Here's two V/A compilation CDs of early US punk rock from Dionysus/Bacchus archives. Live From The Masque features well known bands recorded live and Guillotined At The Hangar has obscure bands recorded in studio. Both records are a great addition to your collection for those of you who already have the well known bands studio stuff, but if you haven't there are more important releases available from this and other labels that I think you should start with.

V/A - Live from the Masque CD V/A - Live from the Masque CD (Dionysus/Bacchus archives)
I'm not a 100% sure but this looks like a Best Of the Live From The Masque 1978 CD's that were released in the mid 90's. I bought Vol 1 when it came out, but when the next volumes were released they were only available in a box set that included the one I already got so I gave it a miss. It's the same 2 nights (Feb 24/25 1978 Save The Masque Benefit) at the Elks Lodge in L.A. anyway and the first 5 songs are from Vol 1. Never mind.

WEIRDOS do Teenage. Great song by a great band, but if you wanna hear a really good live recording of them you should find the Message From The Underworld bootleg LP on Out Of Darkness Records. THE BAGS have two songs on this - TV Dinners and Chainsaw - and both are great. Might be an idea to release the entire BAGS show on a separate record 'cause the three additional songs on the Vol 1 is really good stuff too. The version of Let's Pretend with THE GERMS isn't their greatest moment but ok. THE SKULLS (Marc Morbid R.I.P.) do Building Models. In my opinion they picked the wrong SKULLS song from this night. Incomplete Suicide is the superior track. Not that what's here is bad.

Three songs by the under rated EYES. Though my favourite EYES song remains the Kill Your Parents demo this is really good. THE DICKIES do Shake And Bake and what can I say? It's THE DICKIES. F-WORD's two songs Government Official and Hillside Strangler represent the band well.

THE ALLEYCATS had one great single in Nothing Means Nothing Anymore, but the song on this one - One More Chance - isn't very good at all. It's a good thing they only get one track while THE ZEROS get two. The studio version of Cosmetic Couples is better than the live version here but it's still good. They also do Lay Off, She's Mine which is better though the recording completely lacks bass.

THE RANDOMS do their super classic Let's Get Rid of New York as Let's get rid of LA, with improvised insults as lyrics. Brought a smile to my face though the original song would probably have offended more people today. BLACK RANDY AND THE METROSQUAD ends this with Trouble At The Cup and it sounds like it always does, though here it's cut mid-song.

Too bad the CONTROLLERS tapes were ''lost'' (see Controllers Interview). Buy it for the historic value and listen to the BAGS, EYES and RANDOMS songs.

(To all you Japanese readers - if you know anything about the 16mm films from this event done by a Japanese film crew e-mail Brendan Mullen 'cause we all want to see this released!)

V/A - Guillotined at the Hangar CD (Dionysus/Bacchus archives)
This is Volume 2 of Shielded To Death and features original punk bands from Eastern Connecticut and Western Massachusetts 1979 - 1983. Unlike other 'rare original punk' comps this one's got some unreleased stuff on it as well as the hard to get collector scum 7''s.

It's starts off with THE REDUCERS' (yes, the same band) Out Of Step and M-80'S (unreleased) Gone Away. Both are sort of clean sounding but not really bad. M-80'S also have Treebee on this one but it's not very good and too fucking long. Next up are JACK TRAGIC AND THE UNFORTUNATES doing I Kill Hippies. You can't really go wrong if you have a good message. Sounds like a faster BOBBY SOXX or a more aggressive ROTTERS. Maybe not the most catchy stuff you'll ever hear but it's really great. Their second song Dig Up Your Grave starts off as something off THE CHILD MOLESTERS' LP but changes into something more melodic. Play the WEIRDOS' Do The Dance on a keyboard and you've got half of it.

World Of Hate by The 8TH ROUTE ARMY has an early 80's UK sound to it that reminds me of DEAD MAN'S SHADOW but better while their other song Professional Killer is like DEMOB or CYANIDE only not as irritatingly perky. THE OUTPATIENTS had probably been listening to the M.D.C. when they wrote Light Blue. The Low Fi recording saves it from sounding too much like metal.

ELECTROFLEX's Into The Night sounds California '77. They also do 8th Avenue that sounds a bit like THE NAILS. Lance Link by THE VANDELS is a Let's Dance-type standard song but sounds a bit more punk than that.

Smilin' by THE STERICS next. It's average musicians doing standard pop punk rock stuff with nothing special (i.e. not enough anger and/or energy). CHRONIC DISORDER and their The Final Line is all fake British accents and fast underproduced 80's punk. Good basic chord pattern and an angry sound that made me shake my head if not get up and dance.

The music of OCTOBER DAYS' West Coast is pretty simular to THE DEAD KENNEDYS' Police Truck. Lyrics go 'Lie on the beach 'till your mind rots away'. The song sounds stolen but good.

What I Got by INTERNATIONAL Q is somewhere between early TOM PETTY and THE ZEROS. THE ROCK DOVES' Men Are Working is like an art school version of the SUICIDE COMMANDOS doing some old row-row-row-your-boat type song. I hate to admit it but it's kinda catchy.

DENNIS MOST AND THE INSTIGATORS do Excuse My Spunk which is sort of New Waveish with a NUNS piano. Sound Of The 80's by studio project PEER PRESSURE is very much like an IGGY song (can't remember which one, but it's recorded after this) with good whining vocals. THE NOT QUITE's Satan's Elves is a very early demo which sounds somewhere between the HUNS' Busy Bees and a slow DICKIES song. I'm not too keen on the jester stuff. The last song on this one is T.V. Wizard by THE FOREIGN OBJECTS. A mid tempo CRAMPS with keyboards and an AOR guitar solo or something by VENUS AND THE RAZORBLADES. Vocals are more spoken than screamed but it's ok as background noise.

All bands are recorded with an at least decent demo sound quality and there's no really awful song on it. Still, this will probably appeal to early punk rock collectors and few others. Not that it's bad - as these compilations go it's very much above average - but it's more like a good documentation of a long gone scene than a greatest punk hits compilation. I'll play this CD every now and again and pick some of it for a comp tape. If you've got the better BLOODSTAINS ACROSS... albums this will sound familiar to you even though the bands might not be.

There's a million different rare punk comps and this one is definitely a keeper. Rather than filling it with rare-but-crap songs they've worked hard to find the better ones, which most of the compilers don't. Suffers a little from too much mid-tempo songs and clean but cheap recordings, and I'd have liked more from JACK TRAGIC AND THE UNFORTUNATES, but that's it.
V/A - Guillotined at the Hangar CD