VARIOUS ARTISTS: Dead Broke Rekerds: Sampler ‘09 vers. 2: CD

This is a compilation from Dead Broke Rekerds out of New York. The CD came in a clear sleeve with a paper insert. The cover of the insert has a fuzzy picture of the Banana Splits on it (The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was a TV show with both live action and animated segments that ran from 1968 to 1970. The Banana Splits were a band—Barry White was one of the studio musicians!—and they actually released an album in 1968.), which would be nicer if it were in color (although I do understand the difference in cost between color and black and white copies!). The back of the insert has the list of bands and songs typed out and a weird picture of a frog with a hand coming out of its mouth, apparently cut out and glued or taped to the paper and then copied. Evidently a low budget, DIY production, which I can appreciate. More importantly, there are twenty-three songs on the sampler for people to check out. The recording levels are a bit inconsistent. Unfortunately, there were not many songs that I got very enthusiastic about. Standouts for me included Bad Blood Revival (heavy, slowish stuff that was probably one of the more “weird” songs on the comp), The Closet Fairies (energetic and very short, with a kind of whiney, annoying voice that I like), Iron Chic (two songs by them on this comp—one that had an intro that reminded me of the Marked Men—rocky and punky; the singer has a voice that reminds me of the guy from Hagfish), Dragonzord (a more sparse song; it almost sounds like it could be just one guy with a nice voice playing guitar and singing on a street corner), and Shang-A-Lang (a noisy, delightful mess that didn’t necessarily sound like but yet reminded me of the energy of the Bananas or this Bike Is A Pipe Bomb). I think that most of the rest of the stuff on the comp is just not the type of music that really gets me going. Many of the bands are clearly very competent, some probably have fun and enthusiastic live shows, and there are definitely a few that I know have a good following and diehard fans (Onion Flavored Rings being one), but to me there didn’t seem to be much that seemed very fresh or atypical. One or two songs in particular I actively disliked. A few verged into hardcore a little, and one had some vocals that were a little crusty, but mostly the songs did not go in that direction. Disappointed (not with Dead Broke, just in general) at the complete lack of female singers on the record (although one song had a woman and a man singing, and on another there might have been a female singing back up). Actually made me ruminate about the emergence of punk and the varied styles that came with it versus where punk as a genre is going these days. Although not super into it, I still tip my hat to Dead Broke for putting the energy into it to get it together

 –Jennifer Federico (Dead Broke)