Two discs 59, 61 minutes each approximately. The sound is crisp and clean and very immediate. The 12 page booklet has background information (a couple sentences each) on the groups on this collection and the scene (1982-89) in general. There are a few period photos, including (very small) reproductions of each groups album cover on which their song appears.
This 2 CD set celebrates the 25th anniversary of the original album, titled "A Real Cool Time:Distorted Sounds From The North". That album celebrated the 80's revival of garage/psych style rock music from suburban Sweden. For listeners unfamiliar with the many 60's influenced bands from this country, this set will be a revelation. If you've heard the three Rhino Records "Nuggets" garage rock sets, you'll have some idea of whats in store with this collection. In fact THE NOMADS, heard here, have a (different) track on the "Children of Nuggets" collection. This expanded set runs the gamut-from hard pop to garage rock to punk influenced rock. At times this set will scorch the ears off anyone who likes basic garage rock, played with barely controlled abandon. Fans of the SHADOWS OF KNIGHT, RAMONES, THE SEEDS, THE FLAMIN' GOOVIES etc. will have some idea of the sound and attitude found on this collection. At this point I have to mention that many of these tracks contain smokin' guitars, and combined with sledgehammer, powerhouse drumming, makes for a devastating combination. There's even a "car song" ("Fastest Car Around"), complete with honking sax and chorus, sounding like a harder-edged Jan and Dean-without the innocence. Another track ("Help That Girl") has some BYRDS style ringing guitars that push the song along like a tougher version of that group. Listening to this set its easy to get lost, and think you've gone back to the era when a band out of nowhere released a scorching single, and then disappeared back wherever they came from.
Thirty-nine bands are heard here, with the BOTTLEUPS represented with two tracks-making a total of 40 tracks of scorching,pounding rock. The fact that these bands call Sweden home is immaterial once you hear this music-its relentless with very little let-up. This is drum-pounding, squealing/fuzz-drenched guitars, snotty vocals style music, which makes for some intense listening. And in case anyone is wondering about the vocals-all these guys sound as if they could have come from street corners anywhere between the West and East coasts of the U.S.
The groups (like WAYWARD SOULS, PUSHTWANGERS, SINNERS, RUMBLERS, SLOBSTER, and LEATHER NUN) are not (unless you're a deep collector of this music) well known to many listeners in the U.S. With song titles like "This Ain't The Summer Of Love", "Insane", "Out Of My Mind", "Where Are You Sleeping Tonight?", "Don't Push Me Around", "Just Another Loner", and "She's Blind (But I Don't Mind)", you get the feeling that this isn't exactly a collection of flowery sunshine pop. No, this is sweaty, no holds barred garage/psych/punk rock 'n' roll, pumped out by bands with plenty of attitude.
This set is one of the best compilations of its type since the release of the "Nuggets" garage sets. This music is full of the aggressive sound found on the best tracks from those box sets-exciting,dirty, and visceral. The sometimes draw-dropping guitar/drums/vocal combination is air-guitar/drumming heaven. If you like the above box sets-get this. Sounds really liberating if played at neighbor complaining volume. Hopefully there's a volume two soon.