Punch Drunk III

Punch Drunk III

Various Artists

TKO

Arrrgghh! Did you ever get a great CD, yet there’s one or two things about it that really piss you off? First, let me state that TKO is very probably my favorite label right now, putting out some great “street punk” that hearkens to back in the day (this comp contains three covers: The Forgotten doing Generation X’s “Your Generation,” Antiseen doing The Ramones’ “Commando,” and Terminus City’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”) and gets me excited about rock and roll again. Second, this comp has some great stuff on it — Bonecrusher’s “Gotta Believe” and Guitar Gangsters’ “Safety Pin Through My Heart” among them, along with other bands which I already given favorable nods to right on this here Web site (The Partisans, The Generators, Electric Frankenstein, Angelic Upstarts).

Then there’s the underbelly of street punk that surfaces a few times here, and it’s not pretty. Sure, I can take some tough-guy posing vis-Ã -vis choice of band names (“Thug Murder” does seem a bit much, though their song here is great), but when the lyrics start to glorify stupidity, whether mindless violence or prejudice, that’s another thing altogether. Fortunately only one song here strays over the idiot line, the misogynist “Let the Bitch Do It,” by some lowlifes I won’t favor with a mention. I seriously wonder what TKO is thinking including crap like that on an otherwise fine collection. Pandering to such lunkhead sentiment to sell a record is pretty damn low, but TKO repeats itself by inclusion of a “hidden track” (I hate those things to begin with) stuck on to the end of a live Upstarts track, consisting of a some unnamed drunken musician getting in a fight with a drunken heckler. Wow, we can get drunk and fight! Freaking brilliant.

Is this a fatal flaw? No. The bands no doubt had no say over the inclusion of sexist crap (in particular, I wonder what the female lead singer of Thug Murder feels about having her song on a comp with someone who apparently considers her a second-class citizen). Nevertheless, I’d say buy the thing for the great music that is here, but make a point of letting TKO you don’t support their inclusion of bigotry on their label. I just did.

TKO Records: http://www.tkorecords.com

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