Chicago-based Girlsville Records have put together a compilation record consisting of work from multiple artists. Our Voltage was released to benefit legal aid for anti-racist activists and for the development of Haymaker, a community self-defence gym in Chicago. The record also showcases 13 bands signed to Girlsville Records, making for a solid compilation of new and up-and-coming punk rock.
Opening with the comically titled “Off Duty Nuns,” an edgy punk banger with a drunken swagger from UK GOLD, Our Voltage dives headlong into an oasis of modern and vintage punk. “Off Duty Nuns” stands as an exceptional track that fits a vast array of influences from the ’70s to modern punk, and will leave you immediately looking into UK GOLD’s discography. The album continues to roll forward with a wide selection of alternative punk tracks from bands whom you likely have never heard of — The Buzzards, Germ House, and Damaged Bug, to name a few — making it a truly exciting sampler for Girlsville Records.
As Our Voltage continues, a handful of songs begin to stand out, not only for their recording and musical quality. Among UK GOLD’s “Off Duty Nuns” is Mr. And The Mrs.’ “Do The Octopus,” Atomic Love’s “Who Do You Love?” and Mr. Airplane Man’s “Believe,” songs that provide a fresh twist on a strong retro punk vibe from the ’70s. Unfortunately, much of the work in between feels slightly closer to filler with a strong experimental vibe that normally would be applauded, but in the context of a one-song-showcase on a compilation record feels disorienting and, in some ways, removes a level of the excitement from the overall record.
Despite that, Our Voltage gives one of America’s most diverse punk rock labels a bright spotlight in which they may set you up with a fix for your punk cravings. It also serves as an excellent platform to discover 13 up-and-coming alternative punk groups who signify a strong American underground wave of experimental punk bands that is reminiscent of that of garage and noise rock bands from the 1980s. While Our Voltage offers something for punks of all generations, it is unlikely that the album in its entirety will hold the attention or excitement of most punks.
Girlsville Records Links
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: VARIOUS ARTISTS – OUR VOLTAGE