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Black Monk Time

The Monks

1966

Black Monk Time
Album Summary

Black Monk Time is the only studio album by German-based American rock band The Monks. It was released in March 1966 through Polydor Records and was the only album released during the band's original incarnation. The album's subversive style and lyrical content was radical for its time and today is considered an important landmark in the development of punk rock. In 2017, Black Monk Time was ranked the 127th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.9

Votes

10215
Genres
Rock

Reviews

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

The story of the Monks is one of those rock & roll tales that seems too good to be true -- five Americans soldiers stationed in Germany form a rock band to blow off steam, and after starting out playing solid but ordinary R&B-influenced beat music, their songs evolve into something that bear practically no relation to anything happening in pop in 1966. If anything, the Monks were far wilder than their story would suggest; they may have looked bizarre in their matching black outfits, rope ties, and tonsures, but it was their music that was truly radical, with the sharp fuzz and feedback of Gary Burger's guitar faced off against the bludgeoning clang of Dave Day's amplified banjo (taking the place of rhythm guitar), as Roger Johnston pounded out minimalist patterns on the drums, Eddie Shaw's electric bass gave forth with a monstrous throb, and Larry Clark's keyboard bounced off the surfaces of the aural melee. This would have been heady stuff even without Burger's wild-eyed vocals, in which he howls "I hate you with a passion, baby," "Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam?" and "Believing you're wise, being so dumb" over the band's dissonant fury. The closest thing the Monks had to a musical counterpart in 1966 were the Velvet Underground, but existing on separate continents they never heard one another at the time, and while Lou Reed and John Cale were schooled in free jazz and contemporary classical that influenced their work, the Monks were creating a new species of rock & roll pretty much out of their heads. Given all this, it's all the more remarkable that they landed a record deal with a major German label, and while Black Monk Time, their first and only studio album, doesn't boast a fancy production, the simple, clean recording of the group's crazed sounds captures their mad genius to striking effect, and the mingled rage and lunatic joy that rises from these songs is still striking decades after they were recorded. Within a year of the release of Black Monk Time, the band would break up (reportedly over disagreements about a possible tour of Vietnam), and the two singles that followed the LP were more pop-oriented efforts that suggested the Monks couldn't keep up this level of intensity forever. But in late 1965, the Monks were rock & roll's most savage visionaries, and Black Monk Time preserves their cleansing rage in simple but grand style.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

These guys were either music trolls who didn't give a fuck, visionaries who were waiting for the rest of the rock world to catch up to them, or (mostly likely) both. At times it's post-punk before punk was even a thing and this Aussie likes it and gives it five bowls of Weet-Bix out of five.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
2

When I read pitchfork rated this 'the 127th greatest album of the 60's' I knew I was in for some bullshit.

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Fri Oct 30 2020
5

Fuck yes. Stooges, eat your heart out. Awesome proto-punk that I literally never knew about prior. Demented, fun, and way ahead of it's time. Favorite tracks: "I Hate You", "Higgle-Dy Piggle-Dy", "Monk Time"

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Fri Aug 26 2022
2

The album that apparently invented punk rock AND krautrock. This sounds a bit like Booker T and the MCs trying to play the Sex Pistols. Undoubtedly musically and lyrically innovative and influential; it's incredible that this was released in 1966. However, to my modern ear it's pretty much unlistenable. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: We Do We Do Date listened: 25/08/22

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

It was fucking awesome. Take the who, royally piss them off, and throw in some doors.

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Mon Mar 15 2021
5

This record is fucking bananas and I kind of love it. Also, I can’t believe it came out in 1966 - in Germany. Holy shit.

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Sun Mar 07 2021
5

Fantastic! This is a good example of 1001 albums revealing a hidden gem. I took a guess this was made in the 90s and was shocked to see it was 1965! This beats freakout by zappa, which is the closest album I can compare it to. As for a review, these guys were way ahead of their time. Super talented band. Completely uninhibited and a feat for the ears. Favorite song - Shut up / complication. Least favorite: cuckoo. I did not include the bonus songs in my review. Lower to 4 stars with the bonus songs.

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Sun Mar 20 2022
5

A few weeks ago I got some forgettable album from some forgettable band that played forgettable music around the same year this came out. I said something like: "there was so much going on that was revolutionary or excellent around this time that this being included in this list is just asinine" Black Monk Time is one of those albums. This is just phenomenal when you consider what was going on in music at the time. This is on par with the likes of The Velvet Underground and The Stooges. Just amazing music made the way they wanted to make it. I will admit that my total enjoyment of the music itself is probably a 3, but it gets extra points for how and when it was made. This was at the beginning of my favorite movement in music. I'm glad this project got me to listen to this. I needed this.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

A hidden gem. I had never heard of this band but after listening to this album, I can hear tinges of punk within an experimental framework. It's interesting to think about what was coming out in 1966, the Beatles' Revolver, the Beach Boy's Pet Sounds etc., and Black Monk Time sounds completely different. Truly incredible

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Tue Jul 27 2021
4

my favorite phase in a lot of rock bands is that phase where their ambition exceeds their abilities and usually that's the part that gets swept away and hidden when the band makes it big. but that phase was it for the monks- weird skronky ideas that sound like rough drafts, stabs at early proto-prog, and a lot of quirks that would show up later in punk. except the compositions are almost childlike in nature, delivered unenthusiastically and clumsily. shitpost by band that knew what they were doing or amateurs with ideas exceeding their talents? this thing's kinda great.

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Sat Jun 05 2021
2

Found the music quite irritating, actually

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Wed Aug 25 2021
1

holy crap. the only thing i can say is that it really is amazing that there is essentially something different to hate about every single song on this album. they are way too much up their own butt with psychedelic clown music.

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Fri Sep 15 2023
5

This is genuinely one of the best album's I've gotten in this project. From the story, to the lyrics, to the outfits, to, of course, the music. This feels like Velvet Even More Underground. It's like pre-punk post-punk. I LOVE THIS.

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Tue Oct 20 2020
4

another very fun listen, very proto-punk great 60s vibe, i hate you and higgle dy piggle dy are bangers

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Sun Jul 11 2021
4

This is some wild shit that I’ve never heard of. Wow

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Thu Jun 17 2021
4

Funky, psychedelic. Hammond organ, perfect

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

This band was way ahead of their time, like, this was a 60s record? It's so irreverent and punkish in tones and just seems like a bunch of young kids breaking shit and having a good time and I dig it. Honestly reminded me a bit of The Electric Prunes, but stronger and more "I don't give a fuck" I really liked "We Do Wie Du"

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Sun Sep 19 2021
4

What a weird and wonderful album. Can definitely feel the roots of punk rock and psychedelic in this album. Some songs sound like they could directly be the queens of the stone age

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Tue Jun 08 2021
3

Points for being unique and ahead of its time, and a fair bit of music I genuinely enjoyed, but as is often the case with the avant garde I found a fair bit of it pretty trying as well.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
2

Anticipates Devo and other herky-jerk rockers by a decade or so. Their descedants were an improvement.

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Wed May 19 2021
5

I loved it. Fun sound, funny band photos.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

Wild ride! Crazy to think this album came out in '66. Very early punk elements, quite avant-garde for it's time. Loved it.

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Wed Jul 27 2022
5

First time I've heard this album. Good!

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Mon Aug 08 2022
5

Up until now only knew a couple of Monks songs (from Nuggets, Fall covers, soundtracks etc) but had never listened to the album. This album is much, much better than your average 60s garage rock album. Together with "Elephant Mountain" the two best albums that I found out about through the 1001 Album Generator. (Unfortunately I listened to the version with bonus tracks - skip these tracks!)

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Sun Sep 04 2022
5

Over a decade ago I listened to this because it was on a Pitchfork list, and unlike a lot of the stuff on there, it blew me away. It sounds like pre punk punk, except with bizarre instrumentation (Hammond and banjo feature as a standard part, but played as part of a punky set up). It is slightly angry and slightly silly (Higgle-dy, piggle dy?) And all bloody brilliant.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
5

Amazing find. Loved every second of this. The shrill voice, the punk aspects.

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Wed Nov 30 2022
5

Psychedelic proto punk gold. The velvet underground, Stooges and the Doors with a pinch of Captain Beefheart thrown in for good measure. This is what I love about 1001 albums!

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Fri Jan 20 2023
5

Higgle-dy - Piggle-dy, mfers

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Thu Jan 26 2023
5

Off-the-beaten-path and hokey and spastic in places, but these guys took a risk. Though they fizzled, easy to find the influences in other music that I enjoy.

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Mon Mar 06 2023
5

Well this is...........ahead of it's time. To give some background to my 5 star rating I'd just spent the morning listening to artsy twaddle from the 50's in another chart so when I put this on it blew the cobwebs away. 5 stars for impact alone. These guys just don't give a damn and it's great.

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Sun Apr 02 2023
5

This is brilliant. I am actually disappointed that I'd not heard it previously. Especially liked We Do Wie Du, but the whole album has a lovely pre-punk feel that really strokes my yak. I'll definitely be coming back to this.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

Wow! Somebody needs to do a doco on these legends. Had never heard of them but won't ever forget them.

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Sun May 07 2023
5

1966? Holy shit. The subversiveness feels much more modern in terms of sensibilities, I would have believed this to come out this year even. It's unhinged in the best way, not too abrasive but they got something to fucking say. Continues to build the case that I am a huge fan of protopunk over modern punk. I mean, look at this shit. Brilliant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H-fmmNmrRs Only album by them, very punk rock of them. *chefs kiss*

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Sun May 07 2023
5

These guys didn't give a fuck in the most interesting way possible. Their unique context allowed them to get away with pushing the envelope further than most could at the time. The sheer intensity of the playing on this album is simply amazing. So uninhibited, with this fierce bitter anger underlying every note of their mutant garage rock, no matter how sarcastically sweet they try to make it. Sounds at once overly rigid to the point of absurdity, and like sheer wild abandonment. I'm so glad they made their catharsis into an album.

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Wed Jul 19 2023
5

Similar sound to The Animals, same keyboard sounds but overall easy to listen to

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Fri Sep 15 2023
5

Now this is some interesting proto Punk garage stuff. I loved it, but it does get an Asterisk low 5 for being off Spotify and only on YouTube as far as I could find it.

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Mon Oct 16 2023
5

I cannot overstate just how much this rips. The music on here is so primitive that I felt my IQ points dropping. One gets the impression that the band couldn't spell the word 'subtle' as a group effort, let alone understand it any kind of conceptual sense. There is a magic zone, however, between ambition and execution that this album occupies. Just to take one example - the drumming is so rudimentary that it morphs into something quite hypnotic and almost martial in its simple insistence. Limitations become an asset and something weird and wonderful is brought into the world. As a consequence, this feels like the headwaters for a lot of punk, garage rock and even krautrock. Superb.

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Wed Nov 29 2023
5

Wait, wait, wait! This exists! Rhythmically sonic and playful -- a fun, unexpected moment in time. I praise this album because it's both unexpected (how did I miss this?) and a joy to listen to repeatedly.

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Sun Dec 17 2023
5

So far ahead of its time. It's honestly quite surprising to think that this came out when and where it did. Yes, it does get pretty out there at times, but it's genuinely interesting to listen to.

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Fri Feb 16 2024
5

Upbeat, lively. Cacophonous. Not a lot of lyrics. Rock-a-billy/beatles/punk.

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Fri Feb 23 2024
5

This was an incredible listen. Really enjoyed this. This must have been pretty revolutionary.

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Wed Mar 20 2024
5

Cool to see the origins of garage rock so clearly here. As that's one of my favorite genres, I really appreciate this album. So much of that sound is already so clear here. Plus the songs are just catchy bops.

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Sun Jun 13 2021
4

Now this is why I'm here. Finding albums like this is what makes all this worthwhile. This guy's singing voice is so original and I Frickin' loved this listening experience.

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Wed May 05 2021
4

How many times have I told you guys it's black monk time? Now, finally, here we are. It was the most fun I've ever had.

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Thu Mar 11 2021
4

Interesting early garage album I hadn’t heard before, you can see how it had influenced many other acts up til now

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Fri Mar 26 2021
4

I really like the sound, old school and still very contemporary sound.

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Tue May 04 2021
4

Seminal album way before it’s time however gets marked down due to repetitiveness and annoying quirkiness

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Tue May 25 2021
4

A bit more substance than a lot of modern rock...and started out strong with a throwback to the times during Vietnam war...but it became repetitive. Still I’ll give it 4 stars but won’t listen again.

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Mon Jun 21 2021
4

Definetly new to me very proto punk like the kinks liked it

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Wed May 12 2021
4

This one was out there. I liked it.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
4

Jeden z tych nietypowych pickow, do ktorych trzeba przysiasc wiecej niz raz, zeby przesluchac plyte w calosci, podczas pierwszego odsluchu sie odbilem, ale jednak nie zrazilem, jak mogl powstac twor tak niespojny, a jednak sluchalny i unikalny w swoim brzmieniu, trzeba zaczac od tego, ze jest to pierwszy i ostatni album jaki wypuscily monki to material nagrany przez 4 hamerykanskich wojakow w zachodnich niemcach z dodatkowym cywilnym drumerem, niemcy lat 60, to oczywiscie musi sie pojawic krautrock, ktorego mozna sie tu takze doszukac, ale w odroznieniu od wczesniejszych krautowych pickow, tym razem kompozycje trakow sa bardziej rokowe dwu minutowe songi, wiec nie ma tu 15 minutowych kawalkow jak u kraftwerka, choc zdarzaja sie traki z minimalna iloscia wokalu, jak na blast off, co do samego wokalu, to jego kontent jest iscie punkowy, a raczej proto punkowy, bo to jednak lata 60, wiec scena punkowa jest dopiero w powijakach, jak przystalo na wojakow liryka jest mocno zwiazana z bezsensem wojny, miejscem czleka w wyobcowanym swiecie bez domu czy swego miejsca, obok tego duzo trakow nawiazujacych do romantyzmu zaserwowanego po punkowemu, ale co najlepsze w tych trakach jest to, ze jako muzyka grana dla niemca, daje to wolne rece jesli chodzi o kontent i jego przekaz, wiec o ile zdecydowanie nie sa to dobre wokale pod wzgledem muzycznym, to czuje sie z nich walaszkowata energie, zwlaszcza taki takie jak drunek maria, niby pierdzielenie trzy po trzy, ale jednak cos w tym jest, najbardziej niemieckim akcentem plyty sa wlasnie wokale na oh, how to do now, ktore jak dla mnie staraja sie nasladowac jodlowanie, jesli chodzi o instrumentale, to banda 5 osobowa, wiec calkiem standardowy rokowy sklad, zamiast klasycznych klawiszy zostaly wykorzystany elektroniczne organy philcorda, z cudow technicznych lat 60 dochodzi jeszcze elektryczne banjo, jesli dodac do tego mocne wykorzystanie overdriva dostajemy szorstki i surowy dzwiek, ktory wcale nie komplementuje samego wokalu, a raczej idzie z nim razem w parze, te dwie strony laczy chorkowanie ktore w jednych momentach brzmi jak beach boysowe harmonie, a w innych jak ich parodia, jestem w stanie zrozumiec dlaczego monki sie nie sprzedaly, a jednoczesnie staly sie kult klasikiem muzycznych nerdow, bo mnie rowniez kupil ten material, choc to tylko 30 minut na 12 trakach w wersji z 66, spotifajowa wersja zawiera 6 dodatkowych trakow, co daje laczny czas krazka 47 minut, z plejlistowych pickow musi sie znalezc otwierajacy monk time, potem kawalek wydany jako promo singiel czyli complication, oraz boys are the boys and girls are the choice, a caly album leci do biblioteczki spotifajowej, w ciagu dwoch dni prawie setka skrobli wpadla, co nie zdarzylo sie mi chyba jeszcze przy sluchaniu tej listy

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Tue Jul 27 2021
4

Reading how the band was formed helps with making sense of the introductory “Monk Time”. Nowadays this album doesn’t have a shocking/revolutionary effect, so that’s hard to judge. I appreciate the Hammond organ. With some more repetition I’ll probably value this album just as much as the Beatles b-sides from this time. The bonus tracks (not included in the rating) are alright, they are intentionally more tame.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
4

It's very interesting to discover these "hidden" things from music history. This is not the best punk that I listened to, but thinking about the age of this album it sounds so much fresh that it definitely worths it

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Wed Aug 11 2021
4

Very cool album...I will listen to it again and probably again and again. I can't believe this has not been discovered by me to date, Right up my alley 4 stars

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

Love this - had it for years, ever since the Fall covered a few of their songs.

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Wed Sep 29 2021
4

This album was really cool and so before it’s time. One of the gems this site has given me. This record is just very fun in general

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

👍 Enjoyed this a lot, beat, rhythm that probably ended up with the B52's

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Fri Nov 26 2021
4

Pretty cool stuff for 1966. Not every song was great, but really dug their sound, esp. the distortion. Progressive stuff

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Thu Dec 02 2021
4

Scrappy, rough, and energetic

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

This would be a TRIP live. It's like I'm listening to a band who's just dropped a tonne of acid. I enjoyed it a fair bit though it did make me a bit nervous listening to it, but it did go off the rails with the bonus tracks (especially Cuckoo. That's actually... Well.... Cuckoo.) I can imagine this being one of 18 yo Soipe's favourite albums and therefor I must give it a generous 4 stars. I feel The Monsters/Reverend Beatman listened to this when they were growing up

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Thu Dec 16 2021
4

I glanced at the band, saw they'd released one album, and was confused how it was a must listen to before you die... Then I read the history of the band, okay... Beginning to make more sense... This stuff was ahead of it's time, feels more like a modern post punk album made in the 60s. 4/5.

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Sun Dec 19 2021
4

Bad. Ass. Dudes. While the Beatles were singing "la-la yeah-yeah", the Monks (self-proclaimed "anti-Beatles") scared crowds of well-behaved kids with this album. (7/10) FT: I Hate You

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Fri Jan 28 2022
4

The animals, scrappy rock n roll sprinkled with the doors.

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Mon Feb 07 2022
4

Weird, but in a good way! Really odd to hear songs in English, but intended for a German/non-anglophone audience. Lots of influence on lots of bands I like, even though I had never heard of them before

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

Songs from  albums released in 1966 that the App has sent us include Scarborough Fair,  God Only Knows and California Dreamin' and we add to the 1966 class list I Hate You from The Monks. As they used to sing on Sesame Street: "One of these things just doesn't belong."  I can't believe The Monks  made music like this in 1966.The only thing harder to believe is that Polydor signed them. How could anyone think that shit kicking music like this was going to sell back then?  I Hate You was on The Big Lebowski soundtrack. If The Dude likes this it is no surprise he hates the fuckin Eagles.

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Wed Mar 16 2022
4

A standout garage rock piece from the time. The closest 60s album to resemble punk. Vocals are harsh and direct, using offensive language and touching on sensitive or nonsensical subject matter. It shocked me seeing tracks called "Shut Up" and "I Hate You" on a 60s album. Melody is fast and minimalistic, with short tunes that fly by (much like The Ramones or Wire) and slight variations to a repetitive rhythm that go out of control. Instruments are raw and often abrasive, but I really like the use of the organ. Very typical of the time in garage rock, just look at "96 Tears" by ? And the Mysterions or The Electric Prunes. Every track starts off with a hook that draws my attention, which is great considering many of the tracks have little to no vocals. No bad tracks, although the momentum dies by the last few. The bonus tracks are kinda boring, even their long titles are a bore to stare at. I really enjoyed listening to this album. Probably the most consistent garage rock (outside VU and Stooges) effort out there.

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Fri Mar 18 2022
4

This is a punk album before punk even knew what it was. Higgle-Dy-Piggle-Dy is a perfect example. Complication is a sound straight out of the 80s almost 15 years before its time. Drunken Maria is another one.

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Sun Mar 20 2022
4

fascinating stuff, really interesting.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
4

I thought this was some brit-pop type Oasis shit but it turned out to be some sick 60's Psych music. Better than I expected but a lot of the songs sounded like one another

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Fri Apr 01 2022
4

I've recently gotten into Viagra Boys, and finding this Monks album is like stumbling across the base formula for VB. It's raw, tounge-in-cheek, and fuckin' nasty. Can't believe this came out in the 60's!

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Sun Apr 03 2022
4

This grooves and has an edge, seemingly upbeat, but quite nihilist. Made in Germany it doesn't have the psychedelic noodling of Jefferson Airplane, Doors, Iron Butterfly etc. Just mid 60s tight rhythmic beat groove and lots of fun.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
4

Good album. Liked the sounds

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Thu May 26 2022
4

Some definite misses, but there were some good songs on here.

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Sun May 29 2022
4

This started off very standard psychedelic punk rock… but got a lot more interesting as the album. Defo one to revisit!

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Fri Jun 03 2022
4

This is a very interesting album. I remember hearing about it a long time ago as one of the earliest examples of proto-punk music. I can certainly see how it's that, as well as how it fits in with a lot of the garage band music of the time. Overall it's a good album, far more pleasant and well-produced than I would have expected. There are even some songs that I think could have been released as singles. 4/5

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Fri Jun 10 2022
4

Something about the guitar on this album....

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Thu Jul 14 2022
4

Definitely early punk rock. Super cool slice of history.

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Wed Jul 20 2022
4

I’m a sucker for Garage Rock, and the fact this album was created in the ‘60’s, and the band members dressed up at shows, those are also pluses for me. My spidey-senses did tingle with possible misogynistic lyrics, but again, it was the ‘60’s and most lyrics were all about “boys & girls”.

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Sun Aug 07 2022
4

What's this? I'm immediately reminded of Dead Kennedys or something like that except isn't this from 1966? Then we get an organ, which is about the only thing 60's about this weird, energetic ride. A ton of fun. Higgle-dy-Piggle-dy, Monk Time, Complication were particular stand outs.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
4

Interesante sonido black sesentero

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Wed Sep 14 2022
4

Un disco bastante interesante pero que me hubiera gustado poder haberlo escuchado con más atención, seguramente le dare mas escuchadas en un futuro pero fue bueno conocerlo gracias a esta página.

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Sun Oct 09 2022
4

Garage rockproto-pun. Del 66.

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Sun Oct 09 2022
4

Garage rock. Me ha gustado. Un 4.

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Fri Oct 21 2022
4

Not too bad, not the biggest fan

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