Various Artists

R.A.F.R., Vol. 3: Compilation

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For those unfamiliar with L.A. or New York's underground punk rock bar scene, most of the bands on this compilation will seem like obscurities. But the majority of them are part of a scene that for the most part supports itself outside of the record business, as major labels have realized that grimy punk rock bands aren't going to make them much money. These are largely bands who are happy to play in dingy clubs in front of 25 or so enthusiastic, drunken fans. In L.A., most of them would surely be booked at Al's Bar before that club closed its doors in 2000. The L.A. bands include some great acts such as the Bell Rays and the Superbees, while the New York groups include Furious George, the Bullys, and the Kowalskis. There are plenty of bands from hick towns in between, too. One of the best songs is "M.O.S.C.O.W." from a band called Libertine, who has an excellent gruff-voiced singer who sounds like Raf Classic from the Crumbs. There's also a very funny tune called "Pop Is for Fags" by the Bullys, though the word "fag" might offend some listeners. Johnny Heff of the Bullys was a firefighter killed on September 11, 2001. Certainly, many of the bands on this compilation sound indistinguishable, but fans of this genre will definitely want to get a copy of this.

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