Little Steven’s Underground Garage is in full swing, and along with the well-selected bands he has chosen to sign to his label, I always look forward to the “coolest songs” collections that are frequently issued. How great is it to get a quarterly mixtape from one of the most knowledgeable music fans on the planet? Those of you who listen to the Underground Garage radio show know about Steven’s long-time tradition of dubbing a current favorite track “the coolest song in the world this week“, so you can imagine the breadth and scope of the material eight volumes in and counting.
The latest release features old and new, with veterans like Pete Best and David Bowie sharing disc time with young pups like The Skybombers. There are also old vets in new surroundings, like Man Raze (who knew Steve Cook from The Sex Pistols and Def Leppard‘s Phil Collen have a band??). Speedo – late of Rocket From The Crypt – rips through “Jump In The Fire” like a sore-throated Graham Parker. And if you think you recognize that organ playing on The Krayolas‘ cut, you’re right – that is Augie Meyers! Other standouts include tracks from The Broadway Calls and one of the most undearrated bands around, The Bleeding Hearts.
But this collection really belongs to the ladies. Anyone who’s a regular visitor to this site knows I’m all over Nicole Laurenne and The Love Me Nots, and Vibeke Saugestad‘s “Tonight” is irresistable girl-group Brill Building pop. And the 1-2 punch that opens the album is killer. Palmyra Delran‘s “Baby Should Have Known Better” will immediately send you to the racks looking for her EP (I bought one online as the disc was still spinning) and The Cute Lepers sound like The Clash via Joan Jett (not that it’s much of a stretch – the band is signed to Blackheart Records). Jen D’Angora (now there is a rock’n’roll name) and The Downbeat 5 light Tommy Boyce‘s “Dum Dum Ditty” on fire as the icing on the cake.
Little Steven’s mission is simple and straightforward – find great music, get it out there into the public ear, and hopefully get these bands some well-deserved attention (that hopefully translates into sales, gigs and the ability to sustain a career). Like always…game, set and match. Little Steven wins again.
All 8 volumes are available as physical CDs or digital downloads.