Various Artists

Rough Trade Shops: Rock and Roll

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Sure, that skinny guy behind the counter at the hip record store in your town may seem like a snotty know-it-all, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know something. Case in point: to celebrate the continued existence of the Rough Trade record shops, some folks at Mute Records polled the employees about their favorite rock & roll records and used the results to help compile this two-disc set, and if the track listing doesn't have a lot in the way of thematic unity or stylist cohesion going for it, this thing roars for a solid 145 minutes, and if there's a flat-out bad tune here, I'm not sure where it is. Being compiled by hipster record store guys, this leans (expectedly) to punk, indie rock, and garage rock, but within that framework the contents are pretty diverse, spanning from pre-punk pioneers the Modern Lovers and Rocket From the Tombs to currently hip troublemakers the Dirtbombs, the Von Bondies, and the Hives, with all kinds of stops in between. In short, if you dig your rock & roll fast, wild, and noisy, this is the ideal soundtrack for your next shindig -- after all, how many albums can you name that offer you choice cuts by the Pixies, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pere Ubu, the Saints, the Beatings, Clinic, Thee Headcoats, and Guitar Wolf along with 38 more slabs of genius? (One of which, by the way, is the first authorized CD release of Crime's ultra-rare "Hot Wire My Heart.") Get it, crank it up, and if your neighbors don't complain to the landlord, they'll certainly thank you.

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