NAKED RAYGUN: Free Shit: CD

This is two lives shows melded into one and these are Naked Raygun’s last two shows from their hometown of Chicago in 1997. It could be a dicey affair. Live CDs usually blow. Either they’re fake-live (like Social Distortion’s Live at the Roxy) or they reek of “you-had-to-be-there”ism because the sound is recorded from a hand held recorder in the crowd. Although a huge Raygun fan, I’ll admit that they had a couple of songs that sounded out of gas near the end of their run. Those two potential caveats aside, holy fucking shit, this is an awesome CD. Not only is it a great, clear, very alive document of one of the finest punk bands ever to come out of the Midwest, it’s a perfect capsule of NR’s finest hours distilled down to twenty-two songs. Being so, I’d actually suggest this as both an introduction to someone who’s never heard their inventive, challenging, yet rock solid music and to someone who owns all of their previous output if they’re looking for a perfect set. Fuckin’ cool. When’s the last time you listened to twenty-two songs in a row and kept on saying, “No, that’s my favorite”?

 –todd (Haunted Town)