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Various Artists The L.A. Shakedown

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Monday, April 14, 2003 @ 11:13 AM

(Acetate Records)

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This double disc compilation was released last month to celebrate the first annual Los Angeles Shakedown, a weekend festival of hard rock punk, and broken bottle blues that found some of the worlds dirtiest bands congregating on the streets of Hollywood to rock together. With 38 songs by 38 bands you can be sure this CD is gonna be a hit and miss affair -- there's just no way everyone is like every band, right? -- yet for such a wide variety of bands, this is a surprisingly tight, cohesive collection. And, of course, a rockin' one too…

The big guns come in the form of the mighty Supersuckers, who turn out a terrific poppy rocker in the form of "Shake ItO," and Nashville Pussy, who offer up "Hitchhike Down To Cincinnati" from Say Something Nasty. And two times must be a charm 'cause Pussy frontman Blaine Cartwright resurrects his old band Nine Pound Hammer on the brand new track "Drunk, Tired and Mean." X's Exene comes through with her new outfit Original Sinners, who get pretty rockin' on "Who's Laughing Now," while Sub Pop's The Makers go for the glam throat with "Addicted To Dying." The Dwarves are as fast and loud as ever on "Dominator" and Antiseen proves once again on "I'm A Babyface Killer" that they are still the kings of brutality. Meanwhile, punk vet Duane Peters reps the skate scene with two bands, U.S. Bombs and The Hunns, though that Clash-style punk just ain't my bag. Lastly, L.A. warhorse the Lazy Cowgirls trot out "Boerne Girl" and prove why they have managed to kick around for over 20 years, their brand of Johnny cash on speed punk never grows old.

Representing the middleweight class are underground heroes The Dragons, who are always a welcome addition, and tear shit up with "I Say Go," The Hangmen, who dig into the gutter for "Hollywood," and Nebula, who bring in the bonghit metal with "Fall of Icarus." Lords of Altamont get garage-y on "The Split," while Swingin' Utters get agro with "Poor Me," and The Weaklings go AC/DC on "Shake." We also get bloody-soaked demons the Candysnatchers, Seattle punks The Catheters, punk maven Texas Terri, the hard-rockabilly of Blazing Haley, booze-filled hard rock courtesy of Motochrist, glam-sleaze from The Mystery Girls, and Hollywood's stellar Throwrag. Plus, Hollywood's The Superbees deliver a fine cover of Aerosmith's "SOS (Too Bad)." There's much more where this came from but these folks made the most noise to my ears.

…And then there's the arsenal of bands I've never heard of, such as Black Cat Music, Shake City, Big Midnight, The Rippers, Discontent, Nekromantix, Kings of Nuthin', and many, many more -- all loud and proud, though all kinda sounding the same after a while. So, as you can imagine, the power-pop pomp of Bluebird's "Falling Back" was a welcome retreat from all the feedback, as was the soul-power of Midnight Rapture's "Gone To The Dogs."

All in all, a terrific grab bag of sonic goodies, a taste test, if you will, of the finest the underground has to offer these days. Enjoy!

* * * 1/2

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