VARIOUS ARTISTS: Not So Quiet on the Western Front: 2 x LP

Reissue of a pretty decent document of punk in California (and Nevada to a much lesser extent) in the early ‘80s. Good assortment of fast, menacing, personal, political, and so forth, but you probably aren’t gonna find much on here that will blow your mind about three decades after the fact. That’s not to say that this comp is void of excellent tracks—it does have 7 Seconds’ “Fuck Your Amerika,” which is perhaps the band’s best song period, as well as killer cuts from Flipper, Fang, and other name bands. I don’t feel the need to move the needle around when I’m listening to this. However, a lot of the songs lack distinct personalities (just like a lot of punks, har har har) and don’t do much more than satisfy the desire to kill the dead air in your living space with generic, old U.S. hardcore punk. A couple songs, like “Turmoil” from the Frigidettes, were unique and enjoyable enough to make me grab the cover and figure out what the hell was blasting, yet it was much too much like listening to a decent station radio for me: a bunch of mediocre whathaveyou punctuated with some all right stuff, but not good enough to keep me from playing DJ myself.

 –Vincent (Alternative Tentacles / MRR)