Various Artists – Love & Rebellion

Various Artists
Love & Rebellion

Thick Records is home to a wide variety of Chicago-area bands, most of which can be loosely categorized as “punk.” Love & Rebellion is a 21-track compilation that showcases a variety of bands on the label. Thankfully, the disc is not one long blast of guitar noise, and instead jumps confidently between punk, ska, indie rock, and even space pop. While some of the bands on this disc (Blue Meanies, Haymarket Riot) are familiar to anyone who’s killed time flipping aimlessly through record store bins during the past decade, others (Bitchy, Vortis) are relatively new up-and-comers.
The compilation opens with some straight-ahead, traditional punk (if punk can ever be described as “traditional”!) courtesy of Bitchy, The Arrivals, and The Gadjits. As expected, all three are loud, rude, and raw. Before tedium can rear its ugly head, however, the sounds become more varied. The Tossers provide their take on Celtic-punk, and while you couldn’t fault anyone for thinking “Dancin’ Shoes” was a Shane McGowan leftover, the song is well worthy of inclusion. Calliope slows things down with “Detroit Girl,” a quirky track that starts somewhat conventionally before building with layers of melody and turntable trickery reminiscent of “Loser”-era Beck. Indie-rocker Tom Daily contributes “World of Yawns,” an infectious road-trip song that provides additional contrast to all that punk angst.
Love & Rebellion works as intended: it is a great introduction to a variety of bands. Many of the artists appear more than once, which gives new listeners a chance to pass personal judgment based on more than a single song. The best part about this compilation, however, is that it makes for a great listen on its own. Highly recommended.