Home > Bargain > Various Artists – Let’s Get Rid of L.A.: 15 Bands From Underneath the Ruins of Southern California

Various Artists – Let’s Get Rid of L.A.: 15 Bands From Underneath the Ruins of Southern California

Revenge Records, 2003

Ah, what the hell is with that cover?  It is uuuuugggly.  In fact, when I dug this out from my stack of stuff to review I could barely read the title on the spine it was so dark.  Black and green indeed.  But hey, check it out:  wolves.  They seem to be eating something, likely some band that had stars in their eyes and forgot that L.A. is a tough racket.  Well, given that there are fifteen bands on this compilation that I had never heard of, I figured I’d give them all a whirl for a few cents.  Who knows, maybe one of them might get a call from a dude in Massachusetts saying they’re about to make it big, Big, BIG because they are now featured on humble music blog!

As one might expect, this is one of those compilations that is all at once loud but contains its share of greatness and crumminess.  My usual ratio of tune enjoyment is something along the likes of 1: 2: 4, where ‘1’ is a great song, ‘2’ is a decent song that one can take or leave, and ‘4’ is forgettable pap.   Therefore, let’s see how “Let’s Get Rid of L.A.” fares against the usual expectations.

Since I’m a pop punk enthusiast, I really did appreciate the Orphans’ “Miss Easy Rider”, the Pinkz’s “Right or Wrong” and the Checkers’ “Is He In?”.  Quick guitar riffs, urgent vocals and a two minute track time are all that I require for a sonically good time.  It helps that the two groups have female lead vocalists, with the Checkers sounding like they have two.

One of the best tracks on the comp is the Flash Express’ “Beat That Kills” due its classic rock n roll brutality.  The pounding drums and cymbals do it for me as well as the vocalist’s fuzzy, deep voice.  No fancy vocal effects, just singing it like it is.  Then there’s the epic bridge that reminds you that not every rock song has to stick to the verse chorus verse predictability.

Amidst the punk and more punk on the album is the Alleged Gunmen’s “New Bo Diddley” which is like a blues rockin’ oasis.  Considering that the next few tracks barely take a breath, the track’s inclusion is a good varietal choice by Revenge Records.  It’s a pity the label didn’t bother with anything else like it on the rest of album.

And of course, as it usually goes with compilations, not every song is engaging.  “An Ave Maria” by the Fuse! is a loud, thrashing mess, but it at least breaks up the prevalent garage punk on the collection.  Other tracks that don’t quite work for me are “Hangar” by Squab Teen, “Clifton” by Miracle Chosuke and “T-T-T-T-Tet” by Fast Forwards, mainly due to the groups sounding like they’re making noise for noise’s sake.  Despite some of the more stumbling, incoherent tracks, the compilation is a strong package of hard rock from the west coast.

Here you go, found the Flash Express song on Youtube!

Going back to my ratios, I would say that this 15-track compilation scored a 3: 6: 6 (or 1: 2: 2) which is better than usual.  Therefore, even with just the three great tracks I’ve gotta call this a Bargain.  Even if I never spin the whole thing in complete succession again, at least I’ve got three or so new songs that I can throw in a mix somewhere.  I could also fly out to Los Angeles and start flaunting my recently acquired indie cred by name dropping some of these older underground bands.  Ahhh never mind … I imagine I’ll just get run over by rollerbladers.

Bonus Compilation Speech:  Compilations are not for everyone.  Sometimes the idea that you are forced to listen to a group of bands that you’ve never heard of is a major turn off.  On the flipside, since not every song is the listener’s preference one doesn’t have to wait long for a different song and band to come along.  And hey, why are albums by a single band so great?  What if you hate the first three songs?  Usually that means the rest of the album is deemed as crap, whereas on a compilation that just means there are ten or so more tracks to go before a final evaluation is reached.  This is why paying very little for compilations, especially rock ‘n roll ones, are just my thing.  Go find a cheap compilation somewhere and discover some obscure bands under a rock, will ya?  You’ll be surprised.

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