On the heels of Swami Records' reissues by Testors and Crime, Basement Anthology: 1976-84 -- which chronicles overlooked recordings by Syracuse's the Penetrators -- just may be the label's best look at the past to date. Inspired by 1960s garage punks, not to mention the Stooges, attitude abounds on these old dusty singles and live recordings steered by scene-makers Eliot Kagan and Jack Lipton. The sloppy swagger of 1979's "Teenage Lifestyle" single doesn't discount it from anthem status, but "Baby Dontcha Tell Me," recorded in 1976, is the real secret weapon here, sounding as if it were extracted from the Nuggets compilation. If "#1 Band in Town" is arrogant, it's also nasty, dirty fun, as is the group's live rendition of Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul Music." Sure, there's a sameness to the material after a while, but because it's so spirited, Basement Anthology: 1976-84 wins more than it loses.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by John D. Luerssen