Various Artists – Another Year on the Streets

Various Artists
Another Year on the Streets

Vagrant Records has come a long way in the just over a year or so that they’ve been in existence. Starting with just The Get Up Kids, pretty much, and the Kids’ label Heroes & Villains, Vagrant seems to be set on signing all the punk/emo bands that are anyone today. That means you’re going to get a lot of stuff, some good, some mediocre. This sampler highlights mostly the good, thankfully!
Alkaline Trio contribute two previously unreleased tracks here. “Crawl” starts the album with a pretty restrained number for this band, although it really picks up by the end. It’s a good song, even if the slower beginning sounds very emo. “Bloodied Up” really kicks it out, with a fast pace and yet a kind of Smoking Popes effect to the vocal style. Another great track from this band.
Saves the Day also have two unreleased tracks that showcase their typical blend of poppy punk-rock. “Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off to Heaven” is damn infectious and very tight. “A Drag in D Flat” is much less poppy and leans in the Alkaline Trio vein of emotional punk rock.
Rocket From the Crypt’s “Chariots on Fire” uses horns and is surprisingly ska-like. And I’m not one of those people who thinks horns=ska. “This Way Out,” however, is much more intense and manages not to sound like ska even with the horns.
I always thought Face to Face was strictly punk, which is why I’m surprised to see them on Vagrant, but “Nulification” is a pretty good, in-your-face punk-rock song. “Sunny Side of the Street” is a little more poppy than I expected, but it has a fantastic melody and some great guitar, and this is a surprise favorite on this disc.
We don’t really need another version of The Get Up Kids’ “I’m a Loner Dottie, a Rebel,” do we? But they also have “Beer for Breakfast” on here, which is a pretty silly, quick, punk-rock song. Don’t get this album for The Get Up Kids, that’s for sure.
No Motiv’s “Celebrate” is one of the fastest and most rocking tracks here, sort of like a hyped up Get Up Kids, and this is probably my favorite track. “Get a Life” is a little more traditional punk, but it has a lot of energy and some great guitar. This is definitely my new favorite Vagrant band.
Automatic 7’s “Last Train to Hittsville” sounds like it must be a Social Distortion cover, even though it’s not. “Greasy” just sounds like a more intense, angry Social Distortion.
The Anniversary contribute “D in Detroit” from their last album, and it’s a nice cross between Get Up Kids emo-pop and Braid’s unique style of more rocking emo. There’s also the unreleased “I Believe that the End of the Reign of Terror is Soon Near,” which is a lot of fun. The feel of the song is lighter, with more acoustic guitar, and more female and male vocals are used to good effect. It speeds up and then mellows out with a lot of intensity. Did I mention it’s 8 minutes long? I really like this song and hope this is the direction the band is headed.
Koufax and Reggie & The Full Effect both contribute fun little numbers from their most recent albums. The New Amsterdams‘ “Proceed With Caution” is a nicely relaxed, acoustic number. Gotohells also only have one track, and “Rock N’ Roll America” doesn’t really belong here. These guys listened to too much early Aerosmith and Van Halen.
People will snap this compilation up primarily for the number of tracks not on these bands’ albums, but I wonder how many of these songs are merely early releases from these bands forthcoming Vagrant releases. Still, this album showcases a host of emo/punk bands that are clearly the best of the lot out there today. From the fun and poppy stuff ala Saves the Day and The Get Up Kids to the harder and more aggressive stuff ala No Motiv and Face to Face, Vagrant is showing off, and they have a lot to show off.