Monday, March 28, 2011

Various - 'New York Rules'

With vinyl sales on the rise, it looks like cassettes are the new “difficult/retro/obscure format” of choice for music. Cassettes have a much short lifespan (10-30 years, compared to compact discs which are estimated to last up to 200 years. Vinyl can last for decades if you clean it properly). In the case of Burn Books’ New York Rules mix tape, audio degradation might be a strength, as the compilation showcases eight skuzzy, fuzzy, proto-punk acts. More tape hiss means more noise to dive in.

Pregnant opens the comp with “Tootache” and “Help!”, two cuts from their mighty fine self-titled full-length debut from last year. Both songs are in the Stooges vein – loud, brief and fun. Aside from Night Birds, Pregnant is arguably the poppiest act on the tape, relatively speaking, Nomos and Hank Wood & the Hammerheads take things in a much more brutal, lo-fi hardcore direction. Night Birds inject a little bit of Fat Wreck-style pop-punk with their tunes, and they even bump up the production a couple of notches. Nude Beach closes out side A with a nifty, quasi-psychedelic cover of Alex Chilton’s “Hey Little Child.”

The B side’s winner is clearly the Men, who do an amazing cover of Devo’s “Gates of Steel.” That’s one of the best Devo tunes and they rock it out nicely. Byrds of Paradise makes a good showing with garage rock numbers “Members” and “Home and Garden,” though. Dawn of Humans closes out the tape. Taken as a whole, New York Rules is a solid introduction to a lot of up-and-coming bands, and even throws in some nice rarities. Now get to work on an eight-track.

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