Various Artists

Anagram Punk Singles

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The Anagram label was established in 1982 by Iain McNay, head of Cherry Red Records, for worthwhile acts that didn't fit the normal, accepted Cherry Red "style." Roughly translated, that means that Anagram was the "punk" arm of Cherry Red. Decades later, they are best known as a punk reissue label, re-releasing some great, yet sadly forgotten, punk albums. Not forgetting that they originally released some now-legendary singles (and albums) in the first place, they've compiled a "punk singles collection" based around their own early-'80s releases, proving that they were just as influential as the other labels they had already spotlighted in this series (i.e., No Future, Secret, Raw, etc.). One Way System's street punk works well but is ultimately mediocre, thuggish singalong punk (although their version of the Slade classic "Cum On Feel the Noize" is brilliant). Pressure's poppy tracks work fabulously well, leaving the listener wishing that this band had done more. The Angelic Upstarts were recovering from the fall-out they received from their un-punk Still From the Heart album, and their singles tracks here certainly place them back on the top of the heap. The Vibrators' singles tracks are as entertaining as ever with their Lou Reed-inspired punk rock, the re-recorded "Baby Baby" being a standout. Vice Squad had just lost vocalist Beki Bondage and were desperately trying to continue with a new vocalist, and the resulting singles here were far better than anyone gave them credit for. Also featured here are the Outcasts (awesome Irish punk-pop band) and the Pete Wylie-meets-Joy Division mix of Furyo. A fabulous 23-track collection that punk fans should track down.

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