A Punk and Hardcore Compilation!

Rodent Popsicle

Punk and hardcore bands spring up by the billions wherever there are suburbs to be bored in or capitalism to rebel against. It’s impossible to keep track of the many existing scenes. This is true of all music forms, but especially hardcore, with bands practically never able (or willing) to make the transition from the underground to major labels, and with bands regularly splitting and reforming and splitting again every second week or so.

We’ve long since known that Boston’s got a rich hardcore scene. For anyone not living there, though, there’s no way to tell what’s actually going on. This compilation explains it to us. The fact that this is a double disc set, with a whopping sixty bands doing one song each, should be testimony to the size of Boston’s current hardcore scene. These two discs portray bands active on the scene during 2002 and 2003, which means some of the city’s late, great bands are left out, and there’s not a sense of historical lineage. However, as a snapshot of a particular moment in time, this works great.

That’s not to say that all the bands on here are great, because they most certainly aren’t. Rodent Popsicle has scurried the scene for every last band, it seems, and the contributing bands vary from the semi-established to the up-and-coming to the upstart-and-going nowhere demo bands. Soundwise, this makes for an uneven listening experience. But hey, that’s punk rock as we know it and love it.

More important are the bands’ musical achievements, and the results here vary from the shoulder-shrugging to the great. Most bands in the Boston scene, it appears, are pretty influenced by old-school hardcore, and with a couple of death metal grunts and choppy playing, there really aren’t any bands here straying too far away from the hardcore blueprint. It’s still a very diverse compilation, though, moving form the straight-forward hardcore punk of The Profits, Self Destruct and The Vanished via classy punkers Czolgolsz and Red Invasion to the rock ‘n’ roll-infected street-punk of Crash and Burn and Tommy & The Terrors. USM’s “Got a Reason” is a particular favorite of this writer, sounding like an outtake from Rancid’s Wolves, while the Oi-core of The Blue Bloods and the riot grrl of The Hymen Maneuver are great too.

Sixty bands and almost two and a half hours could leave you a bit drained by the end. It’s not really recommended to listen to this in one stretch (trust me, I tried it). However, as an overview of the current Boston punk and hardcore scene, this is impressively compiled, well sequenced and certainly worthy of the $5.99 that the cover advises you to pay for it. Anyone who wants to know what’s going on in Boston, who wants to hear some current old-school bands, or simply wants to support these bands and their small punk imprint, should give this a shot. You know just about what you’re getting, and you know it’s bound to be pretty good stuff.

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