Various Artists: Midwest Rules – You’re Weak We’re Strong: CD

This is the second Midwest Rules disc that I’ve had the good fortune to come across and this will be the second time I gush about this quality collection of tunes played by pallid, corn-fed punks from the heartland. It starts out strong with a song from the Daggers, which is very Germs-y with all the drunken aplomb of a shitfaced Darby Crash, and then goes into a ripping tune by the Phenoms which is very Candy Snatchers-esque. The remainder of the disc is rounded out with catchy, crunchy slabs of Midwest anger by heavyweights like Bump n Uglies, Gotards, Mashers (sounding like New Bomb Turks back before they decided that saxophones sound nice in punk songs) and Nine Pound Hammer (and when did they get back together? I gotta start paying closer attention to this shit). There are a couple soft spots that I could poke at over and over, but fuck it. This is a strong collection of no-bullshit punk rock. My only complaints would be as follows: how about getting some females in the mix here, boys? Aside from Jenn Cuervo of the Almighty Hangovers, this disc is pretty much a boy’s only club. Despite all the frigid bovine women you coastal people might see on TV wearing cheesehats and horns in the stands of Packers/Vikings games, we do have plenty of butt-kicking female punk bands in this area that would fit nicely into the next Midwest Rules. And speaking of that, I think a geography lesson may be in order here. I mean, what exactly do you consider to be “Midwest”? I like Nine Pound Hammer but are they “Midwest”? That’s down-home chicken-fried southern punk in my book. And while I’m at it: did something happen here that I don’t know about? Did Minnesota secede from the rest of the Midwest while I was off somewhere on a drunken bender? Volume 1 had zero bands from Minnesota and Vol. 2 has zero bands from Minnesota. Not to be a shameless homer, but I live in a town that has as landscape “garnishes” statues of various Peanuts characters dotting our streets. That alone is enough to breed white-hot punk rock discontent. We’re seething here and our punk bands reflect that. So before you Haunted Town folks start slapping together Vol. 3, go listen to the No Hold Back: Twin Cities Hardcorepunkrockandroll comp and get a few of those bands to pitch in a song or two next time around.

 –aphid (Haunted Town)