"But now it's just taken off everywhere."
Still, for all the new activity and faces, one of the pleasures of garage rock remains the breaking out of musty ole vinyl and listening to the San Joseborn Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction," the Standell's "Try It," and the Human Beinz's "Nobody But Me" and wondering where my Music Machine LP is. The last so-called garage-rock revival gave you the impression that the bands weren't so much listening to the, er, originals as much as each other many of those groups' general raw sound seemed to be the main reason why they were dubbed garage rock, apart from some true believers and record collectors in Detroit. Garage rock was a somewhat commercial brand last time around. But this current surge seems content to ride tides far from marketable shores, melding garage rock's ruff 'n' tough joys with surf riffs, hardcore aggression, proto-metal heavitude, or psychedelic exploration.
These bands seem closer to the scenario that Don Waller wittily sketched out in the liner notes to a Nuggets '80s reissue: "The typical punkadelic band came from some suburban Anywheresville and consisted of one kid who'd grown up copying Chet Atkins licks on his uncle's hollow-body, another who'd had 10 years of classical piano lessons, a hyperactive woodshop dropout on drums, a lead singer with a range of three and a half notes, and a bass player brought in for his ability to attract girls."
The garage may be gone, if altogether nonexistent, for many in the densely populated Bay Area. But considering that even the purportedly first garage-rock combo, Tacoma, Wash.'s fresh-faced Wailers (who made a big impression on the Kingsmen with their own "Louie Louie"), wryly made a big deal of recording in a "proper environment ... namely a recording studio," in the liner notes of Out of Our Tree (Etiquette, 1966), the hands-on wherewithal of today's bands isn't so far from that of yesteryear's ensembles.
"Pushin' Too Hard"? For a while there "everyone was too self-conscious," opines Carlos Bermudez of Photobooth and Snakeflower 2, "but now there are a lot of bands that are doing well and playing sloppy again all the garage stuff that people seemed to have grown out of. Schlocky fun party music is starting to happen again."
Through April 7; reception Sun/1, 6 p.m.
Rite Spot Café
2099 Folsom, SF
MAN/MIRACLE AND EAGLE AND TALON
The former plunges fists-first into '00s-y sing-along fun and an '80s synth-sensitivity vibe; the latter duo into grrrly lo-fi. With Railcars. Thurs/29, 9 p.m., $5. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com
MATT AND KIM
Where's the dance party? It's wherever the pair's primal pop is hopping. Their new Grand (Fader) sneaks up on you with its larger-than-life lowdown. With Hawnay Troof. Mon/2, 8 p.m., $10. Café du Nord, 2170 Market, SF. www.cafedunord.com