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Various - Wrecktrospective (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: WrecktrospectiveWrecktrospective (2009)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
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Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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Against Me!'s Searching for a Former Clarity. Propagandhi's Less Talk, More Rock. Lagwagon's Let's Talk About Feelings. Face to Face's Don't Turn Away. Like a gajillion NOFX releases. What these albums all have in common -- in addition to being awesome -- is their publisher, Fat Wreck Chords. It's a.


Against Me!'s Searching for a Former Clarity. Propagandhi's Less Talk, More Rock. Lagwagon's Let's Talk About Feelings. Face to Face's Don't Turn Away. Like a gajillion NOFX releases. What these albums all have in common -- in addition to being awesome -- is their publisher, Fat Wreck Chords. It's almost ridiculous how many high-quality albums the label has dropped given their business model: No written contracts, one album at a time, leave whenever it works for you. It's an artist's ideal setup, but it shouldn't be good for the company -- where's the cutthroat cash grab? Yet Fat Wreck has endured, possibly through luck, probably because their "music first" approach is appealing to bands and definitely because of the hard work founders Fat Mike and Erin Burkett, along with their staffers, put into it. So it's fitting that the label is celebrating its 20 years of punk rock with the triple-disc set Wrecktrospective.

Long in the making, it features "fattest hits," demos and, for the first time on CD, the entire Fat seven-inch club. That's 88 songs for $15. The package has a "something for everyone" appeal. Depending on your perspective, the greatest hits disc is either the best crash course in punk for whippersnappers since the demise of the Punk-O-Rama series, or a shit-starter. It's 33 tracks long, yet it doesn't seem to cover the label's entire history. Where's Smoke or Fire, the Soviettes, or the Loved Ones? Sure, they show up on the demos disc, but c'mon! Teenage Bottlerocket and Banner Pilot are ignored completely. And if we're being honest, shouldn't NOFX's "The Decline" be on here? Yet the CD hits so many big numbers -- Lagwagon's "Violins," Less Than Jake's "Gainseville Rock City," Me First and the Gimme Gimmes' "Leaving on a Jet Plane" -- that it's hard to knock it altogether. Besides, the quality of the demos is strong enough to make the second CD feel like an extended best of. These first two CDs will provide a valuable education for younger siblings.

The already converted get something too. The third CD gives longtime fans cuts from the likes of Strike Anywhere, MxPx and of course NOFX. They get cuts from lesser-known Fat bands too like Tilt, Snuff and Bracket. Better yet is the packaging. The set comes with a poster featuring just about every Fat release ever. The liner notes are dense -- the back of the poster features bands' memories of the label, some good, some not so good. Fat Mike even wrote a short history of the label, and he's surprisingly frank about Fat's ups and downs. He defines the label's best years as being 1996-2006, and is upfront about how much the record industry's downturn has made it harder for his bands and label to stay self-sufficient. It's a good read, so I'll say it now: If Fat Mike wrote an autobiography, I'd check it out.

Admittedly, hardcore followers might not be able to get that much out of Wrecktrospective. Anti-Flag fans probably own "Turncoat," Lawrence Arms fans probably own "Like a Record Player," etc. But it should fill in people's gaps in punk rock knowledge, collects the seven-inch series and offers some neat essays. It doesn't quite sum up the label's history, but it does justify Fat Wreck's existence.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Banner Pilot - CollapserThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsPropagandhi - Supporting CasteThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]NOFX - Cokie the ClownThe Clash - London CallingOperation Ivy - Operation IvyAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge Therapy

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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.
trolley (January 6, 2010)

Needs some Guns 'n' Wankers. That was an amazing release.

skeptic667 (January 5, 2010)

The Tilt contribution to the comp is a lot better than the Against Me on the comp. That's not saying anything about their overall careers, but on here, Tilt rules.

Disc 2 is the best, Disc 3 is worst ?? digital rarity doesn't make something good. On Disc 2, don't miss The Loved Ones' track - it's my favorite on the whole thing.

Misanthropee (December 22, 2009)

Yeesh, settle down. I was mostly ragging on my own oldness, but it's also valid to see those two as more-quintessential Fat bands than signees over the last decade. In comparison to them and to others like Lagwagon and Strung Out that built and defined the label, Against Me, American Steel etc. look strangely out of place to me. Not that diversifying is bad -- I never was a big fan of Californian skate punk -- but when I see that Fat logo on the street the last bands that come to mind are most of those on their current roster.

Misanthropee (December 22, 2009)

Yeesh, settle down. I was mostly ragging on my own oldness, but it's also valid to see those two as more-quintessential Fat bands than those recent signees. In comparison to them and to others like Lagwagon and Strung Out that built and defined the label, Against Me, American Steel, etc. look strangely out of place to me. Not that diversifying is bad -- I never was a big fan of Californian skate punk -- but when I see that Fat logo on the street the last bands that come to mind are most of those on their current roster.

Jelone (December 20, 2009)

Question: Does anyone really think Tilt is a better known band than, say, Against Me!? Would you say the kids listen to them more frequently than Dillinger Four? This has nothing to do with quality of music, only awareness of its existence. I'm talking numbers. For example, Tilt has generated 701,177 plays from 72,851 listeners on last.fm (at this moment). AM!, meanwhile, has generated 15,307,520 plays from 274,712 listeners. I feel that plays like that are indicative of a greater awareness/fanbase. That doesn't take anything away from Tilt. They're obviously relevant to Fat's story, hence their inclusion on this comp.

And anyway, we're talking about underground music, right? Get stoked on being an individual or whatever and then go spraypaint "Gentrifuckers" on a grocery store before freeganing their dumpster.

hayman (December 20, 2009)

I would tend to call Tilt and Snuff underrated rather than lesser known. This is a must for all the kids and it's great to have these songs in one place.

wyzo (December 20, 2009)

If you really think there are no written contracts your drinking the fat kool aid.

Anyone else remember the fat mike interview about the dance hall crashers advance they demanded he 'humbly' granted?

How many lawsuits do you think we'd know about if they had no contracts?

And incidentally, contracts don't have to be written to be contracts, they have legally enforceable contracts, and they likely have written components, they are a business, someone is keeping track whether its on one single formal document or not. They have accountants and lawyers.

I just don't like teddy bear visions of the punk rock world.

Lmnndtlgrph (December 20, 2009)

i would have liked to have seen something more interesting so far as artwork goes.

Kickaha (December 18, 2009)

I dig it. The Fattest Hits disc reminds me of all the cool comps they've released over the years ( Fat Music For Fat Peolpe, Physical Phatness, etc.). I have a lot of the albums with these songs on them, but listening to them like this is a nice walk down memory lane.
The Demo disk is surprisingly high quality. All the demos sound really good and they are fun to compare with the final versions that ended up on the actual albums.
I own the Fat Club 7 inches already, but I still think it's cool to have them here on CD for the first time.
I'm a Fat Wreck Chords fan so no surprise that I'm liking this.

fox82 (December 18, 2009)

I think it would have been more interesting if they took a track from every single release of theirs, then an extra CD of rare/unreleased shit and a booklet of notes and ppi. So basically they should have tried to copy the Dischord box set, which is the definitive way of doing a label retrospective.

suburbanshack (December 18, 2009)

fat wreck is the best ever label. i already own most these songs but i'm gonna get it anyway for the book 'n shit

crackpotdemagogue (December 18, 2009)

Fat Wreck Chords mentioned the video I made my girlfriend for our anniversary on their website the other day.

I loved the video man. The scenery is amazing! Where did you film it? The girl you've got playing acoustic is a star!

Also, I can't believe that this 'wrecktrospective' includes 3 Enemy You songs and only 2 Propagandhi!! I mean, I love Enemy You as much as the next guy but come on! Some seriously terrible choices for an album of supposed 'greatest hits'...

timorous_me (December 18, 2009)

Fat Wreck Chords mentioned the video I made my girlfriend for our anniversary on their website the other day.

http://www.fatwreck.com/news/

They called it "weird" but I don't care. I love this label so much that I'm just honored that someone that works there saw it.

Count me in also as someone who got the Fat comps in high school, bought the cds of bands that i liked, and then followed the "thank yous".

I picked up a bunch of these from Zia to give out to people for Christmas.

ashtraymonument (December 18, 2009)

can i just say that snuff is horrifically underrated

go snuff!

chadreligion (December 18, 2009)

I could have sworn reading about this a while ago that it was supposed to include a disc compiled of nothing but live material. Anyway, after getting all of the FAT CLUB 7 inches, I had to pass on this.
Nice try with FAT though...

KurtTGS (December 18, 2009)

Yes! I did the "buy a compilation, buy an album from the bands I liked the most, buy albums from bands mentioned in the 'thank yous'" routine too. Those were the days. It alllllllllllllll started with me borrowing my sister's Fat Wreck comp's (Vol 1 and 4) and Dude Ranch. Fast forward to now.

preston (December 18, 2009)

I lived on Fat Wreck comps in high school. I started with those comps, bought the albums of the artists, read the 'Thank You' section, bought those artists. It was like Pandora before Pandora.

half_head (December 18, 2009)

i dont own this yet because im hoping santa brings it by for the holidays. this is my favorite label. they find awesome bands that peak when they get on fat. i dont know if i would expect TBR and banner pilot on the album. sure both bands put out great cds, but their releases are relatively new so maybe that's why they are left out. obviously the decline is the best song ever written, but you can't expect an 18 minutes song to put on a comp!

paulrulzdood (December 18, 2009)

my favorite label ever. i'm gonna get this for the liner notes alone. i'm sure i own most of the tracks but who gives a shit? i've been following this label closely ever since I picked up Survival of the Fattest at Warped Tour '97 for $1. that $1 introduced me to some of my favorite bands that I still love over a decade later.

Paul

Make_Way (December 18, 2009)

Sure there's gonna be some head-scratching omissions, but Fat has had quite the rich history of bands, so the stuff that did make it to the compilation will result in a accurate portrayal of what this label has had to offer over the course of its lifespan.

I own this, but have yet to listen to it. I already know it's gonna be great though.

Misanthropee (December 18, 2009)

If Tilt and Snuff are now considered "lesser-known Fat bands," I might need to retire from punk.

TahoeJeff (December 18, 2009)

I haven't picked this up yet, but I'm going to. I already own most of the songs on disc 1. Disc 2 might be cool, but I rarely find myself coming back to discs full of demos for repeated listens. The main appeal for me is that 3rd disc, which compiles all the tracks from Fat's 7" of the month club!

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