Various Artists

Old Skars and Upstarts 2005

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Despite media proclamations that punk had become absorbed into the mainstream by the end of the 20th century, in fact much of it remained underground, known to just a very few. If nothing else, this 2005 compilation is evidence of that, with 30 songs, most in a punkish vein, by artists who were unknown in the overground and almost totally undiscussed even by the alternative scene. While it's generic as a whole and often mediocre, at least both the stylistic variety and recording fidelity are better than what you'll find in many such anthologies. Plus there's certainly a lot of music for one disc -- 30 songs and 77 minutes in all. There's cowpunk (Bad Lieutnants), straight-ahead buzzsaw punk, punk with a streak of power pop (Briefs, R.X. Son), Sex Pistols-like riffing, a pointless cover of David Bowie's "Suffragette City" (by Turbo Negro), woman-fronted pop-punk (Epoxies), hardcore with a galloping beat, hardcore with a pell-mell beat, and some anthemic riffing and singing with distant debts to classic rock. And there's lyrical outrageousness -- the Duane Peters Gunfight's "Blow My Brains," River Boat Gamblers' "Smoking Crack with L.A. Reid," and the Orphans, whose woman vocalist sings, "I don't wanna share my bed with your underage girlfriend."

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