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RAT MUSIC FOR RAT PEOPLE LP
01. DOA - America the Beautiful
02. DOA - Fucked Up Ronnie
03. Flipper - Life
04. Circle Jerks - Life Fast, Die Young
05. Bad Brains - How Low Can a Punk Get?
06. Bad Brains - Don't Bother Me
07. Crucifix - Steel Case Enclosure
08. Dead Kennedys - Forward to Death
09. Dead Kennedys - I Am the Owl
10. Black Flag - Scream
11. TSOL - Weathered Statues
12. TSOL - Sounds of Laughter
13. The Avengers - American Tragedies
14. The Dils - Blow Up
Label: Go! Discs
First of all, this is a hardcore record; secondly, there are very few compilations of punk which hold up after repeated listenings. This one is sort of stuck in-between. I think it is the best produced hardcore 12" since "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols". But in today's mesh of crashing cymbals and manic guitar lines, production is not always an asset. I think anyone who isn't into domestic style of punk would find this a worthy buy. It takes or introduces you (in a rather polished way) to some great bands. It contains 8 California bands and two out-of-towners. Most of the tracks were recorded live at various clubs in and around San Francisco. Now, let's go onto the bands at hand:
Side one starts out with 2 live cuts from Canada's DOA. Besides the obnoxious dialogue of Joey Shithead, the tracks are great. "America the Beautiful" is the most original DOA recording in years. Flipper is up next with 7 minutes of caveman noise. It is good if you like Flipper, but the unwarned should watch out; Flipper can make ordinary kids boil their cat. The Circle Jerks show how great they really are by playing a fantastic version of "Live Fast Die Young". The best band on this LP is up next, 2 cuts from New York's Bad Brains. Yeah, I know the band has been pulling some asinine stunts on tour, but this is top notch stuff, especially the sarcastic "How Low Can a Punk Get?" Side one ends with a little English-influenced Crucifix who have sounded better, but still hold up well.
Side two starts off with the Dead Kennedys. Yes, Jello and crew are on yet another compilation, but "Rat Music" is supposed to be a chronicle of domestic punk so it is somewhat deserved. Anyway, they do 2 tracks, highlighted by "The Owl". Black Flag plays four minutes of noise in a tune called "Scream". That band continues down hill. TSOL is the next and does some unusual things. The first of their two cuts is called "Weathered Statues" which appeared on an earlier EP. It is not hardcore, but makes up for it in originality. Their other tune, "Sounds of Laughter" is just rehash of old material. The Avengers and the Dils conclude this record with one song each. Both of these old S.F. bands add little to the overall product. In conclusion, "Rat Music" has its ups and downs, but delivers a good dose of produced noise for anyone who claims to love hardcore. I hope Go! keeps putting out LPs such as this, because the packaging and free poster made the effort even more of an great buy. I think that is enough... go get this record.
-Darryl Smyers (from Truly Needy Vol. 2 No. 2, May 1983)
Live recordings, ostensibly taken from various shows produced by Paul Rat around the Bay Area over the last six years. This contains cuts by the DKs, Flipper, D.O.A., Circle Jerks, Black Flag, T.S.O.L., Bad Brains, Crucifix, and the late, great Dils and Avengers (though the latter two's cuts are from past their prime). Most tracks are good quality, so this album should do well.
-Tim Yohannon (from Maximum Rock'n'Roll #4, January/February 1983)