VARIOUS ARTISTS: Upstarts of American Oi: 2 x CD

Given the style and some of the bands featured, I totally expected this to stink up my stereo somethin’ awful. As can be expected, there are more than a few patriotic ditties and odes to drinkin’ ’n’ fightin’, and enough testosterone-filled growly voices and would-be Ian Stuart crooners (and I’m talking about singing styles here, not nazi sympathies, so don’t start inundating me with howls of protest about none of the bands being racist, blah blah blah) to make anyone giggle, but there are also some quality songs mixed in. One of ‘em, “USA, Inc.,” with a chorus that says “Welcome to America/Hope you’ve got money,” sounds like it might even be—GASP!—critical of the United States. Bands making the scene include, the Boils, Wretched Ones, Far From Finished, NY Rel-X, Iron Cross, Whiskey Rebels, and a buncha others. Maybe it’s the lack of a lyric sheet, maybe I’m feeling nostalgic for my long-gone, bald days of yore, but I found a few things here worth more than one listen. Favorite band name? Weekend Bowlers. You just can’t get more working class than that. Would I recommend it? Gladly, provided they trimmed some of the fat (heads) off, which would leave one damn solid, jam-packed single-disc comp.

 –jimmy (www.streetanthemrecords.com)