Friday, January 27, 2012

Skate Rock Vol 1

  (DC Jam)

"Skate Rock" suggests punk/hardcore that was featured in the music pages of skateboarding bible Thrasher magazine. Sure enough on this double CD there's a fair representation of the old guard from the days when the sensible refused to pay import price for a magazine full of ads. Expectations of early eighties-style American punk are fulfilled in tracks listed from Government Issue, The Big Boys, Painted Willie, JFA and Trusty.

Frontside Five's tight, fast and snotty "Killing Time" recalls Angry Samoans. The Copyrights play some of the weakest pop-punk ever made and putting them between Frontside Five and The Dwarves highlights what truly terrible listening material they make. PEZZ also fall into the lame pop-punk category. Their singer is more in time with a broken grandfather clock in another country than any of his fellow band members.

A number of bands on this compilation don't really fall into the loose pigeonhole of punk at all. For example, the hip-hop style with shared male and female vocals of The Heard is a very puzzling non-rock inclusion. Minus One sound like one of the millions of 80's hair metal bands who couldn't pull off being Van Halen despite their best efforts. 3000 Pounds sound like Sublime. Disastroid try to lay down the funk, but people shutting their eyes to their music aren't doing it because they're thinking of Stevie Wonder. Why in the world would any band want to sound like Smashmouth? In comparison, FISHBONE do an admirable job of funking up the punk. One-man-band The Rudy Shwartz Project with cartoon voices features a little headspinning arm popping twisted scratching on "Jimmy Swaggart" McRad (who definitely fit into the skate rock category) are oddly represented in two dub reggae tracks. As much as they want to be, BAD BRAINS, they are simply not and never going to be, no matter how long they hold their breath after smoking ganja.

Naked Lady Wrestlers defy the lameness of their chosen moniker and banter rip with some fast tunes. Their singer has tune-carrying capabilities and the guitarist knows his way. Off with their heads play boring faux-Irish punk. Neutral Boy is a confusing band as one track is Leatherface-worship with the required bourbon and nicotine-soaked vocals while their other track is bland radio rock. Other obvious clone bands are Plan 9 - are there any Misfits wannabes that are capable of not outstaying their welcome? But to be fair, it is possible that they just sound weak sandwiched between the hardcore of JFA and the punk bounciness of The Big Boys. Narcoleptic Youth ape Pennywise and actually do a good job of it unless of course they too were aiming to sound exactly like Bad Religion. Venomous are by far the most musically interesting band here as they have a heavy UK indie beat not unlike Suede and Gordon Gano sound-alike vocals. American Werewolves feature the howling of a human crossed with a canine beast and the band are definitely more than one dimensional as they kick ass in both their slow and fast tracks.

The problem with double albums is, if they're done well, it can be difficult to get around to listening to both discs as the first one keeps going back in the player. This one's no exception to the rule, because of the amount of dead weight on the second disc. All in all, the compilation's purpose is served in reminding of old bands associated with skateboarding and thrusting forth newer bands.


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