Various Artists: Noise Kills Punks Dead

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By Patrick Schabe

I’m gonna go ahead and say straight up that I’m giving this album a dead center 5.0 because it’s one of those discs that requires a totally subjective judgement call. If you like noise compositions, this might be a great album. If you like music, you’ll hate this. For my own tastes, this thing barely rates a 1.0.

Noise Kills Punks Dead is the kind of compilation that seems like it was created specifically to compete with www.hampsterdance.com (you know, the one in that Earthlink commercial that has the tag line “A new way to annoy your co-workers,” or something like that). Of course, the Hampster Dance is a lot more entertaining. This might be a good way to get yourself fired.

But like I said, this is all entirely subjective. I’ve known a few people who really enjoy the creative use of feedback and dissonance to create pieces of noise. The disc itself is an incredible 67 songs by 59 “bands,” but thankfully it’s only a little over an hour long. Most of the pieces on this album are short snippets of ambient noise, such as Urban Jungle Series’ “Chickens,” which is just the clucking noises of, you guessed it, chickens. When I was a kid and vinyl was still holding out as a format, there were some great sound effects albums that had stuff that might fit on this disc, but the majority of it is grating, ear-bleeding clamor. And intentionally so. This is the end of rock.

The only real pleasure I found in this disc were the list of “band” names that would make Jello Biafra proud. My personal favorites are Fallopian Tube Steaks w/ Beer, Inkpot Monkey, Ultra Psycho Toast, Arthur Loves Plastic, All Mouth No Trousers, Ethiopian Hunger Strike, and Rhythm Boobs. And then there are the songs. With titles like “Romance Guerilla,” “Cute-Cuddly-Smooshes Things FLAT,” and my personal favorite, “Paul Schaffer Auto Erotic Vacuum Cleaner Exit Wound,” how can you go wrong?

There were a few songs on the disc that stood out, if only for their listenable qualities compared to the other tracks. These include Arthur Loves Plastic’s “Words To Live By,” Platzangst’s “And Live I Will,” and I-45’s Texas rap “candaygitfunkee.” By no means, however, should you take this as an endorsement to run out and grab this disc. Unless you really, really, really like the post-industrial soundscapes produced by iconoclastic kids sitting around with samplers, computers, and a microphone held up to a monitor, your best bet is to leave it alone.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/various-noisekillspunksdead/