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Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1996

Wednesday, Nov 2 2005
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The 1972 double LP Nuggets, as many a rock 'n' roll aficionado can tell you, was a treasure trove of overlooked 1960s American garage-punk, psychedelia, and fuzz-pop rounded up by rock critic and musician Lenny Kaye. Rhino expanded Nuggets into an essential box set in 1998 and issued an equally winning sequel in 2001 (which mainly focused on obscure British songs of that era). Now the label is perpetuating the franchise with this four-disc, 100-track exhumation of similarly styled and slept-on music from the late '70s, '80s, and early '90s, much of it crafted by revivalist bands clearly inspired by Kaye's vinyl compilation. And that's this set's Achilles' heel -- too many tunes conspicuously looking backward without moving forward. When put together, they ultimately fail to generate as potent a vibe of excitement and discovery as the earlier collections. In a sense, Children of Nuggets is like The Godfather Part III, containing familiar tropes pushed to the edge of parody (and sometimes over) and new characters that come off as surrogates for old favorites, only with far less personality (see the Stems, the Vipers, Vibrasonic). There are some rewards for the curious and the nostalgic -- gems from the likes of the Bangles, the Lime Spiders, the Green Telescope, and the Chills -- and the remastering job and liner notes are first-rate. But for the most part, this Nuggets is probably an offer you can refuse.

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Michael Alan Goldberg

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