Hits 96. Now That's What I Call Music. The Best Dance Album in the World EVER! Ibeefaa party anfems. Lisa Lashes. Dave Pearce. Ministry of Sound. Brit Pop classics. Disco Mania. Hard Rock Heavyweights.
What purpose do these records actually serve? Big name acts on big name labels with big-selling hits off big-selling albums that anyone with a fleeting interest will probably have anyway. And in several different formats and 22 different mixes. Are they put out to promote the artist? The song? What about the genre, or even the label?
Truth is, the motivation behind major label compilations is very different to that of the Indies. In the world of underground; Independent fanzines, labels & promoters, where a passion and love for new emerging talent is still intact and the romantic vision of slaving away for 26 hours a day, promoting your acts and spending every last penny of your wages on a bunch of kids knocking out a few good tunes is still an enticing proposition there is one thing that, for some, can become a healthy obsession. Compilations.
Whether on wax, CD or tape, on glossy sleeves or photocopied cut’n’paste efforts compilations are an ideal way to expose the bands they manage, promote or represent in some way or other. And while I don't necessarily want to burn all big-selling comps (ok, just 99% of them) I personally, view the above as the *real *reasons for putting out compilations and are therefore essential in discovering new music and in a band’s success. The whole point of this article is to give a pedestal to these independent compilations that small labels work so hard to put together and we at _ Drowned In Sound_ get so many of. This is the first installment of a special feature dedicated to them, with ten compilations featured each time. I may decide to include free samplers now and again that you should really hunt out but most are available for dirt cheap in the shops. They're cheap. Here’s a guide. You have no excuse.
**NO IDEA ~ Redifiling Music
No Idea is a label that sprouted from No Idea fanzine *way back in 1985 and to celebrate the 15+ years or so they’ve been operating they released this compilation with 16 of their acts covering music by, well, pretty much anyone from Morrissey (Radon) to Lemonheads (Clairmel) to Gorilla Biscuits (Palatka*). These kind of compilations are always a bit hit & miss in my eyes, especially with unknown bands who don’t really give you much of an idea what they sound like normally.
More well-known acts like Small Brown Bike, Hot Water Music *and *12 Hour Turn *all try their hand at Thin Lizzy, Bruce Springsteen and Asshole Parade classics, but it’s ultimately *Asshole Parade’s spazzed out cover of Circle Jerk’s ‘Red Tape’ that really get my juices flowing. Not so much a bad comp, just a pretty poor one. *[2/5] No Idea Records, PO Box 14636, Gainsville, FL 32604-4636 / www.noidearecords.com *
**BOSS SAMPLERAGE! Vol. 2
As you can probably tell, this is the second Boss Tuneage comp and showcases a whopping 29 bands from their roster. Presented in a simple black and white cardboard sleeve it’s safe to say they really do scour the world for their bands, licensing acts from Japan’s Snuffy Smile *and Canada’s *Mag Wheel, amongst others. It’s a patchy comp but there is some good catchy punk rock gubbins to be found. The only problem is the impression I consistently get from Boss which is unless you happen to stumble across one of their bands early on at a gig or a punk all-dayer their record is the only place you’ll hear them. Which is a shame because class bands like *High Lo Fi, The Unknown *and *Woolworthy *sound like they’d be an absolute blast in a live setting! Apart from them, though, there’s nothing here to really set your heart on fire. **[2/5] Boss Tuneage, PO Box 19550, London SW11 1FG.**
Reminding me of the first fanzine I wrote for (Sullen Riot), this is not only the first compilation from Running Riot but the first release too. However, as with many first release compilations, it seems like as many demos have been collected as possible and the most half-decent tracks stuck on here. It also seems like the guys behind RR are promoters in Dartford so I guess that explains a lot.
But, all that aside this is possibly a better, more varied comp than Boss Samplerage, flitting past ska-punk (My Dad Is Big), grizzled pop-punk (Stuntface) and really bad OMS impersonators (Potvin), even venturing into uncharted territory with Nushere, who really should experiment with Cubase a bit more.
Although there is _potential _(note the emphasis on 'potential'!)lurking in here somewhere, there really is no point in the inclusion of whiny bedroom rock in bands like The Spanked Monkeys. **[2/5] Write to: Running Riot, 15 Denver Road, Dartford, DA1 3LA / www.runningriotrecords.co.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org.**
Ah yes, it’s that time of year again. Well, it very quickly was. Another summer, another Punk-O-Rama comp from Epitaph showcasing it’s latest high hopes. I know Sean has already reviewed this but, well, this is my take, OK? The punk rock climate has changed remarkably since the first POR instalment (featuring pre-fame Offspring, Rancid *& *NOFX) and POR 7 illustrates this punk attenuation well through the punk n roll of The (International) Noise Conspiracy *(still waiting to find a _really_ impressive song from these Swedes), the rabid *Randy *and the soon-to-be-huge *Division of Laura Lee.
Together with an unreleased punk-metal offering from Warped Tour buzz band Death by Stereo *and the Irish-punk sing-a-long offerings from *Dropkick Murphys *and *Flogging Molly *(there really isn’t a more irritating band around right now) punk rock has never been more varied. Stand out tracks here come from Death By Stereo, *1208, D.O.L.L. *and, unsurprisingly, *Pennywise. For a few quid you could do a lot worse. [3/5]
**PLEA FOR PEACE - Take Action
Ok, so this is a little old now but it's the first decent comp of the pile and one I cannot recommend more strongly!! For a start, it’s released on *Sub City *which was created 2 years ago by *Hopeless Records *to raise funding and awareness for non-profit organisations, this release benefiting the *American National Hopeline Network (1-800-SUICIDE). * If that wasn’t a big enough reason to buy this then maybe the 26 unreleased, rare or live tracks might swing you round. And there really is something for everyone from Cave-In’s remix of _‘Jupiter’ _to the spazz-hardcore attack of Shai Hallud *& *Dillinger Escape Plan *(live version of _‘Mullet Burden’ _here) to the riot grrl of *Bratmobile *& *SelbyTigers *and even some chilled out Telepopmusik-inspired beats from *Zero Zero *before the emotion-draining screams of *Thursday. Compilations like this don’t come around often and anyone involved in the alternative punk/hardcore scene should really try and hunt this out!
Other bands included: *At The Drive In, AFI, Atom & His Package *(rare track here – and it’s a gudden!), *Boy Sets Fire, Grade, The Ataris, T(I)NC, Strike Anywhere *and more. **[5/5] www.subcity.net**
**HOW WE ROCK
The artwork & packaging on this should be enough to persuade you to part with your cash for this alone- very classy! As for the music, well, check back on that title, because herein contains tracks from 18 of the most rockin’ and rollin’ bands since Twisted Sister *(yep, this is _that_ good!). Despite the newly-reformed *Turbonegro *opening with a very *Oasis-sounding intro, they soon get into the swing of things ready for the rip-roaring, tearaway blitz of Zeke *storming through _‘Live Wire’_. Other such acts are present such as *New Bomb Turks, Supersuckers, Puffball, The Hellacopters, Gluecifer *and *Electric Frankenstein goddamit! In fact, for any newcomers to this balls-out, gasoline-soaked, fag-hangin-from-lip-style of rock (looks over at young *Hives *& *T(I)NC *fans) then this comp will be right up your street, giving you a valuable education on the scene’s current talent, although why *The Donnas *are on here is anyone’s guess. [4.5/5]
**DANCE LIKE YOUR DAD
Bit of a short one this with only three bands strutting their stuff. Originally released to coincide with Dislocate’s Death Skateboards-sponsored tour, this CD features 2 tracks each from three of the bands on the tour, namely My Dad Joe, Fireapple Red *& *Captain Everything! Representing the cream of the London pop-punk scene this CD is a corker. My Dad Joe *have a real urgent *Travis Cut-cum-Fat Wreck vibe to them with some top-class melodies to boot. *Fireapple Red *have a much more aggressive approach, although still possessing some nice and shiny hooks to tempt you on the dance floor when played live. Captain Everything! also have a real edge to them and proved live how unpredictable they are. Their two tracks here are, although short, smart examples of a band that are a shining light in the UK punk scene. *[5/5] www.dislocatepromotions.co.uk. *
[In At The Deep End]**
Mark UKbase (also the guy behind IATDE) sums up the aim of this and all DIY compilations well in the inside sleeve of this first release comp from In At The Deep End Records by saying that there are so many good bands in the UK right now, playing in local venues just down the street which many people for one reason or another will never ever get to hear. However with this comp featuring 30 varied bands covering the whole of the UK scene it gives fans of punk, emo, hardcore or metal a chance to hear stuff by bands they may have _heard _of but not heard anything by.
For those of you who’re into those scenes this compiles pretty much most of the bands who’re making a name for themselves around the UK from the emo-screams of Leeds’ And None of Them Knew They Were Robots *to the youthful thrashy punk of *Fig 4.0 *to Scotland’s *Shatterhand *and East Anglia’s *Horace Goes Skiing. There’re obviously a couple of truly appalling bands hiding away but on the whole this is a good comp and indispensable for anyone wanting to get an earful of what the current underground crop sound like. [4/5] www.inatthedeependrecords.co.uk
From the label that brought us the likes of Medulla Nocte *and *Earthtone 9 *comes a 2 disc comp with disc 1 featuring tracks from it’s current stable and disc 2 showing off the acts from it’s Casket Music offshoot. Although much of Copro’s acts are largely unlistenable, they do throw up some treats now and again such as the savage death metal of *Withering Surface *and the passionate emo-rock of *Forever Until October, whose contribution is an exclusive unreleased track. Although some of these tracks are fairly old, such as Acid Death’s, Medulla Nocte’s *‘Inside I’m Dying’ and *earthone 9’s _‘Tat Twam Asi’ _video it does give you an idea of what Copro have been up to over the years.
Change the disc and you get 13 tracks from Casket’s wondrous bands. Now, where the quality of Copro’s acts are patchy Casket’s are just plain terrible. I mean, all those cringeworthy local nu-metal bands that infest the toilet venues around the country – it’s the kind of stuff Casket have wet dreams about. From *Landmine Spring *& *Fony *to *Cowpuncher, Imprint *and *Caution *the fact they’re allowed to put out records is just wrong. WRONG I tell you! The only ounce of solace comes in the form of Marshan’s stoner blues and you need their mini-album purely for the hidden prank phone call at the end. * [2/5]*
**PUNK ROCK IS YOUR FRIEND
Ok, there’s eight bands here, each with two tracks with which to woo your little punk rock ears. First band Audio Karate *are definitely a band you should try and search out. Taking on the teen-punk template they’re a band with some mighty fine hooks (karate) kicking about. *Ozma *are a band for all you with a soft spot for power-pop rock ala *Weezer. Showering quirky keyboard effects over an infectious pop-rock bounce Ozma have a songwriting knack most bands can only dream of. Tsunami Bomb’s female vocalist sounds like Karina from Dance Hall Crashers and subsequently they sound like a punk rock version of them. It’s not a bad thing. In fact these little tasters just aren’t enough. I want MORE!! Ahem. Ok, other bands that appear here are The Vandals *with an unreleased track and _‘My First Christmas’ _from the ‘Oi To The World’ single, Antifreeze’s generi-punk, *No Use For A Name, The Ataris, Useless I.D. *& *Mi6.
An alright comp but worth getting to hear Audio Karate, Ozma and Tsunami Bomb! **[3/5] www.kungfurecords.com**