Even if you’re just a remote fan of what’s been coined “the Detroit garage sound,” this compilation is a must-have. Each track produced and recorded by the White Stripes' Jack White in his home studio, with everyone using the same equipment, it’s a stellar representation of the diversity within the “sound,” from trash-blues to raunch-rock to Spector-ish pop stylings to catchy, organ-tinged gospels.
The recording technique lends a free-flowing nature to the overall atmosphere created, not a quality often found in comps, but clever production moves give it a jagged cut-and-paste feel, more in tune with the punk ethic of the musical spectrum. Long Gone John, who runs Sympathy for the Record Industry, contacted Jack about his desire to release such a compilation. “He was putting together one in Memphis and he wanted to put one together in Detroit because he liked so many Detroit bands. I thought it was a good idea so I said I’d do it.”
Kicking off the comp is the Paybacks’ “Black Girl,” a song that has the potential to make you fall in love with rock all over again from the first rust-iron wail of front woman Wendy Case. The rest of the tracks follow in this same reinvigorating vein. The legendary Dirtbombs are next offering “I’m Through With White Girls,” a super-catchy song penned by Jim Diamond. The Detroit Cobras’ version of Otis Redding’s “Shout Bamalama” (titled “Shout Bama Lama” on the disc) comes up later and competes for the title of catchiest track. The same can be said for offerings from Ko and the Knockouts and the Come Ons. Throughout it all, a supreme honesty and dedication to everything that makes rock ’n’ roll fun rings true. Go pick it up.
Melissa Giannini is the Metro Times staff music writer. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.