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The Oil Slick: Three Albums That Didn't Overthink It

Some albums heap sophistication on every track, burdening each chord with subtlety and making listeners work for every sonic breakthrough. They are albums that are best heard through headphones while staring plaintively at the wall, absorbing every nuance. Like Radiohead.

Fortunately, these three garage rock albums didn't have time for that, choosing instead to keep it simple and stick to songs that get right to the rock.

The Stooges, The Stooges

The band's first album came out in 1969 and still holds up as an amazingly straightforward foray into fuzz rock and punk, with some wah-wah effects thrown in for good measure. The two singles, "1969" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog," set the tone for the album's to-the-point method of rocking straight through without a second thought. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, this is the original "all killer, no filler."

The White Stripes, Elephant

With De Stijl, the Stripes flirted with getting lost into stratosphere of art rock, leaving mortals behind to dance with the likes of Sigur Ros, and even White Blood Cells meandered a bit with “Aluminum” and “The Union Forever." Fortunately, any worry about the Stripes going arty was immediately blasted out the door with the now iconic first beats of “Seven Nation Army." Elephant never looks back.

The Deadly Snakes, Ode To Joy

The Deadly Snakes play an unholy union of rockabilly and gospel, merging the jangling guitar of rockabilly with piano and fire-and-brimstone lyrics. The Snakes keep the pedal pressed to the floor throughout Ode to Joy, and the result is full of love, death and revenge, all covered with a fiery-eyed enthusiasm that makes it hard to sit still while listening.

John Grimley writes The Oil Slick blog for