Maximum Rocknroll

They Don't Get Paid, They Don't Get Laid, But Boy Do They Work Hard!

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This fine, though dated, compilation is the perfect document of the late-'80s to early-'90s political punk scene in America made up largely of bands inspired by English groups who came earlier. Political lyrics generally sound better when they're shouted with an English accent for some reason. Certainly, no American political punk rock band ever sounded as inspired as Crass, the Clash, the Subhumans, or Rudimentary Peni. Well, maybe the Dead Kennedys, but that's about it. Thankfully, the bands on this compilation don't use fake English accents, and many of them don't sound at all like the above-mentioned bands. The theme of the record (which you may be able to ascertain from the wordy title) is the D.I.Y. punk scene. All of these bands worked hard and had very few groupies, though some of bands became quite successful later on. Jawbox, who have one of the best songs on the record, "Bullet Park," were eventually signed by Atlantic and put out a couple of records, before being dropped and breaking up. One of the most interesting tunes here is by a band called Downfall, which is the guys from Rancid after the breakup of Operation Ivy and before they formed Rancid. Downfall were around for a year or two, but only recorded a few songs. Also, Screeching Weasel became hugely popular, but were in their infancy when they recorded the song included here, "This Bud's for Me." Other highlights include a poppy punk tune from Cringer, called "Pay to Play," about the practice at that time of clubs making bands sell tickets to their own shows. Also, there's a ferocious number from Christ on a Crutch called "Nation of Sheep," along with several forgettable crustcore bands. Along with the record comes an essential booklet, which includes a page each from many of the important zines from this scene, including Absolutely Zippo, Hippycore, Endless Struggle, and Dead Jesus.