Various - Hair: Chicago Punk Cuts (Cover Artwork)


Various: Hair: Chicago Punk CutsHair: Chicago Punk Cuts (2006)
Thick Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

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

Many people claim that digital music downloads, both legal and pirating varieties, have killed the celebrated compilation record. Label samplers are generally an item of the past, Punk-O-Rama has jumped ship, and despite their plumpest lineup ever Fat Wreck has not reminded us collectively how overw.
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Many people claim that digital music downloads, both legal and pirating varieties, have killed the celebrated compilation record. Label samplers are generally an item of the past, Punk-O-Rama has jumped ship, and despite their plumpest lineup ever Fat Wreck has not reminded us collectively how overweight they are. Don't even get me started on an all un-released material record either -- I'm almost tempted to start a campaign so that Bush can be elected a third time just so Fat Mike churns out another fantastic Rock Against Bush disc!

So if it's true that the wide spread of music availability over the Internet has destroyed the compilation album, then how can Thick Records pump out two startling assemblages of unreleased music without traveling outside the Chicago, IL region?

Hair: Chicago Punk Cuts is a sequel, if you will, to 2004's Oil: Chicago Punk Refined. The fine folks at Thick have lumped Chi-town's most talented musicians in a room and, presumably through torture methods, forced them to churn out their best work to date. After all, it worked on Oil for Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, and Bob Nanna, as they all wrote their preeminent songs to date.

Who helps make Hair the tour de force it is? In order of appearance: Allister, Much the Same, the Killing Tree, Cougars, Holy Roman Empire, Split Habit, Explode and Make Up, the Methadones, Colossal, Horace Pinker, the Bomb, Ryan's Hope, Break the Silence, and the Felix Culpa.

Allister's "Walking the Plank" is the biggest surprise of the record. Remember when they were a generic pop-punk band and covered the "Fraggle Rock" theme song? This song takes a vital Alkaline Trio influence and mixes it with a bit of classic Green Day in a huge step up for these guys.

Ever get a haircut and have the barber jam the clippers into your head, slicing off part of your ear? "[The Killing Tree] Is Dressed to Fuck" is that brutal and light years ahead of their previous material. The guitars are heavy and will make your ears quiver, while Mcllarth's vocals on the track make his voice in Rise Against seem pubescent. Female vocals from Holy Roman Empire's frontwoman glazing the leisured chorus are a significant layer of the song, adding another element of intensity to an already intricate recording.

Not enough folks care about Cougars, and in the post-Rocket from the Crypt era it is a shame. The horns are the driving force behind "We Blog the Hardest," but it's the way they congeal with the drumming that makes the song so prevailing.

To me, Colossal always been one step away from a truly great song, but everything comes together full strength on "Give Me a Tropical Contact High." The track is soft and the brass parts allow the song to glide as if it were a soft ocean wave greeting the shore. Despite being a mellow track not a single moment is forgettable, partially thanks to the jingly guitar hook.

Punknews Records' most recent signing, Ryan's Hope waste no time in picking up where their debut album, Apocalypse in Increments, left off on "Condemning Race." A swift guitar driven track crashing between metal and punk blended with Terry's throaty vocals and catchy clapping parts highlight why these Joliet boys are straightforwardly one of the most endowed bands in modern punk rock.

Dan Precision played a pivotal role in Chicago's legendary 88 Fingers Louie, as well as aiding in the creation of Rise Against's best album (The Unraveling). His newer audible canvas in Break the Silence shares the intensity of his two former acts, but the comparisons halt quickly. Screaming and melodic vocals braid "Face Down" into two directions, but captivating guitars, specifically the basslines, tie this song into a whole.

Out of the 14 tracks I can only hear one dud in the bunch. Last year I raved over Split Habit's debut as a really fun pop-punk record. Unfortunately, their song "West Palm Sand" does not share that up-beat charisma as it fizzles away unknowingly in the background.

When I go to the barbershop I always sit around and wait for one specific barber. A good barber is one who always delivers a quality haircut and his talents and trust cannot be easily replicated. Thick Records are that barber I would patiently wait for on a Saturday afternoon. Always coming through with the perfect haircut and even going the extra step by shaving the back of your neck with warm shaving cream and touching up your sideburns. An excellent service to the public cannot be matched and Thick acknowledges that by supplying one of the best compilations records in years.


People who liked this also liked:
Seven Storey Mountain - Dividing By ZeroThe Suicide Machines - War Profiteering Is Killing Us AllSet Your Goals - Mutiny!Operation Ivy - Operation IvyA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home AboutAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyLifetime - LifetimeRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteThe Weakerthans - Left and Leaving

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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.
theonetruebill (October 9, 2006)

God help me, I think I actually like the Allister song on this comp. It's so sick and catchy.

Anonymous (October 4, 2006)

I've finally found my new email signature!
"Proving Chicago punk is lame, year after weary year..."

Anonymous (October 4, 2006)

Magnetic Curses was better than oil and hair put together.

Anonymous (October 4, 2006)

The Oil comp was waaaaaaay fucking better. Seriously, is the Chicago scene this stagnant these days?

Anonymous (October 4, 2006)

Thick Records' motto should be "Proving Chicago punk is lame, year after weary year..." At least the fucking Blue Meanies aren't on there.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

I think Kirby goes to a "stylist."

Scruffy (October 3, 2006)

Revolutions Per Minute is the best RA album. The Unravelling is boring and clearly showcases a band not yet mature. RPM will be hailed as a classic years from now. Mark my words.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

what the hell is the guy below talking about. theme? there's no theme. it's a title.

salsashark (October 3, 2006)

Good review as far as the pity for the lack of new compilations goes, but really bad as far as the "hair" gimmick went. The "pizza" theme for the Pizza EP worked, but this one really doesn't.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

man, that horace pinker song is great little number.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

precision didnt play on that song, they added some homo who looks really nu metal, im guessing why this song is strikingly worse than anything they'd ever done, (which is saying a lot)

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

solid solid solid CD. totally worth my $5.98

Scruffy (October 3, 2006)

I don't even go to the barber. I just shave my head, wait six months for it to grow out, and shave it again.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

Colossal releases new track>everything on this compilation.

sickboi (October 3, 2006)

Kirby is full of shit. I know he goes to Great Clips. Don't even try to front...

Score is for the Killing Tree track.

jockmcbored (October 3, 2006)

"When I go to the barbershop I always sit around and wait for one specific barber. A good barber is one who always delivers a quality haircut and his talents and trust cannot be easily replicated"

ya great puff. i bet you wear tight jeans too

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

the killing tree's full length is just biblically satisfying, but their follow up EP is pretty much not even worth listening too. In terms of recording, the EP sounds like a badly mixed demo.

Thick records gives chicago a good name. definately a label that finally placed a decent label in the midwest, and doesn't fuck around with useless compilations.


SloaneDaley (October 3, 2006)

I really enjoyed this review I have to remember to check out The Killing Tree now, I know they have a couple of record.

punkinohio (October 3, 2006)

Omg wheres fall out boi?

gladimnotemo (October 3, 2006)

I like a lot of Chicago bands...too bad this compliation has none of them. Chronic Seizure, Punch in the Face, Repos (more or less), all the Latino punk bands I can't remember (Sin Orden?)....

oh and lawrence arms omgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgomgogmomgom1!!

coldwaffles (October 3, 2006)

precision left that band i think.

dusticles (October 3, 2006)

i just looked this up on interpunk and I had no idea Split Habit was still around

Mute98 (October 3, 2006)

chi-town punk is mostly bad, this comp has a ton of weak bands, much the same, methadones, larry arms, falcon and the copyright are the main great chi-town bands

inagreendase (October 2, 2006)

Oh yeah, and Explode and Make Up pretty much sounds like Strike Anywhere's "You're Fired" here, but goddamn, it's so good.

inagreendase (October 2, 2006)

Come onnn, that Break the Silence song is totally this thing's dud if anything. It's straight nĂ¼-screamo; I'm embarrassed for Precision.

Most everything else on this though is pretty solid. I actually kind of like the Holy Roman Empire song, the Much the Same / Ryan's Hope songs are definitely their standouts and both memorable, and the Killing Tree track obviously rips. Definitely one of this year's better comps.

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