VARIOUS ARTISTS: Taking out a Little Agression—A Tribute: CD

Dave Haro is a great guy, and apparently a bit of a whiz at picking out the right bands to make what is normally a tedious exercise in ego-fellating—the now-dreaded “tribute” album—into a more than worthwhile listen. Expanding on an idea that came after his homeboy (and Agression guitarist) Henry Knowles died in 2002, Haro and cohort Jellyroll enlisted the aid of some of best bands in American punk rock’s storied history—MDC, Shattered Faith, Channel 3, Verbal Abuse, Fang, Life Crisis, Retching Red, DI, Kat Killer, fellow skatepunk bands JFA and McRad, and tons more—to run through assorted Agression tunes in tribute to Knowles and singer Mark Hickey, who died in 2000. The result is a surprisingly solid, varied take on the band’s impressive catalog, with MDC providing the most unconventional (an acoustic version of “It Can Happen”) and the punk supergroup S.A.I.D. (featuring members of Stalag 13, Agression, Ill Repute, and Dr. Know, hence the name) dishing out the thrashiest with their cover of “Stop the Clock.” In all, this set is easily the best tribute compilation of the year, if not the decade.

 –jimmy (Dr. Strange)