Best Reissues/Comps. of 2012

Buzzov*en – Revelation: Sick Again – (HydraHead)
When they were around, these North Carolina freaks were the band at the far end of sludgy, heavy, underground metal. New Orleans’ Eyehategod were more visible and hyped as the South’s heaviest, but for me, Buzzov*en was the real deal. Grim, fucked up and plagued by an existence as extreme as the low-end punch of their music, this band existed (tenuously) in a league of its own. Here’s an official reissue of their swansong LP in all its glory, complete with tons of movie sample lead ins and unrelenting, time-perfected heavosity.

Chalk Circle
Reflection – (Mississippi/Post Present Medium)
Deep from the depths of the early ’80s DC punk scene comes this postpunk shock that’s forceful, amazing and way ahead of its time. Kudos to Mississippi and PPM for compiling these tracks and bringing Chalk Circle to light. The recording quality and playing varies a lot, but the spirit of their scrappy, earnest sound can’t be dampened.

Cheap Beer
– Various Artists – (Replay Records)
It’s easy to bag on local scene compilations since they generally end up being about 80% crap. And I can name a handful of Lawrence/KC comps that fit that exact description. With that said, you can really appreciate the exceptional quality of this LP put out from the punkrock tastemakers at the Replay Lounge. If you question the state of Kansas punk in the year 2011, just check out some of the killer tracks captured here from bands like The Mouthbreathers, Spook Lights, Fag Cop, Nature Boys, Dark Ages, Up The Academy, Muscle Worship, Jabberjosh, This Is My Condition and more.

Give Them Rope – (Relapse)
When this monster was originally released in 1997, I’d pretty much chalked up Coalesce as some sort of nu metal band. A colossally stupid assessment, for sure, almost as colossal as the mighty riffs found on this, their much-touted debut LP. And while I still prefer some of their later releases, it’s great to get the definitive package that includes the controversial remixed version (read more about that here) along with the original version that redefined heavy.

Short, Fast & Loud #24
10″ compilation (Six Weeks)
Although a good percentage of this comp is unmemorable and indistinguishable from leagues of like-minded bands across the globe, the sheer spirit and continued inertia of the SF&L scene is always worth a listen. With a mix of long-running outfits like Brutal Truth and Lack of Interest to some of the more recent heros of speedcore like Extortion and Wasteoid, this blazing 10″ lives up to its namesake, while the zine documents of how this scene has practically become its own genre.

– Carved Into Roses/Infinityland/Singles 3xCD- (VHF)
A massive 3-CD Skullflower reissue collecting the squalling range of mid-1990s releases that transition from freeform noise to chugging hypno-drone. The history of Skullflower is well documented with dozens of CD and LP releases that range from essential to mildly interesting. This collection captures one of the band’s more interesting periods in a completist’s snapshot with some harder-to-find singles on one disc, and 2 of their LPs from this period on the other discs.

– Spits – (Slovenly)
With their fifth eponymous LP out in 2011, it was about time their 2000 debut got reissued. Looking back, it’s amazing how fully developed The Spits sound was straight out of the gate. They were born weird and have remained weird. Classic stuff from a band that’s anything but classic.

Terror Visions
World of Shit – (FDH)
Although this Jay Reatard project was ultimately treated as a footnote along with his other Screamers/synthpunk influenced groups (Nervous Patterns, Angry Angles, etc), Terror Visions did carry some clout as evidenced by this reissue, inserting the overamped, way out of control energy of The Reatards into the synthpunk realm. I never saw Lost Sounds as a new wave band, despite the tag always being thrown at them, but compared to Terror Visions they were.

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