Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Seeds - The Seeds

After listening to the Doors (and reading an article in my new Bomp book – more on that later), I naturally thought of their LA precursors, the Seeds, a band that started the singer/drums/guitar/keys-with-a-keyboard-bass band lineup. They were also garage-pop-psych band with some experimentation – nothing close to what the Doors ended up doing – but certainly an influence on Jim & the guys.

The Seeds were not extraordinary musicians, but they knew how to add just the right parts to a song and Sky was writing some exceptional numbers at this time. They were not simply one hit wonders, as the debut’s opener, “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” attests. This is a slow-to-mid-tempo tune that is supremely catchy and the guitar and keys add little accents around Sky’s melodies and moans. A great introduction to the band.

Stealing from themselves for “No Escape”, they create another 2 chord garage punker all too similar to “Pushin’ Too Hard”. Still great stuff though and proof that recycling was popular in the 60’s! Not afraid to “borrow” from other sources, as well, “Lose Your Mind” has the Bo Diddley beat and the melody from “Not Fade Away” and even has a short harmonica solo!

One of the album highlights, though, is the fuzz monster, “Evil Hoodoo”! This is an intense, mesmerizing number with a repeated riff that everyone expounds upon and jams over – including Sky on his harp – and never lets up for a second. This is boggingly powerful stuff! Freakin’ perfect and one of the most intense moments of the 60’s!

Another hypnotic lick is used in “Girl I Want You”, this time a little more mid-tempo, but still rockin’. Of course, the huge smash hit of the record is the ubiquitous “Pushin’ Too Hard”. You’d have to have lived under a rock for the last 4 or 5 decades to not know this garage masterpiece, but suffice it to say that once you’ve heard it (even for the zillioneth time) you will be singing it for days! Perfect guitar solo that is so rhythmic that it repeats underneath the lyrics without distracting! Genius!

Side two of the album began with “Try To Understand”, similar in feel to the album opener, but with plenty of unique melodic moments. There’s more than a tip of the hat to the Stones’ version of “Down Home Girl” in “Nobody Spoil My Fun”, but who didn’t steal from someone else, especially in the 60’s?! Employing a galloping rhythm and licks with a “Baby, Please Don’t Go” feel, “It’s a Hard Life” lets Sky rant on a bit and guitarist Jan Savage riff out.

The group uses a blues progression to build up “You Can’t Be Trusted”, but keyboardist (and snappy dresser) Daryl Hooper works with Savage to intersperse plenty of interesting sounds throughout this upbeat number. Daryl might not have been the incarnation of Beethoven (as I’m told an early PR agent suggested) but he did use a number of different tones throughout the recordings. “Excuse, Excuse” again is based on the 1,4,5 progression but keeps things open enough for everyone to add their two cents. Ending with a kinda weak walking blues, “Fallin’ In Love”, the band seems to be trying to show another side, but just leaves on a sour note.

But if you’re looking for one of the top contenders for 60’s garage stardom, the Seeds are your band!