Various Artists

Punk Seven Inch CD, Vol. 1: 1988-1989

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Though Green Day is its most famous graduate, the Bay Area punk and hardcore scene that revolved around Berkeley's 924 Gilman Street was a thriving, ever-changing community during its late-'80s heyday. And like so many scene-specific independent labels of the era, Lookout! spent its formative years documenting its local scene with 7" releases. The format thrived, since it was economical to produce and sell, and groups often didn't have much more than a few songs to release anyway. Looking back, these slivers of wax have become snapshots of the American underground music scene that was really finding its legs in the late '80s. This release collects the first few 7"s issued by Lookout!, excluding a few notables (Operation Ivy, for one) whose early work was already available elsewhere. The EPs included -- by Corrupted Morals, Isocracy, Plaid Retina, the Yeastie Girlz, Kamala & the Karnivores, and Surrogate Brains -- have been remastered, and appear for the first time on compact disc. They date from 1988 and 1989, and feature Lookout! catalog numbers like 2, 7, and 13. It's a historic release that perfectly captures the ground-level immediacy, D.I.Y. ethic, and pointed, often scathing humor of the groups included. Hot topics of the era pop up throughout. Corrupted Morals' "Be All You Can Be" takes the U.S. Army's famous ad campaign to task, sneering "Sign away your life/You belong to Ronnie now." Their Chet EP also includes what's likely the only reference to Edwin Meese in a hardcore anthem. The specter of AIDS looms large here, especially in the a cappella raps of the Yeastie Girlz, whose Ovary Action EP is the collection's standout inclusion. Its trend-setting, deadpan sendup of hip-hop is dominated by cheeky, prurient lyricisms that double as grassroots feminist shout-outs. MCs Cammie, Jane, and Kate presage the activism of the riot grrrl movement and Kill Rock Stars, and sketch a blueprint for the sex-shop pop of electroclashers like Peaches. Even if this overstates the Girlz' historical importance, their flow on "Sue Your Friends" and "FCC" is dynamite. Other standouts include the irreverent hardcore of Isocracy, which features future Samiam mouthpiece Jason Beebout, and the tuneful girl group garage punk of Kamala & the Karnivores' Girl Band EP.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:56
2
3:01
3
2:22
4
2:04
5
1:52
6 0:23
7 1:51
8 1:21
9 1:35
10 1:52
11 1:18
12 1:02
13 0:12
14 0:21
15 0:13
16 0:29
17 0:20
18 0:48
19
0:49
20 0:46
21 0:58
22
0:42
23 0:24
24 1:08
25 0:56
26 0:42
27 0:38
28
1:13
29
1:28
30
1:04
31
1:11
32
1:01
33
0:15
34
1:27
35
2:03
36
1:34
37
1:32
38 1:28
39 2:04
40 2:34
41 1:13
42 1:47
43 3:02
44
2:40
45
1:38
46
2:24
47
2:31
blue highlight denotes track pick