Review - The Arf! Arf! `El Cheapo` 2-CD Sampler

Artist: Various Artists

The Arf! Arf! `El Cheapo` 2-CD Sampler
Label: Arf! Arf!
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: The Arf! Arf! `El Cheapo` 2-CD Sampler

Defining the under-the-radar garage-rock movement for 20 years, Erik Lindgren (through his Arf! Arf! label) has sought to highlight the lost nuggets (ahem) of a misspent youth. Though not focused solely on garage and psych pop, it's been those two types of releases that have helped define his label. Yet Lindgren is also known as the man behind both Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and The Space Negroes, two concerns that defined the outer reaches of studio extremities. And it's this oddball outlook that has yielded the most, uh, interesting releases from Arf! Arf!, namely gems like a now-legendary album from Lucia Pamela (recorded, according to Pamela, on the moon, which helps explain "Walking on the Moon") and compilations like "Only In America" (highlighting some truly bizarre recorded outings from the '60s like crow-calling records and a song with a vacuum-cleaner solo) and "The Talent Show" (a straight-through recording of a small-town church talent show). Unfortunately, this double-disc set is heavier on the psych-pop that's obviously close to Lindgren's heart. Though for collectors it's a godsend (all of the tracks are previously unreleased, so you can get that alternate version of "Action Woman" by The Litter you've been searching for), it's ultimately not nearly as satisfying as some of the label's more offbeat collections.

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