HERE'S FIFTY BUCKS - Various Artists (Rocketdog Records)
To paraphrase someone else: This is a compilation worth living for; a collection of 19 savage selections that will sate any thirst for the dirty-and-down stuff that comes out of Scandinavia and all parts thereabouts these days. That a good chunk of it emanates from the US of A (Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, Candy Snatchers, Jeff Dahl) and Australia (Powder Monkeys) matters not much. Musically, it's living in the same neighborhood, and charged with the same spirit.
Compiler and self-confessed Rock Pig, Mr Tony Slug (Nitwitz, Loveslug, Spades, The Hydromatics), started putting this comp together some time ago, with the aim of producing the soundtrack to that ultimate arse-kicking you experienced as a kid. If the over-driven sounds of gutterpunk guitars don't get ya, the Ralph Steadman/ Nightmare on Main Street artwork will.
Completists will want the unreleased live 'Copters track, "Hey", committed to tape at CBGB. Me, I'm just as happy to hear Geds with their grotty guitar attack and killer gal vocalist, the angry-as-fuck singalong of Swedish-American punks Union 69 ("Mongo Magnet") or "Rock Pusher", an early tune from Tony's own Nitwitz. Soul music has rarely sounded as fucked up as the O'Jays cover (Love Train") that Holland's Big Paulus spreads all over the soundscape. Hydromatics bassist Theo Brouwer features.
There are a stack of rarities and the odd known quantity present. I have to admit that the only song I was really on more than a nodding acquaintance with was Gluecifier's "God's Own Nightmare". Ozophiles will certainly need the Powder Monkeys' "I Like Pills". It's a Sick Things cover and isn't the most aurally-polished thing Tim and Co put on tape, but manages to make its point through the lo-fi mix. Any band that's been under the wing of larger-than-life Spanish promoter Kike Turmix will want to wrap their ears around the Pleasure Fuckers' "Electric Fence". Kike was their vocalist and the song's a nice mid-tempo headshaker.
Jeff Dahl's "I'm in Love With the GTOs" is welcome in any configuration (the Dog Meat single lives permanently on our jukebox) and there's a live-in-Europe version here. It's sans harmony vocals, for which it must be marked down half a beer, but it's cool anyway.
As alluded earlier, it looks great and sounds even better. Tony and collaborator Inspector Gadget have done a great job putting all this onto a shiny disc. Only one question remains - where are the Slugman's mates from San Francisco, the Angry Amputees? Alas, this collection was assembled well before they and Tony were sharing the same bottle. Maybe starters for volume two? - The Barman
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