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Punk-O-Rama 10 – Various Artists

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I can’t tell you why its taken me this long to write about this CD. It certainly isn’t from lack of something to write about. For a while now – a decade actually – Epitaph has put out a compilation series known as Punk-o-Rama. Considering the depth of Epitaph’s Punk roster (Bad Religion, The Offspring, Hot Water Music, The Dropkick Murphys, and NOFX have all released through Epitaph), any collection they assemble has a pretty intimidating list of players on it. The CD has twenty-six tracks and hasn’t failed to deliver. It is accompanied by a DVD containing twenty-one videos that I tried to watch, but as it turns out, I really do hate the medium of the music video. This has nothing to do with the videos themselves – it is a comment on me (The Dropkick Murphys play at Fenway in the video for Tessie. I can appreciate how cool that is; I just don’t care).

What’s cool about this disc is that ten of the tracks, including a live cut from The Bouncing Souls, are previously unreleased (or at least they were when the CD came out a month ago – the Dropkick Murphys track on the CD is the title track off their new disc that came out on the 21st of June). That’s pretty cool.

The thing that always amazes me about these compilations is the number of bands I’m reminded that I like. You wouldn’t think I’d need reminding about how awesome The Unseen and Scatter the Ashes are, but apparently I do. From the Tops of Trees, the Scatter the Ashes track, is a previously unreleased song that rocks unrelentingly beneath smooth vocals in a way that should make the Killers feel ashamed. The CD goes from the post-punk of Scatter the Ashes to the rage of Some Girls (their track I need Drugs clocks in at just over a minute) to another previously unreleased track, Mince meat by DANGERDOOM. Mince Meat starts with a humming that recalls marching and then moves smoothly into rhymes over stripped down beats. DANGERDOOM tells us, “I’ll make mince meat outta that beat, mouse.” Dig it.

The DANGERDOOM along with the Sun vs. Moon by Sage Francis are my favorite bits of this CD. Partly this is because I was a little surprised to find tracks by them on something labeled “punk”. They’re both Hip-hop in my mind, but who wants to split hairs about genres? I’ve thought long and hard about how to describe Sage Francis. Danceable? yes. Got something to say? Certainly. Freaking sweet, it what it is. Effective sampling complimenting well-constructed rhymes about spinning and corruption instead of thongs and product placement.

In short, I enjoyed Punk-o-Rama 10. Twenty-six tracks with more highlights than clunkers. Cool.

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About Katharine Donelson

  • SFC Ski

    THe Punk-O-Rama comps are a great way for a lot of bands to get exposure, and they usually cost less than CD’s by one band, so I am more willing to give the CD a shot.