Armed and Hammered – Review

Armed and Hammered

(Double Deuce)
by Jon Sarre

Compilations are kinda like candy assortments. You’re really gonna like some of it and wish there were more. Some of it you’re gonna squeeze between your fingers and see pink goo ooze out, and then you’ll put it back in the box and hope someone else will eat it (except I’ve never met anybody who likes pink or orange goo covered in chocolate – anybody who isn’t a dog, that is. Dogs will eat anything). I guess that’s what makes Armed & Hammered a good compilation. It’s pretty much free of those squashed bits you’ll be throwing to your house pets two weeks after Valentine’s Day. Is this analogy making any sense at all?

Regardless, you’ve got 16 songs by eight bands, all especially captured, recorded, and packaged for your listening pleasure. The way I see it, three of these bands are top-notch. Three are pretty damn good and two… well, I squeezed ’em and didn’t like what came out. But hey, I’m kinda picky. Here they are:

Pet UFO – “Chess Club”/”Leviathing” Hardcore stripped down to a big fat fuzz guitar droning in tandem with the drums and bass. The screaming in-your-face femme vocals make it all sound fresh as two seconds ago while the relentless riff recalls the furious intensity of first-generation American Punk Rock.

Jack Black – “Top Daddy (In a GTO)”/”Nervous Wreck” Social Distortion if they really were the greasers they pretend to be. The Stray Cats if they weren’t closet new-wavers. The Cramps if they had gone the punk rock route instead of probing the hiccuping fits of rockabilly psychosis. “Top Daddy (In A GTO)” is a love song to sex in a truly bad-ass car — a gear head’s wet-dream. “Nervous Wreck has a riff that sounds ripped from the Bad Brains and is a great hunka hunka paranoia. Listen to it before leaving the house in the morning.

Industry Girl – “Geezer”/”Scampi” Why haven’t either of these songs been released? What are you waitin’ for, a goddamn “pretty please with sugar on top”? Real good stuff with distortion turned all the way up. Even the vocals are muddy as all hell. Both tracks are a mess, but the structure shines right through all the muck. Perfect!

Your Majesty – “Intention = 15%/”pH” Lo-fi offerings. Neither cut really moves, but they’re short enough so you don’t get sick of ’em.
Tub – “Life By Beerlight”/”Cut”
Ff – “Killing Me”/”Lies”

Forgive me for lumping these two bands in together, but I kinda see both as pretty decent punk bands. Neither come up with anything new, but their stuff holds up all right. Ff is the heavier of the two (both in sound and collective mass). Tub does a faithful cover of the Minutemen’s “Cut.”

Just Plain Big and Antimony round out Armed and Hammered. Neither band really moved me, but hey, maybe you or someone you know will be into ’em. You’ll probably like somethin’ on this disc.