I’d put NYC’s Even Worse right in league with San Francisco’s The Avengers and East LA’s The Brat. Female-fronted, early, genuine American punk with a fire under its ass. It’s funny because the only single I had of theirs was nothing like this – it was a lot more serious and thoughtfully attempted to deconstruct punk rock, had Thurston Moore (later to go to Sonic Youth) playing guitar, and although pretty darn good, I enjoy the brash enthusiasm, snotty bounce, and female singing on this retrospective. Even Worse flexes their muscles through twenty-six songs, including their anthem, “We Suck,” and pounds through both a Weirdos cover, (“Solitary Confinement”) and a Black Flag cover (“Nervous Breakdown”). Keep in mind, these bands were contemporaries, along with others, like Kraut and Adrenaline OD. It just goes to show how much more level the playing field was twenty years ago, and how excited bands were to realize that others, such as themselves, had come to the same aural conclusions at approximately the same time. The cornerstone to keeping Even Worse’s legacy alive – and providing excellent, comprehensive liner notes – is their drummer, Jack Rabid, who continues to publish The Big Takeover zine twenty odd years down the road. This CD is split in half – the first is the never-released, “lost” studio LP followed by a healthy set at Max’s Kansas City in August, 1981. What a pleasant surprise. This’ll get a lot of spins. Someone should release it on vinyl.