KID DYNAMITE: Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems: 2 X CD

I can’t overstate how much I liked Kid Dynamite when they were around and how much I still miss them. They took the instrumentation of Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, The Circle Jerks, and Bad Brains, the smart brains of Articles of Faith and Born Against, sucked out all the good stuff, and made melodic hardcore a contemporary force between 1997 and 2000. They were one band who looked at an already ridiculously high bar and raised it on themselves while reclaiming hardcore from bald, floor-punching metallers. Then they broke up at the release party for their second record, when the singer, Jason, wanted to go and make movies. This retrospective package is smartly put together. Track selection and order both make great sense (like all the covers are lumped together, as are the demo outtakes). The liner notes are fantastic. With every song, there are anecdotes about song writing, troubles and triumphs in the studio (“Dave and I had to do the hand clapping tracks numerous times. It sucked.”), the general mood, sound secrets (what’s that noise at the end of “Rise Above”?), stories on how the band became to be (Thomas of Strike Anywhere tried out as a vocalist), and the occasional car wreck. Besides the fact you don’t have to track down a small slew of compilations for all of KD’s songs, there’s an original, unreleased song on here, started in 1998 and finished in 2003: “The Unheard Chorus.” Plus, there’s demo versions of five other songs, which is worth the price of admission itself. To round it out, there’s live radio show off the soundboard. The DJ’s a tool but the playing’s great. The DVD that accompanies is a short affair: three camcordered songs, and preview for the KD documentary. Wholly worth picking up.

 –todd (Jade Tree)