Various - Underground Screams (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Underground Screams (2003)

Asian Man

This is almost just too overwhelming to listen to in one sitting. Mike Park, being the amazingly nice guy that he is, put out a compilation CD of the first 26 songs that unsigned bands sent him that struck his fancy. This compilation really shows the diversity of Park's ear, as you have everything from rocksteady ska to nu-new wave to screamy/dancable hardcore and back again. This plays out as more of a really creative mix CD instead of a money-making release [big surprise, considering Asian Man's only charging 4 bucks for it].

Highlights are really all over the place, but I have to give "best song on the comp" awards to former MP3 of the week band Laydig with "...And The Lights Went Out." It's a devastatingly brutal opening song to this disc. Other bright spots include:

  • Warren Li Young's "Cocaine Ska" reminds me of a more fleshed out Chris Murray, which I like.
  • Las Cabriolas' "At The Seams" is another rocksteady ska song, and it shines.
  • The Aloha-esque sounds [with Morrissey-esque vocals] of Scout You Devil is rather promising, and I want to hear more.
  • James Leste's blatant ripping off of the Smoking Popes with "Sleepless Nights" should make me scold them, but instead I praise them for really capturing that sappy pop punk sound.
  • Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine delivers a really fun emotional punk song in less than two minutes. Good work.
  • Dead Letter Dept. would be the perfect tourmates for Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine. That should tell you what they sound like.
  • Resident Weirdo's "You Crew" sounds like latter-day Dag Nasty [with Dave Smalley singing], but better.

    Like I said before, the beauty of this album lies in it's incredible diversity. Yeah, there's songs I don't like on here, but there's none that I absolutely loathe or anything. Frankly, there's something for everyone, and for 4 bucks, you're bound to find at least one band you'll enjoy. And since [at press time] all 26 bands were unsigned, this is a perfect way to earn some scene points with the "I knew about them *before* they were signed* line.