Home > TheRest > Various Artists – Cheese Borger’s Pie and Ears Volume 2

Various Artists – Cheese Borger’s Pie and Ears Volume 2

Smog Veil Records, 2002

With one of the more revolting covers I’ve seen in awhile, there is no chance I would pass on picking up a compilation of Cleveland punk rock.  I, ah, recognize the name of Cheese Borger from a previous review regarding his cadre of Pink Holes, so for twenty-three tracks for much less than twenty-three dollars this was a surefire grab.  To think there was a previous volume of Cleveland punk released is hard to believe, but I guess when the Browns and Indians aren’t doing much of anything people are driven to high volumes.  Better than reading I say!

So what does one expect from a punk compilation that is nearly a decade old?  Well actually, this compilation was put together in 2002 but consists of mostly punk tunes from back in the eighties.   Therefore, consider this collection as a group of musicians who were recently influenced by the big punk movement from the seventies.  Given that the state of music today mostly consists of interchangeable dance pop tunes and irony-maxed indie rock, a compilation with some raw, lightly produced garage rock from back in the day can actually be refreshing.  Who knows, one may even find a highly unheralded band to dig into more deeply.

After a few muddled compositions by Kneecappers and Disciples of Death (band name props), things really get revved up with Idiot Humans’ “Toppling Stairs”.  The main riff thoroughly reminds me of the Wipers’ “D.7” with its foreboding sense of doom, yet the song doesn’t bother with any of the slow stuff and consists of pure acceleration.  The cover of the Pagans’ “Eyes of Satan” by Styrenes doesn’t have much for lyrics aside from the title track.  Is it punk to essentially skip verses?  Still a fun blitz of a tune, though.

Those songs aside, apart from a few stand outs there are many tracks that sound like what one might expect from a local punk band compilation.  There’s a lot of low production, speed, inattention to lyrical clarity, short song lengths, and guitars, guitars, guitars.  Many songs tend to blend together for the most part, but there are a few nice exceptions.  New Salem Witch Hunters’ “Plain to See” sounds like a great bar room pop song with its sixties style and fine keyboard inclusion.  The Clocks sound very fresh with their garage rock  during their detailing of a literal “Family Feud” while the Pink Holes throw in a solid, fuzzy surf track.  I can’t get enough of the surf stuff.

Since a bunch of these guys were out before MySpace came along, perhaps you will find something interesting to buy or listen to at Smog Veil Records’ website.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable compilation of punk tracks of varying quality.  I didn’t find any that were just too awful to sit through a few minutes with, which either reflects the time period’s style or the general talent of the musicians.  Or perhaps I was too busy stroking my leather jacket to notice, who knows.  Truth is, compilations are hard to utterly pan given that there always tends to be enough variety to make anyone appreciate the disc in spurts.  All I know is that if I ever find myself in Cleveland I’ll be seeking out this Cheese Borger guy to tell me which shows to catch.

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