Funny how life always finds some way to come full circle. Sometimes, as in the case of war or willful ignorance, it’s a sad reminder that vigilance at every step is vital in order to progress past baser natures, antiquated ideas, and the fallacy that humans don’t need each other, or to care for each other, in order to survive. Other times the ebb and flow around that ring is more positive—old is replaced by new, sagacious thought prevails, and summer barbecues are just up around the bend.
Some days it feels like the whole world has lost its mind and is obstinately trying to claw its way back a few centuries. Others, like when a country’s first black president also becomes its first to go on record saying that gay folks getting married ain’t a terrible thing, it feels like humankind is still moving forward, even if it’s kicking and screaming all the way. Sure, one can be dismissive and cynical about Obama’s motivations, and Mahfü knows I’ve no shortage of fodder I’d love to discuss in a “what the hell were you thinking?!?” conversation with the man, but that brief moment felt like another small progression towards rationality amidst what lately feels like a torrent of regression to ignorance.
Anyway, another mixed bag of tricks this time out. Dunno that it’d make for a good barbecue soundtrack, but that aforementioned curve back ’round is all over this ’un, with tracks from the underground’s prior eras propped up nice and purty alongside new jacks makin’ a racket, and even includes a couple salvos from legends proving that “old” doesn’t always mean you can’t make the rock rain hard on the unsuspecting—Scream unleashing one of the best tunes of their storied career, the Stains kicking out a smoking contemporary rendition of a song that dates back to their earliest lineups.
Last I checked, none of the bands here enjoyed, or are enjoying, massive chart popularity, radio saturation, and the vast spoils that come with being corporate punk darlings. It may have its share of garbage (said, of course, with a French inflection), but in the midst of the truly heinous music that again rules the airwaves, the underground remains where the really good, fun stuff can be found, now as before, full circle.
Scream, “Elevate” (Complete Control Sessions, Sideonedummy)
Terrible Twos, “An Image Break” (Self-titled, Criminal IQ)
Black America, “Going Green” (The Process of Bitching Out demo, self-released)
Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, “Baby Doll” (Shut Up & Bleed, Cherry Red)
Kraftwerk, “The Robots” (The Man Machine)
Stains, “Political Scandal” (1980 Demo)
Stains, “Canada” (1980 Demo)
Violent Children (Stains w/Tracy Otero on vox), “Nervous Breakdown” (1980 Demo)
Stains, “Gang Related Death” (Live at the Whisky 1981)
Stains, “Pretty Girls” (Live at the Whisky 1981)
Stains, “Quit the Human Race/I’m Normal” (Self-titled 12” EP, SST)
Stains, “Bombs over Iraq” (1989 Demo)
Stains, “Not Me” (2009 Demo)
Lebakko, “En Tullut Toistamaan Tarinaa Samaa” (Self-titled 7”, PML)
Jawaz, “Stand Up” (Self-titled, Self-released)
Government Flu, “Old F(l)ame” (Are You Sorry Now?, Nikt Nic Nie Wie)
Void, “All White Neighborhood” (Sessions 1981-83, Dischord)
Streets of Rage, “Dunno Yet, Maybe” (EDQ, Self-released)
Citizens Patrol, “Public Interest” (2006-2011, Shield)
Agha-ye Sadjadifard, “Farhang’ E A ‘Vam” (Music of Islam Vol. 12, Celestial Harmonies)
Savage Republic, “Procession” (Live Trek 1985-1986, Fundamental)