This is a great time for record nerds to be alive. Seemingly everything, no matter how obscure, is getting reissued, remastered, and made available through a couple keystrokes. Local Anesthetic, a recently issued compilation of punk, hardcore, post-punk, and weirdo Colorado bands from the ’80s is a case in point. Things start off with the sludgy, dirge-like “My Dad’s a Fuckin’ Alcoholic” by the Frantix, which predates the grunge sound by a decade or two. The rest of the Frantix stuff is faster but still easy to imagine as songs Mudhoney would cover. White Trash and Bum Kon bring the hardcore; White Trash’s “Nazis in my Neighborhood” and “Ballad of Ronnie Raygun” are reminders of just how good and fun hardcore could be. Reference points could be CIA, with a bit of a twistier lead guitar, all over in about a minute-and-a-half.
While most of the bands represented on the CD are punk or hardcore, there are a few surprises – Your Funeral manages to sound like 17 Seconds-era The Cure on one song and Siouxsie and the Banshees on the next. Allen Ginsberg even gets in on the act with the Gulons on “Birdbrain,” which actually isn’t that good, but is a nice try nonetheless.
The only thing to improve this diverse collection would be a better CD booklet going more into the history of the bands. How did Allen Ginsberg end up on that song? What’s the story with Jerri Rossi, whose two songs are full of lo-fi sax squealing and craziness? What are the bands doing today? Other than the lack of informative notes, Local Anesthetic is a solid release, displaying the diversity of a little-documented musical scene.