VARIOUS ARTISTS - In Defence Of Rock

Various Artists - In Defence Of Rock

20 songs
74:00 minutes
Winged Skull


Tales From The Winged Skull was already a nice introduction to Winged Skull, the local punk scene and good international punk music in general, but it was obvious that the second compilation was supposed to become something even bigger. It starts already with the cover artwork which is less cartoonish than in the past, also there is as good as no info material coming with the CD, to assure a vending price as low as possible: 4 Euro / 4 $. Furthermore this CD sold already about 400 copies on its first day of release, quite a feat for a product coming from Luxembourg (although the high number can be explained by the fact that you got the CD for free with the entrance ticket for the release concert).

Apart from Killtime from Italy (but on Winged Skull Records) and Mike Park, founder of Asian Man Records, there are this time only local bands, which is just as well as it gives a nice outlook for what we can expect in Luxembourg in the future. Starting alphabetically, the first band are the Broken Stars, an all-star band with members from LMS, Rise Up and Timesickness (all three of them also featured on the album). This is straightforward street punkrock. Good stuff as you would expect with the people involved, although nothing groundbreaking. Couchgrass offer a cut from their CD, complete with cello and violin. They are one of the few bands with non-exclusive material. Disciplez Of Zypher, risen from the ashes of Hot Buddha, combine aggressive hardcore with modern metal in a very interesting way. Disliked are punk youngsters (their drummer apparently only 14 years old), and their melodic punk is not yet that mature, but already very promising. Extinct also offer a cut from their album, fast street punk with vocals that could be more powerful. Holy National Victims surprise by turning their backs to their trademark retro sound and playing a powerful noisy alternative rock tune, one of the highlights of the CD. Now we just need their first regular album. Killtime come again with a song from their last album: cloning Ramones, entertaining, if not that great though. Kitshickers, like on the previous Winged Skull compilation, take nearly 8 minutes to get their song played, having become more experimental than ever. Very interesting, it takes more than one listening session to get into it, but probably great for doing organic drugs. Kunn & The Magic Muffins, the 10 people ska big band, appeared already on a split-album with the Slackers, Toxkäpp and P.O. Box, and people seem to like them, ska being quite popular in Luxembourg at the moment. Their sound is of course very varied, with so many people involved, but I guess they can work up some more power in their music in the future. Last Millennium Suckers offer another death punk tune, west-coast guitar harmonies clashing with Jenny's deep vocals. Mike Park from the USA used to play ska, but the song taken from his solo album is heading in a singer-songwriter direction. Myein play their popular kind of retro alternative rock with post-grunge elements. Orange Squad come with a new song which is less stoner and much more rocking and danceable than anything they did in the past. Stevie's vocals may be controversial, but I really like his hoarse offerings. Poshblokes deliver one of the songs of their last album, in the meantime we wait for them to finally settle on a new name. Raftside is another highlight on this album. Having seen him solo on acoustic guitar once, I was rather bored, but with his band (ok he's playing all the instruments himself) it's going much deeper. Rooted in Americana, singer-songwriter and depressive indie rock, he plays a very moving tune. Even the drums are played by Raftside and not some dumb drum-computer. Regular musicians could have made it sound more professional, but this way you get a really intimate recording. Rise Up are in my opinion the local punk upstarts, with the vocalist from the Rejects finally having found the right people to play his fast but always hyper-melodic street punk. Perfect stuff! Surf Me Up Scotty come with a remix, and I was surprised that our local surf queens and kings are still among us. Timesickness did a reunion not so long ago and convince with powerful and melodic street punk. Torpid have become even more abrasive than in the past, their noise rock is hard to digest, but full of hidden qualities. Finally you get a new piece from Luxembourg's ska kings Toxkäpp, a treat for all those who like ska.

I won't give a maximum rating like last time, although this album is even more interesting, more varied and a true beacon for the state of the local punk, rock and noise scene(s). Of course there are more bands around than you can hear on this already very expansive compilation, but from a Winged Skull point of view (about a third of the bands are "signed" to Winged Skull Records), you couldn't have expected anything even bigger. And with such a low sales price, this is a must-buy for everyone interested in what's going on here at the moment. If the guys from the Schalltot collective would release now a compilation from their noisier and more emotional point of view, we would have achieved the yin and yan of what punk rock etc. is standing for in its entirety.

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