Various Artists

Very Small World

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In the fall of 1991, the Northern California-based Very Small Records put out a compilation double LP of several local bands, most of which would either fade into the standard regional obscurity or wind up on the similar label Lookout! Records. A few of them would go on to later (relative) fame and fortune. This comp features a good slice of what you could hear back then, warts and all. Lots of punk-pop, some sludge metal, some hardcore. Notable tracks are early singles from bands like Voodoo Glow Skulls, Jawbreaker, Samiam, Econochrist, Schlong, and Pinhead Gunpowder -- a local supergroup of sorts featuring Aaron Cometbus, Billie Joe Armstrong (perhaps you've heard of him), Mike Kirsch from Fuel, and Bill from Monsula. The first record is primarily catchy and upbeat punk-pop and surf music, and as such is fine. Once listeners get to the second record, the songs are more metal-oriented and weigh down the compilation. Album two, side one, is pretty much a waste. Side two of the second record holds the early Jawbreaker song, but they're in such aggro form that it's no fun, really. On the whole, this is a fine sampler for those interested in how the NorCal punk-pop explosion happened, as well as completists of certain bands. For more casual fans, there are a thousand better punk comps out there.

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