999: The Sharpest Cuts: LP

Truth be told, I stopped paying attention to 999 by Concrete. Sure, I dug their first couple of albums but, like most of my young teenaged punker peers of the time, I’d fully embraced local hardcore and had little time for anything that wasn’t fast, angry, and witching walking distance to see. In short, there’s a big gap in my knowledge of anything they did past the point I—in my infinite teenage-dumbshit wisdom—dismissed them as going the “crap pop” route. Enter this, with its selection of songs culled from assorted European CD-only releases circa 1993-2007, to make me lament such youthful self-righteous folly. Each of its eleven tunes—every goddamned one—rivals the band’s best work during its “glory days”: potent Molotov draughts of snotty punk, disguised musical aptitude, and, yes, pop served flaming and essential. Tacked on for good measure are choice live renditions of “Boys in the Gang” and “Nasty Nasty” to lure in those still not convinced it’s worth the trip. Kudos to Joey Mad Parade for pulling together probably the best “best of” album I’ve heard in decades and schoolin’ my ignorant ass, once again, that one should never simply dismiss the originators out of hand. –Jimmy Alvarado (Gutterwail, madparade.biz)