Sunday, April 12, 2015
Track of the Week: The Seeds "Pushin' Too Hard"
There are certain styles of music that have a sound that I just can't resist, a sound and feel that sometimes supersedes the songs and artists themselves. After seeing that famed 60s underground Seattle band The Sonics had reunited and put out their first album in almost fifty years, I did a deep re-dive into sixties garage rock during my morning commutes this week. Fuzzy guitars, caveman rhythms, bright organs, and sneering vocals make a helluva combination, one that always keeps bringing me back.
If I had to go back to the old days before iPods and make a mix CD of garage rock that could fit into a 77 minute box, "Pushin' Too Hard" by The Seeds would be one of a handful of songs that would make the cut, no questions asked. The song starts with a demented organ line and frantic pace, putting the listener right into the damaged mind of singer and principal songwriter Sky Saxon. (And no, that's not his real name.) He rants and sneers about others "pushin' him too hard" in a way that captures the teenage psyche perfectly. Before the song gets very far it jumps right into an organ solo that sounds like spinning plates about to crash and a basic, plunking guitar solo that despite its almost comic simplicity, comes across just as sinister as Saxon's voice. I wish I had known about this song when I was sixteen, since it would have well complimented my theatrical defiance and over-inflated sense of individuality.
Garage rock was the ultimate teenage music made by young men who wanted to imitate their British Invasion heroes but were unable to match their musical virtuosity. It is simplistic, often to the point of ineptitude, but when lightning strikes in just the right place, like on "Pushin' Too Hard," the result is so stirring that you don't notice the absence of even a third chord.