Various Artists

The Coalition to Rock Chicago Presents: Vol. 2, Windy City Whiplash

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Windy City Whiplash presents tracks from 24 Chicagoland bands at the budget price of six dollars. It's a production of the Coalition to Rock Chicago, a grassroots movement intent on returning hard rock and metal sounds to the city's increasingly antiseptic FM dial. Whiplash itself veers wildly between these genres, and stops everywhere it can in between. There's ragged punk revivalism from Poppycocks (the appropriate "Death of Rock Radio"), the energetic third wave ska of Penny & the Loafers, sludgy alt.metal hybrids (Gelheads' fabulous "Misdirected"), and even some ragged psychobilly stylings from Gatos Diablos. As collections of independent bands go, Whiplash's talent level is top-notch -- even if a particular style rubs you the wrong way, chances are it will be done well. Not too shabby for six dollars. Just make sure you buy an Italian beef at the same time -- Whiplash's clever cover art is quite appetizing.

blue highlight denotes track pick