Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Sonics v Phil and the Frantics

Another round in the books and The 13th Floor Elevators of Texas cruised past a very strong single from The Bad Roads.

Today we move down to the next bracket. The Sonics representing the Pacific Northwest are going head to head with Phil and The Frantics representing The Rocky Mountains. Two very different approaches on American Garage records. The Sonics on Etiquette Records with their power chord heavy original, Cinderella, and a blitzkrieg reimagining of the PNW standard, Louie Louie. And on the other side of the ring we have Phil and The Frantics on Sounds Ltd. Records with two minor key originals that stutter and stop and takes at a more sensitive approach. Perhaps the only similarity between the two is the use of Saxophone in their records.

And here is a list of top singles The Sonics had to best to be crowned the PNW Region champions.
And here is a list of top singles Phil and The Frantics had to best to be crowned the Rocky Mountain Region champions. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Easy choice of the two. This is like the Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks fight. SONICS!

  2. SONICS, SONICS, SONICS.... Bambi vs Godzilla enough said.

  3. To keep the analogies coming, this might be like voting for Nader in the primaries, but my vote goes for Phil and his Frantics. If you want an elegant turn of phrase or a quirky musical idea, you don't turn to The Sonics, you turn to Phil. Obviously Cinderella is a monster disc, but frankly that lovely little release on Sounds LTD has more listening power that keeps giving to these ears, and so it gets my vote.

  4. Pity the poor band that goes against the Sonics. Not many singles can compete with this powerhouse; Sonics win.

  5. This is the most difficult choice yet, for me. I really could go either way. I see these two singles as representing the vast range of emotions in the old "boy loves girl" story.

    On one record, we have the softer, tender side with Phil and The Frantics. Say That You Will is a song overflowing with quirkiness. A boy pleading with a girl, pouring his heart out. He may have to go the way of Romeo if he doesn't get this Juliet. Every aspect of the song: the saxophone, the chuncka-chunka incessant lead work and the funky little stutter stop organ breaks -- first heard at :25 -- are just wickedly odd. Everything, EVERYTHING, about this record is excellent. And the flip-side is just as brilliant. Minor key organ, ethereal guitar work and Phil's faux British accent work perfectly. And then there is that surprisingly aggressive bridge that starts at 1:14. That would be Phil going from sensitive Phil to aggressive Phil in a snap of his Frantic fingers. Moody, baby. Moody.

    And then you have The Sonics. Rage. Pure fucking uncontrolled rage in its most pure form. Awhoooooo! No bowing at the footsteps of the girl and wooing her with flowers and poetry. Throw those ripped blue jeans and old T-shirt on, take a swig of Jaegermeister and let's get it on in the backseat of my Lincoln Continental! Being that she is only 5'2", you can even leave the top up in the car. And if the A-side is not a pure enough form of adrenaline for you, then you get the love song that was Louie, Louie. The Sonics do away with Richard Berry's original emotion-laden song as the narrator drunkenly tells the bartender about the love of his life far away across the sea. Nope. The Sonics' version is menacing. Here the bartender might want to think about calling the cops because The Sonics come across like scary-ass stalkers who won't let a restraining order or the Cuban Sea get in their way. They're going to swim there to get her back.

    So here is the difference. It starts at 2:05 on the flip side of the PNW champs and lasts only eight seconds in all. But it is eight of the greatest seconds ever put to wax. That's the difference for me.

    It's The Sonics by an angry nose.

  6. Love the Phil & the Frantics song -- nicely described by Morgan -- but it's gotta be the Sonics.