by Scott Hefflon
Already? Punk-O-Rama comps have been coming out every two years since ’94, the year it all started to end. Punk, I mean, not the universe (I ain’t that narrow-minded). I credit Punk-O-Rama1 for kicking my ass back into punk again, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that. Sure, Lookout! had offered a few Screeching Weasel and Queers records, Cruz/SST had supplied the Descendents/ALL records, and I had the respectable (yet dusty) collection of Misfits, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, et all, but that’s far different than the wallop of hearing Punk-O-Rama1 and realizing IT’S HAPPENING ALL OVER AGAIN AND IT SOUNDS FUCKIN’ GREAT! But to cop a phrase, that was then and this is now. Now it’s just like, “Great, another fuckin’ punk comp.” Punk-O-Rama4 combines the bands that’ve always been good and still are – Rancid, NOFX, and Bad Religion – with the bands I could deal with but never really caused me to break a sweat – Pennywise (perhaps the best band I’ve never really liked; it’s an unreleased track, kids! Whoo whoo!), Ten Foot Pole, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and Gas Huffer – and the next wave of Epitaph bands that, y’know, are doing what they’re supposed to – Pulley, H2O, The Bouncing Souls (got a few great songs on their new one, but this one’s standard fare), ALL (ditto), New Bomb Turks, Dwarves, Millencolin, and Zeke (who, of course, rule) – and then there’s the somewhat recent Epitaph hardcore signings which all run together the same way all Victory’s bands seem to these days – Straight Faced, Agnostic Front (yeah, OK, they’re distinctive), 59 Times the Pain, Refused, and Union 13 – and there’re brand new tracks from Tom Waits (on Punk-O-Rama? Well, thanks for the track, as much as it doesn’t fit for shit), Bombshell Rocks (who have that kinda hard, gruff punk thing going for them), Gentleman Jack Grisham (sounding kinda surfy and “For Your Love”), 98 Mute (fast and furiously nondescript), and Osker (who I’m still waiting to hear more than one song from so I can figure out what the hell they’re about. Like what I hear tho’). It all adds up to 25 songs, 62 minutes, and a nearly 250 word sentence/paragraph that amounts to one thing: It’s predictable.
And punk ain’t supposed to be predictable. And, as you can tell from the descriptions, a lot of these bands ain’t punk, nor do they make any claim to be. But for $5, what the fuck do you want? Keep an eye out for Punk-O-Rama5 in about six months, and Punk-O-Rama6 a couple months after that.
(2798 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026)