If any other genre birthed a compilation featuring 34 different bands, the project would likely be sold as a boxed set. Yet the Valley enthusiasts who runAZPunk.com
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have succeeded in packing that number of acts from around the state onto a single disc -- with plenty of room to spare. The decision to overload the disc has more to do with a fear of leaving anyone out than it does with an abundance of talent. Which is sorta the point -- punk has always thrived on supporting its own, and this disc is no exception.
Traditional punk rock is the compilation's mainstay. In customary fashion, the majority of the song titles and band names are clever puns that connote the disaffected and marginalized -- Last Action Zeros, 80-D, Glass Heroes. The only group ballsy enough to go ahead and name its band with a straight-up cliché is Where Eagles Dare. The disc's songs come with the requisite pedestrian breakdowns and ubiquitous screaming, attributes common to the genre.
The disc, in its overview of the waterfront, does a good job balancing the political tunes with Dada-like nihilism. Parkway Wretch kicks off the comp with the sentimental track "Andrew Lawson." Complete with a schmaltzy voice-over, the song eulogizes Andrew, who apparently was killed by a stray bullet. Tucson's Shark Pants and Swing Ding Amigos support the anti-emo camp with their songs "Watergun" and "Nyquil" -- the songs combined clock in at a minute and a half and are as far from the political as their titles suggest.
Another brief but telling track, The Corrupt's "My First Punk Song," perfectly illustrates the disc's sensibility. It's a 46-second meta-lyric in which the title is repeatedly screamed. Reinforcing and belying punk rock's innocence, it relishes the genre's defeatist simplicity.