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Various Artists

Children of Nuggets (Rhino)

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The first two Nuggets boxed sets (released in 1998 and 2001) were gold mines of mostly obscure 1960s garage rock that later influenced '70s punk. But the goal of this Nuggets update is to unearth the disparate, '60s-styled misfits of the 1980s.

As usual, there are plenty of worthy shoulda-beens (Real Kids, Big Star) and household names (R.E.M., Go-Gos) absent, probably for monetary or licensing reasons -- and the few early-'90s progeny (Mummies, Teenage Fanclub) offer some good tunes, but feel extraneous. In fact, this set belongs mostly to the revivalists, bands of lanky lads who scored the paisley shirts, stripped pants, and Vox amps that were plentiful at thrift stores of the day. True-spirited practitioners (Flamin' Groovies, Fleshtones, Three O'Clock) and cornball copycats (Plasticland, Miracle Workers, Tell-Tale Hearts) rub Nehru-jacketed shoulders. Grittier punks (DMZ, Nomads, Cynics, Lime Spiders) even punch through, proving it wasn't all about "I'm more Beatles than you."

So what's the verdict? Ultimately, Children of Nuggets works best as much-needed proof that there was a mess of fiery revamped guitar rock in an era that was largely assumed to be devoid of "real" rock and roll.

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