|Cultural origins||1960s, United States|
Garage punk is a rock subgenre that evokes characteristics identified with punk rock. Its origins are with North American garage rock bands in the early 1960s who were inspired by R&B. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with "garage rock" or "garage revival". Another movement that is widely categorized as "garage punk" drew heavily from stripped-down 1970s punk rock and Detroit proto-punk, taking shape in the indie rock underground between the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The term "garage punk" dates as early as 1972, although "punk" was not solidified as a genre until 1976. After the 1980s, groups who were labelled as "garage punk" stood in contrast to the nascent retro garage revival scene, moving past a strictly mid-1960s influence. They instead incorporated numerous styles into their approach, such as 1970s punk, power pop, 1960s girl groups and garage rock, hardcore punk, early blues and R&B, and surf rock. Associated bands from that period contributed to the development of stoner rock, a more psychedelic variation of the genre.
Etymology and usage
"Punk" was first used to describe the music of American garage bands of the mid 1960s, and was not solidified as a genre until 1976. When referring to 1960s groups, the term "garage punk" is usually deployed interchangeably with "garage rock". The earliest known use of the term "garage punk" appeared in Lenny Kaye's track-by-track liner notes for the 1972 psychedelic music compilation Nuggets to describe a song by the 1960s garage rock band, the Shadows of Knight, as "classic garage punk". The Guardian's Michael Hann writes: "Look at the tracklisting for Lenny Kaye’s original Nuggets album, the record that codified garage punk and you’ll find an awful lot of music that would not now fit comfortably into the genre [psychedelic music]." MTV's Beverly Bryan says that "garage punk" may be used "more likely" to refer to "garage rock" or "garage revival".
Development and characteristics
1960s: Original garage bands
Simon Reynolds traces garage punk to American garage rock bands in the 1960s. He explains that mid-1960s garage punk was largely the domain of untrained teenagers who used sonic effects, such as fuzz tones, and relied heavily on riffs. Hann locates the "golden years" of garage punk to 1965–67. The Sonics are credited as a pioneering act in the genre. Critic Tim Sommer wrote: "The Sonics created the template for American garage punk, not to mention crafting the prototype for every punk rock band that thought that three chords and a horny shriek was enough to move a nation."
1980s–2000s: Fusion with 1970s punk
In the 1980s, there began a revived interest in the music of the 1960s, starting with garage punk. Labels like Crypt and Norton began reissuing the work of "lost mid-century weirdos", which led a new generation of punk musicians to rediscover older rock artists like Little Richard and the Sonics. In contrast to the retro garage revival scene, bands who continued to draw heavily from stripped-down 1970s punk, rather than just mid-1960s styles, would be widely categorized as "garage punk".[nb 1] According to the Allmusic guide, "Before the punk-pop wing of America's '90s punk revival hit the mainstream, a different breed of revivalist punk had been taking shape in the indie-rock underground. In general, garage punk wasn't nearly as melodic as punk-pop; instead, garage punk drew its inspiration chiefly from the Detroit protopunk of The Stooges and The MC5.
Allan Rutter writes that the music is often fast-paced and characterized by dirty, choppy guitars and lyrics typically expressing rebelliousness and sometimes "bad taste", and may be performed by "low-fi" acts who are on independent record labels, or who are unsigned. Bands are generally apolitical and tend distance themselves from hardcore punk and generally avoid strict adherence to the types of social codes and ideologies associated with the punk subculture.
AllMusic adds: "Some of the first garage punk bands who appeared in the late '80s and early '90s (Mudhoney, the Supersuckers) signed with the Sub Pop label, whose early grunge bands shared some of the same influences and aesthetics (in fact, Mudhoney became one of the founders of grunge)." Bands like New Bomb Turks, The Oblivians, The Gories, Subsonics, The Mummies, The Dirtbombs, and The Humpers helped maintain a cult audience for the style through the 1990s and 2000s. Associated bands from that period contributed to the development of stoner rock, a more psychedelic variation of the genre.
List of artists
- The 13th Floor Elevators
- The Deviants
- The Moving Sidewalks
- Oscar and the Majestics
- The Sonics
- Black Lips
- The Cramps
- Dead Moon
- The Dirtbombs
- The Gories
- Grazhdanskaya Oborona
- The Hellacopters
- The Hives
- The Humpers
- Jay Reatard
- The King Khan & BBQ Show
- The Mummies
- New Bomb Turks
- Reigning Sound
- Thee Oh Sees
- The White Stripes
- Ty Segall
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- GaragePunk Podcast Network
- Garage punk fashion
- List of garage rock bands
- List of garage rock compilations
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