Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Punks, Skins & Psychos

One of my fondest memories of first getting into punk music was buying lots of compilations. There was something especially cool, back in the day, about getting to hear a whole lot of great bands on one release for a highly affordable price. I could, in fact, name a number of bands that I went on to love after first discovering them on comps. Punks, Skins & Psychos, out on Zodiac Killer/Skinhead Retirement Plan Records, is a new comp in that old school spirit. It's got 29 tracks, clocks in at nearly 70s minutes, and comes specially priced at $8. Talk about a sweet deal! How often do you hear a 29-track comp where literally every band is good? This is one of those cases! Musically, this comp delivers a great mix of punk, Oi!, hardcore, pyschobilly, rockabilly, and good, old filthy rock n' roll. And I love the way all these songs flow together - proving that loud, aggressive music is fucking awesome regardless of how people choose to categorize it.

Punks, Skins & Psychos starts off with the Stiletto Boys' instant powerpop classic "Cannon Fodder", and goes right into a street punk kick in the teeth from the Iron City Hooligans followed by some raging psychobilly from Los Gatos Locos. That totally sets the tone for the rest of the comp. There's plenty of variety - but somehow everything fits together perfectly. Favorite tracks of mine run quite the gamut from the thundering sing-along Oi! of The Shame to the urgent hardcore punk of Hated Noise to the glam/trash greatness of Fishnet Stalkers to the punishing velocity of Speedozer to the anthemic hardcore of local legends Rightstart. F & L favorites such as The Pegs and Hitchhikers contribute ably to this monster collection, as do the almighty Dwarves. And like any good comp, Punks, Skins & Psychos has turned me on to some really good bands that I wasn't previously aware of. I will definitely be looking to hear more from Al and the Black Cats and The Hillbilly Huxters!

Ron spent four years looking for the right bands to contribute to Punks, Skins & Psychos, and he really chose wisely. This lineup is stacked! There are bands here not just from all over the country, but from all over the world as well. And I like that a lot of these tracks were culled from bands' demos and LPs. Sometimes where comps go wrong is in insisting on previously unreleased material. That's when you often wind up with lesser tracks. Well, there's nothing lesser about these tracks! This is nothing but the good shit from a ton of great bands. If hearing this collection doesn't get you fired up about the current state of punk music, you may be beyond saving. Did I mention it's only $8? Get it from Zodiac Killer Records!



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