VARIOUS ARTISTS: Diggin’ up the 90s Vol. 1: LP

Jan 05, 2022

Yay, someone has finally moved the punk rock obscurities comp out of the ’70s and ’80s! Not to disparage those other comps, but I think few would argue that the well’s been kinda tapped for a while in terms of tunes of consistent quality. The decade when punk “broke” into the mainstream, as typified by the success of Nirvana, Green Day, Rancid, Offspring and more, was also a very active time in punk’s perennial, albeit ever-fragmenting, underground. Collected here are sixteen bits o’ noise that, true to form, are currently quite obscure. Though I was very much active in “the scene” during that time and I considered myself a fairly hep kinda cat to what was going on below the radar, I wholly confess to knowing only two of the bands on this, and actually managed to see only one of those two several times during the decade under review, thanks to my equally obscure band sharing bills with them—and leaning on hardcore and/or similarly primitive forms in delivery and budget—which isn’t at all to say the tunes are in any way substandard. To the contrary, the comp is not skint on gems, is well curated, and provides a nice refutation to all the polished, well-produced overground pap-pop, Xeroxed ska, and emo that history errantly believes are the sum of “punk” from that era. Aces, this is. Now, ’scuze me while I pop some corn, crack a beer, and watch the collector stampede begin. –Jimmy Alvarado (Amok,