Various Artists: Life of Monotony: Six Bands from Minneapolis

Various Artists
Life of Monotony: Six Bands from Minneapolis
c/o Tim Lunning P.O. Box 6371
Minneapolis, MN 55406

In the spirit of this punk tape, I'm going to write this review in a half-hour, no rewrites. First of all, I needed this. Twenty-two years after I bought my first hardcore album on cassette—Juvenile Truth's debut, No Enemy—I needed to pick up something this good in a format this anti-commercial. You know stuff like this exists with the emotional qualities punk thrives on—passion, urgency, and fun—but I wanted it now, and from someplace nearby, and with screams you can't buy in the Halloween section at Menard's. The howls here are astounding. Of the six bands, five have vocalists (the instrumental Mojo Spleens smear their surf guitar into gorgeous noise) and two are female. "Laura" of Baby Guts has an alarm-ring voice that could wake a dead mother and cancel classes. The lyrics are inscrutable, but you know she's unhappy about something (unless "I am the sick white rat" is a good thing.) "Tina" of Daisy's Compact Mice has a Riot Grrrl soul thing going on, but sounds wee enough to be Kathleen Hanna's daughter—you believe her when she quavers, "I'm so young and you're so old/And if I had the chance I'd swallow you whole."

The boy-shouts are less striking, if only because they're closer to guitar pitch, but both the Agenda and Friendly are good with riffs. Ganglion's "Jim" (of the band Ass) leaps out from the sludge with a black-metal growl that's always part shriek: His words might be a little haunted-house—"Into the blackened heart of dreams," etc.—but you never doubt for a second that some part of him is genuinely tortured. Go buy a cassette player.

 
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