Seedenstem Records Presents... Stop, Drop
All of the acts on this, Seedenstem Records' second compilation, share a certain lo-fi, overamplified sound. This phenomenon is actually of great importance to the uninitiated: Each band works mostly from a guitar-bass-drums arrangement and fuzz-rock attitude, yet each band delivers a distinct take on the style. For listeners, then, enjoying the CD as a cohesive whole, a true rarity in any compilation context, is easy.
However, for those who are either actually from the Montrose area or have just been lost there for some time, Stop, Drop & Roll holds an even more insidious appeal. It's a virtual soundtrack to life in the place. Whether you'll be on the "for" or "against" end of the commentary herein or just an amused observer depends on where you stand, literally, in this locale's cultural microcosm.
On this disc you'll find the aging scenester drunks, holding up the bar at Emo's during the daylight hours as depicted by Drunken Thunder on its song "AA Crash." And c'mon, admit it: You've got "a friend" who has had one too many and spent the rest of his evening/morning "Trollin' for Skanks" (by 23, which operates Seedenstem). And we all know the chick in Walking Timebomb's "Parasite" and the beat-up, late-model American car in the Spoilers' "Ghost of the Green Bean." And you can feel the cooler-than-thou glare of Billyclub's "3-Piece Suit" all too well if you're one of those who has to wear one every once in a while and doesn't have time to get out of it before going out for the night.
Each of the dozen bands featured is given two consecutive tracks, which not only helps with the continuity, but also gives a new listener a greater feel as to what's happening, which is always somewhere in a comp's agenda.
Every act on Stop, Drop & Roll is at least decent. But the picks of the litter are Walking Timebombs and Hundred, both with roots in Houston legends Pain Teens, Dallas's Billyclub and Seedenstem's own Waster Pro. The Timebombs and Hundred both add electronics to their mixes while keeping everything suitably raw. The former utilizes a '70s-sounding keyboard string section to great effect, while Frank Garymartin's Hundred does the garage dub-rap thing. Billyclub and Waster Pro, meanwhile, are straight-ahead guitar rockers; rock and roll first meets the booze, then the gutter.
The not surprisingly old-school punk tinges of Humungus, featuring ex-Dead Boys Cheetah Chrome and Nikki Sikki, also deserve a name check. But truth be told, there's nothing here that doesn't eventually grow on you. A compilation worth repeated listening? That's a new one.
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