June 7, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Tell-Tale Hearts

Think of early Yardbirds, or Them, and then add in the blues-styled agressive R&B of The Pretty Things or The Seeds. Got all that right there in your mind? Okay, that's The Tell-Tale Hearts. The San Diego band's original incarnation lasted just three short years 1983-86, the very height of the garage rock revival. And The Tell-Tale Hearts were in the thick of it with their raw, sixties styled garage punk. From the organ driven chorus of "Crawling Back to Me", to the harmonica laden bluesy garage rock of "It Came to Me", to the folksy pop of "Keep on Trying", the band's sound owed a lot to their influences, but was infused by the members own talent as musicians. The song here combined it all into one nice caveman romp, "It Is Not Me" has the harmonicas, the echoing, jangly guitars, the farfisa organ, and those intense and sometimes morose vocals that go from longing to screaming. This is garage rock as it was meant to be.

The liner notes to their anthology High Tide summed it up best:
"The wild-eyed singer snarled and leapt about like a monkey, all the while shaking a pair of maracas and banging on a cow bell, wine bottle, or beer can. The drummer hid behind a relic of a kit and pounded his tom-toms like they were tribal war drums. The tall, red-haired guitarist snaked about on stage, by turns stroking and stabbing at his instrument. The organ player, his hair completely covering his face, kicked at his amplifier and rolled on the ground, wrestling with a harmonica. And the long-haired bass player sneered at the crowd from behind a pair of sunglasses, looking positively wicked. There was certainly nothing on MTV which could have prepared them for this.”

Tell-Tale Hearts -- It Is Not Me

The Tell-Tale Hearts -- Crawling Back To Me