Various Artists

Killed By Death: Raw Rare Punk, Vol. 1

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The disc that launched a thousand knock-offs! The first volume of Killed by Death appeared around 1988, the brainchild of (according to legend) a New York-based Swedish record collector who gathered up 25 of his all-time favorite new wave-ish rarities and unleashed them on what was then very much a fledgling punk collectors' market.

Concentrating almost wholly on '80s Americana, but with the odd early import to shake things up, the end result was an eclectic but nevertheless exciting package, its contents ranging from the Slugs, featuring former New York Doll Rick Rivets, to northwest D.I.Y. originators the Wipers, but climaxing with one of the most in-demand records of the age, the then-ascendant Beastie Boys' super-rare Pollywog Stew EP. That the Beasties of such early renown had little in common with the slick rappers of later years is, of course, crucial to the material's success; had they sounded anything like you expected them to, they'd never have fit on this collection so well.

Other gems include suitably macabre odes to L.A.'s Hillside Strangler by both the Hollywood Squares and the Child Molestors, a live Nuns cut, and a brace of anti-social stomps by the Authorities; there's also some neatly gratuitous nastiness from Britain's Users, a 1977-era punk band that sounds positively old fashioned compared to some of the young blades switching around elsewhere.

In common with most every other volume in the Killed by Death universe, the sound quality isn't always great, a flaw that subsequent repressings have only exaggerated; later editions also omit the Beasties' material for whatever reason, but the rest of the album is strong enough to survive such an excision.

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