Various - OIL: Chicago Punk Refined (Cover Artwork)


Various: OIL: Chicago Punk RefinedOIL: Chicago Punk Refined (2003)
Thick Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If you've been following this site at all in the past 6 months, you should already know what the premise of this CD is, but just in case you just learned how to read or something, I'll break it down for you: THICK Records set up a mini-recording studio inside a decrepit, albeit still working oil ble.

If you've been following this site at all in the past 6 months, you should already know what the premise of this CD is, but just in case you just learned how to read or something, I'll break it down for you: THICK Records set up a mini-recording studio inside a decrepit, albeit still working oil blending factory. They then invited in 19 of Chicago's finest bands to lay down exclusive tracks. They accomplished this all within 14 days. OIL is the completed product.

So who's on this thing, you ask? Just to get it all out of the way up front, here's the list, in order of appearance on the comp: Rise Against, Haymarket Riot, Alkaline Trio, Duvall, The Dishes, The Arrivals, Lawrence Arms, The Ghost, Owls, Tom Daily, The Tossers, Plain White T's, Detachment Kit, The Reputation, Local H, Check Engine, Bitchy, The Matics, and Bob Nanna [of Hey Mercedes/Braid].

I don't know about you, but that is quite the "who's who" of the Chicago scene currently. So let's take a look at some of the bright spots:

  • Rise Against - Gethsamane - An absolutely killer opening track. More hardcore than the band's last album, too; if this is any indication of what we're in for when their second album comes out in a few months, we're all in for a treat.
  • Alkaline Trio - Old School Reasons - a straight up punk rock song with no real frills, and it's catchy as all hell. To make it even more special, this is the first track that both Matt and Dan take lead vocals on: Matt on the verses, Dan on the choruses. The idea of this comp really comes into play in this song, too; Matt's vocals are nowhere near perfect and had this been for their new album it would've probably gotten a lot more studio treatment, but it just adds to the overall grit of the whole thing.
  • Duvall - The Last Three Years - It's Duvall, which means it's the Smoking Popes. It's great, duh.
  • The Arrivals - Pangea - a wonderfully eerie punk rock song with a ton of emotion being poured into it. One of the biggest gems on the comp.
  • Plain White T's - Bruises - I'm really not a fan of this band at all, but this song's stirring social commentary about spousal abuse really won me over to their side. The singer's voice sounds scarily similar to Mike Park on this track, too, although maybe that's just me.
  • Robert Nanna - Lost My Lights - Wow. Hauntingly beautiful. Bob's delicate strumming coupled with a sparse drum machine brings the compilation to a close, and there isn't a better song in this bunch that could do a more admirable job at retiring the CD. This track [and the other acoustic track contributed by Tom Daily] really capture the whole idea of this live recording process, as you can actually hear trucks driving by in the background. Very cool.

    I only chose to highlight a handful of these songs, but to be honest, there's not a dud in the bunch. It's amazing how, even though all 19 bands could record with generally the same equipment in the same setting, the songs can all still come out sounding drastically different, production-wise. It just adds more character to the band and to the compilation, and makes it even more of a winner.

    Really, everything is covered here, from the noise rock of Haymarket Riot and Detachment Kit, to the female-fronted bands like the Reputation and the Dishes, to the almost over-the-top artsiness of groups like the Owls and Check Engine. This CD is more than just a snapshot of a scene; it's something much more permanant. In the canon of indie rock, OIL has earned a place among the "essentials" of the scene.

    Alkaline Trio - Old School Reasons [clip]
    The Arrivals - Pangea [clip]
    The Dishes - Use Your Arms [clip]

    Look at pictures from the OIL sessions here.

    Read journal entries from the OIL sessions here.


    People who liked this also liked:
    Underoath - Define the Great LineThis Is Hell - Weight of the WorldBrand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside MeThe Draft - In a Million PiecesThe Blood Brothers - Burn Piano Island, BurnThe Stickup - Please, DiseaseTim Fite - Gone Ain't GoneMoros Eros - I Saw the Devil Last Night and Now the Sun Shines BrightThe City On Film - In Formal IntroductionAlkaline Trio - Remains [CD/DVD]

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    Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
    Anonymous (December 6, 2005)

    It's got some good stuff in there, but these are the bands that for the most part have made it. Thats not what Punk is about. I want to see the bands that still play the empty bottle or at Mutiny- THATS PUNK ROCK!

    Anonymous (May 30, 2003)

    Thats very funny. Like a fly marrying a bummble bee. The Little creatures of nature. They dont know there ungly!

    Anonymous (May 19, 2003)


    some of the bands are worthy of mention (i'll let you figure it out), however, this disk does NOT represent chicago well. most of these bands are comprised of upper-crust trust-fund babies at best.


    sad but true
    same as everywhere else
    you need to really dig to find a gem

    ...or shove this disk up your tight ass
    and in ten years you may have a diamond
    ...oh wait, that's COAL not OIL.
    ...well then, to the cylindrical file with ya!

    Anonymous (February 25, 2003)


    Anonymous (February 17, 2003)

    once again - the Skiba drug rumor is bullshit. and you're an ASSHOLE.

    got proof? put up or shut up fucktard.

    Anonymous (February 17, 2003)

    Skiba cancelled the Alkaline Trio shows not because of a strained voice, it's because he is in drug therapy. Vagrant doesn't want it to get out.

    evildeadalive (February 17, 2003)

    They don't count. They're a given.

    Anonymous (February 17, 2003)

    fuck that... best irish punk? how about the pogues?

    evildeadalive (February 17, 2003)

    Best irish punk band honors would have to go to Blood or Whiskey.

    Anonymous (February 16, 2003)

    Yeah, it's my favorite song on the CD, The Tossers rock, better than any other Irish punk band.


    Anonymous (February 16, 2003)

    what about the tossers song? any good?

    Anonymous (February 16, 2003)

    to the kid talking shit about toronto bands... first of all. simple plan are from quebec... second of all. the toronto area has tons of amazing bands... just because you are looking ot the radio to find good bands from toronto and don't find any doesn't mean they don't exist... i hope you were joking.

    Anonymous (February 16, 2003)

    I listened to a lot of those suburban based punk bands from Chicago, but most of them suck.

    alkalinetrio55 (February 15, 2003)

    matt and dan do it again.......
    May 13......
    Good Mourning

    Anonymous (February 15, 2003)

    Oh, and one more thing...anyone go to the release show last night? Rockin good time...too bad the rumor that the Blue Meanies were gonna play never happened...

    and I was pleasently surprised that Local H rocked as hard as they did...that is all...


    Anonymous (February 15, 2003)

    "who ever the fuck jim is you are a fucken morone and do not appreciate good trio music this song brings out there hardcore style of punk rock and if were near me right now i would fucken beat your ass bad you dont know anything about punk rock music and nothing about the trio so shut your god damn mouth u piece of shit"

    I don't even know how to start a response to this....a "morone?" I don't appriciate good trio music? Hardcore what?

    Man, I was listening to the trio when you were still in short pants (thanks Bob and Dave). The song on this comp is so poppy the music could have been the music to a Homegrown song. Nothing Hardcore about it whatsoever. Do you know what hardcore is? Do you even listen to music? I mean, I shouldn't have to respond to morons (notice it's spelled right...) like you, but it's fun shooting down idiots, so I think I will...

    Now, you really think you could kick my ass? How old are you son? Judging by your spelling and lack of writing more then one run-on sentance, I'd say you're around 14...Or maybe you're in the dumb class in high school....well, I guess you're just too fucking punk for me...Maybe if I misspelled words and threatened to beat peoples asses I'd know a little more about punk...

    Listen...I think it's great the trio's fan base has grown so much...good for them! But, when there are fans like you it makes me wonder...The thing is, I remember when the "magnetic" comp came out and I was at the record store waiting for my copy to hear the "new" trio song. "My Friend Peter" was and still is one of their best...this song is a let down... I think before you respond you should think about what you want to say before you type it...thanks for your time...


    evildeadalive (February 14, 2003)

    1000 good intentions, that is a pretty lame ass excuse. I live in smalltown British Columbia, and have absolutely no problem finding shitloads of punk rock. You just have to go out and find it. Don't blame it on where you're from, especially not when you live in the biggest city in this country. And, you've never heard the Alkaline Trio??

    Anonymous (February 14, 2003)

    Great Chicago bands on this comp. It makes me think, if Logan's Loss was still around, if they would be on this. I was wondering though if you Chicagoans listen to some other local emo-punk, like Lucky Boys Confusion, Fall Out Boy, Spitalfield, Knockout, August Premier, 504plan, Much the Same, Threefold, etc., most of those bands being from the suburbs though, and most have not played for very long as well.

    1000_good_intentions (February 14, 2003)

    Rise Against is the only band that I have ever heard on this comp. I have heard of about half the bands, but being from Toronto suburbs with a slow computer doesn't provide me with much opportunity to find songs or good CDs at record stores.

    Just for the record, that Toronto: we produce really shitty punk like Simple Plan and Sum 41.

    preacher (February 13, 2003)

    OK, I'm liking the Alk3 song better and better for every time I listen to it. But I hope the album's gonna be better than this.

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    generic pop/emo/punk crap?? are you a fucking moron or just plain retarded? or both??

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    No it's not you fucking tool.

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    "When I think Chicago punk I think Big Black or Naked Raygun."

    i guess you missed the memo: both of those bands broke up over 10 years ago."

    seems to me punk kinda fizzled out by then anyway. this comp and the stuff out of chicago are just the same as most other places. it is generic pop/emo/punk crap.

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    This is kind of random, but, am I the only person who thinks that Edward Norton looks a hell of a lot like Joe Strummer?

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    "Pretty much shows how most of these bands can't pull off their shit "live".

    Waste of raw materials.. Keep your eye on the cut-out bin."

    Yeah, because most of the people want to buy this. Have you even heard this record? Eat shit.

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    INTERPUNK is selling the comp for $5.75 or try the Thick Records website.

    to the guy who said Skiba's voice is fucked due to drugs - YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE.

    fallingtopieces (February 13, 2003)

    Uhhh The Alkaline Trio song was recorded like back in sept/oct, he didnt start complaining about his voice til mid december or so. I dunno, i dig the way he sung the song, it fits.

    As far as a discussion for other bands that should'v been on the comp I'd say Prosperity Wallet. Those guys rock. I agree that Honor System should've hit this shit up too.

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    What? No Deminer song? Crime!!!!

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    Pretty much shows how most of these bands can't pull off their shit "live".

    Waste of raw materials.. Keep your eye on the cut-out bin.

    turdcorn (February 13, 2003)

    Sooooo many good bands came / come from Chicago. One of my personal favs in Pegboy. Awsome shit. Strong Reaction is the shizzy. The new Arrivals has a bit of that sound in it.

    Anonymous (February 13, 2003)

    matt skiba's voice problem=cocaine use!

    SOYBOMB (February 12, 2003)

    In other news... Can someone review the T.A.T.U album?

    all the things she said, all the things she said.............


    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    How much is this comp? Would i be able to find it at an independent record store, do you think?

    waste_elite (February 12, 2003)

    "not exactly the future of chicago"

    chicago would be better off if they were

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    big black = Shellac
    naked raygun = The Bomb
    not exactly the future of chicago.

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    Skibas voice problems caused the band to cancel their tour. Sounds like he was straining pretty hard on OIL

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    damn some people are hard to please. who are the Matics? that song is pretty cool.

    waste_elite (February 12, 2003)

    "this song brings out there hardcore style of punk rock"


    waste_elite (February 12, 2003)

    what's the deal with Matt's voice on the A3 song? sounds like he had a cold or something, i doubt that's just due to lack of production. dan sounds pretty much the same.

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    who ever the fuck jim is you are a fucken morone and do not appreciate good trio music this song brings out there hardcore style of punk rock and if were near me right now i would fucken beat your ass bad you dont know anything about punk rock music and nothing about the trio so shut your god damn mouth u piece of shit

    waste_elite (February 12, 2003)

    "When I think Chicago punk I think Big Black or Naked Raygun."

    i guess you missed the memo: both of those bands broke up over 10 years ago.

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    Overrated by whom? I think it has more quality band and less bullshit than a lot of places. Besides that the mainstream never talks about it because there have been only a handful of mainstream bands out of Chicago in the last 10 years. Smashing Pumpkins and a few others, that's about it. Atleast this comp doesn't have any generic emo or poppunk bands on it.

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    i still think chicago has such an overrated music scene. maybe i should get my head checked, but there's not a single band i like on this compilation. i don't get it.

    - BITTER

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    When I think Chicago punk I think Big Black or Naked Raygun.

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    Local H sucks. They tried to be famous (didn't work) then got kicked off their major label. They went on hiatus for a while, played shitty local bars, lost a majority of thier fan base, now they're back on a major label trying to be rockstars again. Pretty stupid if you ask me.

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    But what about Local H, aka, the sickness? Alt rock represent!

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    Yeah, The Honor System should have been on this bad boy.

    TheBouncingSoul (February 12, 2003)

    yeah, i dont like that plain white t's song, it sounds like american hi fi

    pope_schlomo (February 12, 2003)

    According to the review, the producer felt so bad of Plain White Wifebeaters, oh my bad I mean Ts, that they tweaked the vocals so the dude can sound asian.


    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    best song on the cd is the Owls, followed by The Arrivals

    where is Collosal?
    where is The Honor System?
    where is Mike Felumlee?

    What agreat city we live in


    preacher (February 12, 2003)

    Matt sounds like Tim Armstrong-light.

    evildeadalive (February 12, 2003)

    Hmmm... all I've been able to download so far is the A3 track. Not sure what I think yet. I like the music, and like Dan's voice, butt Matt sounds wrong. I don't really like how he sounds whatever it is. Well that's my two cents...

    Anonymous (February 12, 2003)

    The Detachment Kit song on here owns over all...

    The alkaline trio song is a shit sandwich and might be the worst song they've ever written...

    worse then Dead End Road...it's that bad...

    the Ghost rock it on here, as do the Reputation...


    turdcorn (February 11, 2003)

    Sickville Represent!!! In the Hizzy!

    evildeadalive (February 11, 2003)

    i think people describing bands they like as 'sick', also deserve face kicks.

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    the rise against song is AMAZING

    waste_elite (February 11, 2003)

    anyone else that says "[insert city here] Represent!" gets a kick in the face.

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    I love the alkaline Trio song. reminds me of their earlier records with that raw feel. I hadn't heard The Dishes or Tom Daily before but gawd damn those songs are good. other stand outs - The Arrivals, Duvall, The Ghost, the Matics. fuck it I like the whole thing.

    TheBouncingSoul (February 11, 2003)

    damnit....i wanna hear the bob nanna song so bad

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    HAHA. The last comment was great.

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    this is totally unrelated but i hope that nickelback and saliva do another collaboration song for the Dare Devil soundtrack

    - fallingtopieces (at school)

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    I've had this album for three weeks now, and although it has grown on me a bit, I still feel it was a big dissapointment. The bands weren't up to standard. I've heard much better from all of them.

    preacher (February 11, 2003)

    Probably the worst Alkaline Trio song ever. Not that that says much, all their songs fucking rule so the standard is pretty high. But still, didn't do much for me.

    travis (February 11, 2003)

    i cant wait to hear the duvall and bob nanna songs. mine should arrive within the next couple of days

    moldy (February 11, 2003)

    i thought this was a great comp. and of course it was going to sound good they had lance do it, he is a master of the boards. i thought the vocals on the trio song had a danzig feel to them

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    The Broadways and The Lawrence Arms are TIED in my estimation. They're both so sick. I can't wait to pick this up.

    pope_schlomo (February 11, 2003)

    Ok I got this Cd for 8 bucks since last week, so I think I got ripped off. Anyway, here's the standout tracks.

    Rise Against, Alkaline Trio (sort of), Duvall, The Ghost, Arrivals, Detachment Kit, Tossers, Bob Nanna.

    (Sorry Larry Arms song didn't do nothing for me)

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    You're all dead wrong.
    The best song on this comp is the one by the Ghost.

    turdcorn (February 11, 2003)

    Why is everyone always jockin' Lawrence Arms? They're good and all, but damn. The Broadways were better.

    maverick (February 11, 2003)

    To address many of the questions posed already:
    I hate the Owls. Nyah.
    The Lawrence Arms song is good, but the songs I mentioned I like more.
    Dillinger Four is from Minneapolis, not Chicago.

    S'alright? S'alright.


    fallingtopieces (February 11, 2003)

    i didnt really like the larry arms track that much . . . seemed to be lacking something

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    The Owls song is easily the best track on the comp.

    SOYBOMB (February 11, 2003)

    For shame Scott,

    You failed to Mention the Lawrence Arms track.


    sloppyblake (February 11, 2003)

    the lawrence arms song owns the album. and tom daily's stuff rules too. his cover of jawbreaker's jet black blows me away.

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    the reputation played the song on that comp at their show at the metro on friday and it kicked ass.

    CallingLondon (February 11, 2003)

    no Dillinger Four? they are from Chicago, right?

    Anonymous (February 11, 2003)

    I'm getting this tomarrow. How is the Lawrence Arms song?

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