Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Releases: Casual Victim Pile 2 and Bass Drum of Death

Regional compilations are tricky things. Ostensibly intended to document a specific scene, they often fall victim to the seemingly contradictory flaws of insufficiency and inclusion. Any scene worth its salt has at least a handful of groups worthy of exposure to the outside world. The trouble is there aren't usually enough of them to fill an album. (Two of the best regional comps, No New York and Laughing at the Ground both feature only four bands.) So, for the sake of occupying space and the misguided notion that more acts, regardless of their quality, equals more legitimacy, the listener is treated to aural cronyism: "Those dudes aren't very good but they're nice guys so let's put 'em on the record. Hey, does your cousin with the four-track have to a song to give?" Even some of the more celebrated regional compilations fall victim to this. There's 11 bands on Flex Your Head. How many of them can you name?

This makes the accomplishment that is Casual Victim Pile 2 all the more amazing. The record is a sequel to last year's Casual Victim Pile, which in itself was a revelation. This collection of 19 bands from Austin, TX (with a few from nearby Denton) was one of the best records of 2010, with a handful of its bands also individually releasing some of the year's best albums. While many regional comps scrape the bottom of barrel to fill out space (never mind creating a worthy listening experience), CVP was practically overflowing with awesome cuts, more than enough to make any scene proud. Almost inconceivably, CVP2 features another 18 Austin bands, all of whom offer their own distinct flavor of rock music. Some names are familiar to me (Cruddy, Rayon Beach, Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves). Those who aren't give me enough of a taste to make me crave more (pretty much everyone but especially The Dead Space and Serious Tracers). Unlike the original compilation, CVP2 is not being released on Matador but rather Matador founder/owner Gerard Cosloy's more D.I.Y. 12XU imprint. Don't let the decreased exposure or worry of diminishing returns disuade you. Casual Victim Pile 2 is every bit the record its predecessor was. And the whole shebang is streaming for free on bandcamp.

It's been over a year since we lost our friend Jay Reatard. It goes without saying that we can never replace the man, but those mourning the loss of his music would do well to check out GB City, the debut album from Oxford, MS's Bass Drum of Death. Formerly John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death, this group is essentially a one man recording unit, much like Mr. Reatard's early recordings. Also like Mr. Retard, Mr. Barrett has a knack for snotty, hook-laden punk rock with a surprising amount of complexity and depth. An extremely promising debut.


Brushback said...

Off the top of my head, I will try to name most of the band on Flex Your Head-- a record that I haven't held in my hands in over 20 years:

Government Issue
Red C
Minor Threat
Teen Idles
Youth Brigade
Iron Cross
hmmm, this is getting hard...
What's that Alec band that did Nic Fit?
Untouchables or something
Now I'm just gonna guess:
Marginal Man
Fuckit, I bet I'm not even close.

Brushback said...

The two that I guessed, Marginal Man and Scream, aren't on it. I missed Artificial Peace and S.O.A.

PB said...

Nine out of eleven is pretty good.

If you can name 20 of the 47 bands on "Not So Quiet on the Western Front" off the top of your head, you win a podcast shout out.

Brushback said...

I CANNOT name 20 bands. I bet I can't even name 10.

Church Police (Lou Barlow, big fan)
7 Seconds (one of their best songs)
No Connection (or some type of crappy "No" band)
The Wrecks (Bessie from Positive Force/New Beginning was in The Wrecks! Punk is an attitude!)
Bad Posture (GDMFSOB!)
The Manix
M.A.D. (pre-Bl'ast)
Dead Kennedys (that lawnmower song, I think)

There, that's ten.

Extra credit:

Angst (I hated their song)
Intensified Chaos
Naked Lady Wrestlers (who could forget them)

This is mostly because Steve Blush just posted almost all of the mp3's, so I just listened to this comp about two months ago.

Brushback said...

Oh, the "crappy No band" was actually named No Alternative. I looked it up.

PB said...

No Alternative, not No Connection. Crappy "no" bands were pretty ubiquitous on early 80s hardcore comps.

You missed my favorite song on the comp: Fang's "Fun With Acid." The Bad Posture song is a close second.

You also missed one of the more striking/unforgettable names: Lennonburger. I couldn't tell you have their song sounds like though.

Brushback said...

How about all the bands on "Unsafe At Any Speed"? Tricky one, since in my head I'll get it confused with the lineup of Boston Not LA (plus I don't even remember how many bands are on it).

I bet I miss at least two:

Jerry's Kids
Gang Green
The Freeze
The FU's

Brushback said...

Okay, and Google says....

Gang Green
The Proletariat
Jerry's Kids
The FU's
The Freeze

Fuk! I was going to say the Groinoids!

PB said...

Aren't all the bands on "Unsafe" on "Boston Not L.A" as well?

I probably would have gotten the four above. I'm going to guess the Proletariat as well.

Checking now...

And... I'm right. Though we both missed the Groinoids.

Brushback said...

"Process of Elimination":

Negative Approach
The Fix
the band that did "Minature Golf", was it McDonald's?

Brushback said...

"Unsafe At Any Speed" was mostly the same bands from "Boston Not LA", I think one or two of them got left off the 7" but then I might be totally wrong.

PB said...

Are we going to do this all night?

You know, most rock critics apparently can't even name the four bands on "No New York;" http://tinyurl.com/6d4omvk

Brushback said...

Unsafe lineup = Boston Not LA exactly? I guess I forgot that.

Google of "Process of Elimination" shows...

Negative Approach
Youth Patrol
Toxic Reasons
Violent Apathy
The Fix

I had no clue that Toxic Reasons were on there. I used to own that record, too.

I had the Violent Apathy 7", too.

Brushback said...


I listened to it once and couldn't take it.

I can only stab at the lineup because of that.

I'd just be guessing based upon who was around NYC at the time, since I have no recollection of what the cover even looked like.

The Contortions
Teenage Jesus
some Glenn Branca thing
something else that makes Missing Foundation sound like Cheap Trick

Damn, I can't even get two right.

Brushback said...

Heck!! Contortions, Teenage Jesus, Mars, and DNA

I was totally wrong about Glenn Branca

Brushback said...

Decadence is the one band on Boston Not LA, but not Unsafe At Any Speed

I think Decadence was Jon Anastas?

PB said...

According to Wikipedia, yes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Anastas

Brushback said...

I met Jon Anastas a couple of times when he was in Slap Shot -- he was really into the whole '80s "I'm gonna work on Wall Street and make a lot of money" thing. It was sorta off-putting. In his defense, I guess a lot of Boston HC people thought it was sorta hip to act that way back then.

Brushback said...

Hmm, I just looked at the Jonathan Anastas wiki. I guess he pulled it off.