Various Artists – Oil: A Thick Records Compilation

Various Artists
Oil: A Thick Records Compilation

The Oil compilation released by Thick Records is a snapshot of a classic midwest punk scene going full throttle. It’s about members of a scene cohabiting and conspiring to make sure their moment in the sun is documented. The true spirit of this comp is captured by a great line from the song “Uncool Is What You Make It,” by Tom Daily: “These are the words that we will put out on display, and this is the place where we will end another day.”
The Chicago flavor on this disc is strong, too. All of these bands, and Thick Records itself, are based out of the Windy City, and the songs are drenched with references to the city where they were birthed.
While the lyrics feature ties to Chicago, most of the songs simply favor that great Midwest indie-rock sound. (I’m a relocated Midwesterner, so I know whereof I speak.) This sound has never really achieved much mainstream popularity, but that doesn’t diminish it’s contributions to the world of college and indie rock. Bands like The MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, The Replacements, Big Black, Violent Femmes, Urge Overkill, The Jayhawks, The Afghan Whigs, and Husker Du helped to form a stiff backbone for the midwest music scene that eventually allowed it to be recognized for its talent and work ethic.
That talent and work ethic is on full display with the bands that participated in this project. There are many, many great songs turned in by great bands: Alkaline Trio, Local H, The Tossers, Owls, Haymarket Riot, The Matics, The Arrivals, Rise Against, Tom Daily, Duvall, The Dishes, Lawrence Arms, The Ghost, Detachment Kit, The Reputation, Plain White T’s, Bitchy, Check Engine, and Robert Nanna (of Braid/Hey Mercedes).
It’s fantastic to see bands from Chicago working together to spread the word about all the great music happening in that city. If you love Chicago and/or the Midwest music scene, you will not be disappointed by this comp.