Various Artists

New Sounds New York, Vol. I

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It's rather a strange thing to get a sampler of bands from your own town that you've never heard of. (Then again, there are so many in New York, it would take a year to see them all back to back at some never-closed CBGB or Continental of your dreams.) In any case, New Sounds is only concerned with post-punk bands of the most gnarly variety, the kind where the guitars, bass, and drums all pound, grind, writhe, and seethe like everybody's really super pissed off. Correspondingly, the vocalists snarl, boil, and scream/screech like they were all just insulted by their jerk-off bosses and somebody's going to pay. What is surprising is the continuous competence, from nine bands all given only three hours to record two songs. All are tight, roaring, dirty-fiery, and hair-raising potent. Now, none of these folks has written a strong song melody that can rival their ferocious attacks, and so the compilation is more exciting for nasty sound than tune. But a few are right on the cusp (Ff is one to watch, with their unholy resemblance to the mighty, much-missed Compulsion), and there's no complaint with bands this intoxicatingly harsh, like the infernal racket of Kill Van Kull, Ouijipig, and Elvis 77. Music this intense is enough to make one crawl into bed and hide under a pillow. Is it safe to come out yet? (