Teenage Shutdown: I'm Down Today, subtitled "Moody & Brooding Teen Misery Lowdown," is one of the better collections in the Teenage Shutdown series and will appeal to fans who are looking for more blues-based punk ballads and not screeching, foot-stomping garage rock. Like the others in this celebrated series, the compilation was produced by Crypt Records' Tim Warren, whose careful and considerate mastering job was accomplished with a minimum of EQing, keeping the sound raw but as loud and clean as possible. Many of these singles -- all but a few dating back to the mid-'60s -- came from the collection of "Moptop" Mike Markesich, who wrote the CD's scant liner notes. As usual, there aren't too many band photos to be found in the fold-out insert booklet; this one features five black-and-white photos, including cover cats the Chargers. There are also scans of the single labels, depicted in color. Teenage Shutdown: I'm Down Today focuses on the "she done me wrong" style of bluesy garage rock, or as Markesich writes in the notes: "Top tales of teenage trauma! Various shades and states of torture: moody, to miserable, to downright suicidal!" Cheery thoughts like these tumble forth throughout, starting right off with the title track by the Drones' "I'm Down Today," from Valley Center, CA. The Other Half, from Pottsdown, PA, contribute "A Lot to Live For," while the Iron Gate put everything in perspective with their song "Feelin' Bad." Its lyrics reveal what's actually going on in the singer's head: "Don't feel bad about the Vietnam War/Don't feel bad about the Civil Rights Bill/Don't feel bad about the sick and poor/Don't feel bad 'cause I'm missin' my thrill/But I do feel bad about losing you." The John Does' "One Kind Favor" finds the West Coast teen group transforming an old blues standard -- previously made famous by Texas blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson (but recorded as "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean") and later recorded by Howlin' Wolf and others -- into an Animals-style moody rocker with outstanding organ flourishes. The Worchester, MA-based Scepters -- not to be confused with the Chicago-based Sceptres, whose cover of the Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" was collected on Teenage Shutdown: She's a Pest! -- have the final word here, a "goodbye cruel word" track called "Depression." The moody surf-style song, according to Markesich's liners, was written by the group's lead guitarist, who exaggerated the song lyrics to be "pro-suicide," even though he'd done it as a joke. Only 500 copies were released in the New Hampshire area on the Melbourne label.
AllMusic Review by Bryan Thomas