then obviously you haven't been schooled well enough in the 80s LA indie rock scene.

The two biggest names here are doubtlessly The Last and The Leaving Trains; The Last contribute three gems coming off their (much-desired) escape from their record label at the time - and it's good stuff. If you dig danceable, keyboard-heavy garage, then irresistible "Try To Rise" and "Brand New Drug" are for you. Slower "Anything That's Out There" rekindles a strong 60s pop flame, meanwhile, to good results.

The Leaving Trains are caught before any of their studio albums, and add two goodies to this cause. "Leaving Train" and "Creeping Coastline Of Lights" are juicy little rock numbers, essential for fans of the band.

On the other hand, we get a number of lesser-known acts that also turn in great stuff. Among the highlights are long-lost post-punkers 100 Flowers, psychy popsters Rain Parade, and youthful invigorators Question. All in all, this is 13 bands and 28 songs, all on one CD. Garage fans need to pick this one up immediately.


Fun Fact: WarfRat takes its name from Warfarin, a rat poison that's currently having troubles as rats are becoming resisitant!

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 28 tracks, distributed by the label, orig. released 1983, reissued 2005]