V/A "Someone Got Their Head Kicked In!" Compilation LP
Culled almost entirely from two important, early-'80s So-Cal punk compilations, this CD is red hot a decade later. This is 15/18ths of 1982's Someone Got Their Head Kicked In (all but the three Blades tracks, which though good were the least of the LP), and 10/16ths of 1984's Something to Believe In (missing are the tracks by Unwanted -- L.A.'s, not 1977 London's -- Tourists, Youth Youth Youth, Young Lions, Zeroption, and D.O.A.; some good, some eh, though D.O.A.'s hot, funny "Tits on the Beach" -- another look at that same subject as the Stranglers' "Peaches" -- is sadly missed). Though it's likely an issue of rights to the material for re-release, it would have been better to reissue the two LPs as was, rather than stripping them of nine tracks to replace them with six songs (albeit equally good ones) from later BYO releases. From Head Kicked In, the two old, pre-first LP demos by the Adolescents are vital, great-sounding punk history, plus the 1982 Social Distortion's otherwise unknown masher "Mass Hysteria," a couple of the finest Youth Brigade songs -- including "Look in the Mirror," which should have made one of the two versions of its debut LP Sound and Fury the next year. The two tracks by the Joneses (the L.A. Dolls' rock, not the later crap Joneses) are fun, Aggression still rocks, and Battallion of Saints shreds. From Something, there's no arguing with Channel 3's proud punk-pop "Indian Summer," which came just before the bandmembers became alcoholics and got into the Alarm. And best of all, the Nils' stunning "Scratches and Needles," one of the defining moments by Montreal's best band ever, is so good it was the opening track on that LP despite the band's obscurity (they should've used the original version from the stupidly limited-edition, 300-print Now EP cassette, which is even more awesome). Youth Brigade (again) and Personality Crisis are terrific. If you care at all about U.S. classic punk, this is a super guide because it has so many great songs in one place by so many great bands. The BYO's Stern brothers (of Youth Brigade) had ears for melodies and tunes were abundant in L.A. (and Canada) back then, and that's why it's dated well.