Music Reviews

Old Skars & Upstarts 2002

Various Artists


The Discontent… The Hunns? Typhoon Motor Dudes? The Briggs… The Briggs? Huh? Who are these guys and where do they come from? Here’s my first clue I was going to dig this stuff… I never heard of most of ‘em… and about halfway in, since I started writing, I haven’t heard a single pop lick in the bunch! Could it be? An entire hour-long throttle-pinching, piston pumping, punk as fuck session without the slightest trace of smirk or sellout? Yeah, could be… so if that’s what you base your listenership on, then get ready for a face full of dirt to go with the skull splitting headache!

Face it; most people thought The Hives were cool, until… And The Strokes? Yeah, had the groove going, right? There’s my take, the bands got the goods until… they got “good.” (Simply put, popularity caught up with them through no real fault of their own, but to the really hardcore, who cares, I don’t need to hear ‘em on the radio and sure as shit don’t need their faces smudged across the latest boarded building. I can pick off about eleven or twelve really catchy bands here that bleed the volume for every last ounce, but got enough groove to really do some aural damage to the mainstream populous if they ever caught on. Really, it’s cliché but fuck all, it’s the truth, The Hives got lucky. No one gave a fuck about ‘em a few years ago, in fact who wouldn’t have laughed heartily at their expense, seeing these big goofballs in black rims and bowling shoes?)

But anything called Disaster Records is worth a look, and here you got about 27 different bands doing their own version of Chuck Berry meets Damien Thorne on death alley where they both come out stylin’ smilin’ and sucking wind… right, and so what if we had the warning labels on albums during the late fifties? Ha, man, talk about free reign!

These bands are so good it’s criminal… even the two or three wankers doing their Creedence Clearwater Revival revivalist muddle through the moonlight bullshit can be overlooked cuz they’re easily forgotten. So what are words worth? When is punk “punk,” and what do we define as rock and roll these days? Death punk, garage punk, garage rock, Joe’s Garage, Devil dealing. domestic abuse… sneering, snot nosed, hipper than holy… it’s rock and roll done to death by bands with dirty hands and heavy balls, (sorry Texas Terri, no slight intended, yours rank right up there!) heavy lids, and all expenses paid down Dictators’ lane somewhere between the frays of The Sex Pistols, UK Subs, Rocket To Russia, and something to do with White rioting… yeah, fill in the blanks, but “oi” is “cool” and this comp’s got plenty of ‘em both, whatever side of the Atlantic your arse is sitting.

What’s this all mean? Who fucking knows? First of all, forget the fluff, stash away your summer blonde, grease up yer bearings, plug in, zone out and break things! Yeah most are bands you probably never heard much of –The Discontent, Bad Chopper, The Sound Brigade, Oxymoron… and if ya have, good for you, you know they’re alright, and so apparently does your doctor. Then there’s stuff from U.S. Bombs, The Stitches, The Forgotten, The Worthless, and even Mudhoney, of all things to close out from their killer Since We’ve Become Translucent comeback, leading “The Straight Life” (which we all know is full of shit anyway).

So there’s a nice selection going here of hand picked trash picker last nickel, less art, more mucous rock bands with one last lethal dose of poison for the dead generation!

Total Energy Records:

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