Vinyl Vlog 355

Vinyl Vlog 355

Saturday, 17 November 2018

A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the One Family, One Flag 3LP compilation from Pirates Press Records.

Now twelve years after the last installment came out, the whole world seems to have changed a couple of times but punk fans have started looking back and feeling some nostalgia for the great punk compilation series Punk-O-Rama is pretty understandable. Punk-O-Rama was once an impressive beast, the release of which used to be hotly anticipated every year; once, Punk-O-Rama young fans a Cliff’s Notes cheat sheet to find the best and brightest new music to appear on Epitaph in a given year (for about a decade between 1994 and 2005). It was efficient and inexpensive and (in at least a few cases) gave listeners a roadmap to find the music they’d love. Comparatively, the Fat Music series is solid but “just not quite as good as” Punk-O-Rama, and its’ successor (Unsound) feels like a pale replica with all the earnest desire to keep the home fires burning, but a fraction of the content. Simply said, the absence of an annual Punk-O-Rama release has let a void in pop culture which has yet to be filled – a problem that Pirates Press’ new compilation, One Family, One Flag, seeks to wipe off the table.

With the help of a few of the graduates from Epitaph’s school of hard knocks like Rancid, Bombshell Rocks, Off With Their Heads, Street Dogs and The Interrupters it can only be said that One Family, One Flag definitely stands out brightly. Spread across two and a half records (the final side features a pretty cool looking picture pressed into it), listeners get a decent helping of music which features both new noise as well as some more (shall we say) classic fare which has been interspersed for some different flavoring. That methodology works pretty well; the more aggressive strains of Off With Their Heads’ “Die Today”mix well and fluidly with Rancid’s “Fuck You,” the street-ier “Swinging Hammers” by Booze and Glory, the the melodic hardcore of Bombshell Rocks (typified here by “Scars and Tattoos”) and the uniquely Bostonian rock-punk of “Certain Fate” by Street Dogs, and those cuts inform the newer breeds like Bar Stool Preachers (who’s “One Fool Down” cut sparkles, apart from the EP from which it sprang), Harrington Saints, Kicker, Roadside Bombs and Territories perfectly. The newer bands also mix well with the reissued fare from Reducers SF and Old Firm Casuals, and leaves listeners feeling as though they just enjoyed a great, new mixtape – not an earnest reboot of an old idea – that they’d happily blast their way through again.

Needless to say, those who take a chance on One Family, One Flag will find themselves handsomely rewarded and gratified to learn that some ideas still hold up – even if they’ve gone abandoned for a while. While this first edition was pressed to commemorate the 200th release from Pirates Press, here’s hoping that, while the title of this comp is focused on singular images and entities, Pirates Press doesn’t leave One Family, One Flag as a one-off. [Bill Adams]


One Family, One Flag will be released on November 23, 2018 on Pirates Press Records. Pre-order it here, directly from the label.

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