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Various Artists Heat Slick Records Compilation

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Thursday, August 22, 2002 @ 11:03 PM

(Heat Slick)

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The first thing that jumped out at me when glancing at the lineup of bands on this album was that many of them were around during the ‘80s Sunset Strip scene or have band members who were. The second thing I noticed was that barely any of these bands are actually on the label that put this compilation out, Heat Slick Records, begging the question -- what is the purpose of this CD? Well, far be it for me to answer the great questions of the world, but I see a thread running through this: Hollywood bands you either remember from the Sunset Strip or sound like they could be from the Strip circa the ‘80s. Is that enough to warrant (get it?) a 14-song compilation? You decide.

The biggest news here is the return of Junkyard, one of the few bands that could do the Cathouse gigs opening for Guns N’ Roses and Little Caesar, yet still play the more underground dives like Raji’s and the Anticlub, the home of such bands as L7, Thelonious Monster, Little Kings, Motorcycle Boy and others. After a brief reunion stint in the late ‘90s and a live album to prove it, the band recorded a hard-to-find EP that this is presumably from. “Waste of Time” sounds just like vintage Junkyard, punk in all the right placed but hard rock through and through.

Taime Downe’s Newlydeads get unusually hard rocked out for their normal goth selves on “Lipstick,” sounding more like Downe’s previous outfit Faster Pussycat. In fact, Pussycat also appears here in the form of “Blood,” a new track that sounds, surprise, just like the Newlydeads! Go Figure. Jet Boy guitarist Billy Rowe makes an appearance with his new outfit American Heartbreak, actually from San Francisco, whose “Postcards From Hell” is a welcome power-pop-punk addition to the mix. Motochrist features Danny Nordahl of Throbs/Newlydeads/Pussycat fame and are by far the heaviest band here. On “Marc Diamond,” an ode to their superstar guitarist (who also plays in the Dwarves), the band sound like Motorhead meets L.A. Guns (hey, didn’t Danny play in them to for a second, too?!?) in a bar fight. I think you know who wins there…

Somehow or another The Hangmen got lumped in here and it makes little sense. The Hangmen were a Raji’s band through and through, the antithesis of the decadent Sunset Strip scene and sounded more like the Gun Club or Johnny Thunders than Poison. I mean, they were produced/managed by Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks for Christsakes!!! They did however have a glammy tinge to their sound (didn’t everybody back then), were around back in the day, and did release a major label album (their criminally underrated 1989 Capitol debut), so I guess that kinda qualifies them (much to their chagrin likely). “Bliss,” from their recent comeback album, Metallic IOU, is certainly the strongest track on the album, a poetic junkie’s lament in the form of a Neil Young or Tom Petty-style noise blues. Another band that sounds more rock n’ roll than Ratt n’ Roll is the 440s, a sleazy grinding punk band with a female singer who rips it up on “Slut Girl Blues.” The female fronted Dragbeat are also a nice addition to the mix.

However, things get really scary right up front when Pretty Boy Floyd hit the stage for a live rendition of “Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz,” possibly the worst glam-metal song EVER. These guys make Tigertailz seem credible. They make Tuff look like Aerosmith by comparison. Yeah, I know some of you fools think they are great and will rant about what a dick I am, but you are wrong, I am right, they suck, end of story. Solid offerings by Plan Nine, City Girls Boys, Nutrajet and Killingbird sound brilliant and original in comparison to Pretty Boy Floyd and benefit greatly by being on the same disc with the pink and purple, poofy-haired ones.

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