Various Artists

Punk USA [Lookout]

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While most punk rock compilations tend to have a few good songs and a whole lot of garbage, the Ben Weasel compiled Punk USA actually manages to steer clear of too much rubbish and give a nice representation of the punk scene circa 1994. For those who may have forgotten, 1994 was a few years after grunge hit, as well as right about the time when Green Day really broke big, and the musical spirit of the time shines through pretty clearly. There really aren't any terrible songs on the 16-track record, but there are plenty of highlights. Jawbreaker's "Sea Foam Green" is one of the best songs the group has ever written, and for fans of the San Fransisco three-piece, the track alone will definitely be worth the price of the CD. Also included are Screeching Weasel's Green Day referential, "My Friends Are Getting Famous," the Queers no-frills assault in the form of "Blabbermouth," and fine contributions from Face to Face and Garden Variety (whose hidden track is one of the record's real gems). Lookout Records has released plenty of punk records since this was originally pressed, but the bands included represent a time when punk rock was unsure of where the future was taking it, and the songs rock on like it doesn't really matter.

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