Album: Various Artists

Gimme Skelter, Buddyhead/Nettwerk
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The Independent Culture

This may be the first website-inspired compilation, Buddyhead being an irreverent e-fanzine aimed at keeping rock'n'roll dark'n'dirty - an increasingly difficult task in these playlist-conscious times. Gimme Skelter sets out to celebrate rock's grimy underbelly whilst hoisting a contemptuous finger to the timid mainstream. Unfortunately, it's not much of an advert for supposed outsider rock, comprising mostly dull grunge bands who seem to be mates of the compiler (and in the case of The Icarus Line, the compiler's own actual band), punctuated with tracks from usual-suspect rock rebels like Iggy Pop, Wire, Mudhoney, Primal Scream and, er, Weezer. The sleeve, with its ooh-that's-so-outrageous caricature of Charlie Manson by Black Flag sleeve artist Raymond Pettibon, says it all: spiritually and sonically, Gimme Skelter is stuck around the start of the Eighties, still fighting battles whose outcomes were settled long ago, trapped by its own knee-jerk antipathy and narrow outlook, just as both punk and grunge were before it. The sole saving grace is Iggy Pop's "New York City is Beating its Chest Again", in which he lambasts modern muzak merchant Moby. "I'm sick of Moby. / Didn't he rip off some old black lady?/ What a little creep!/ Moby Dick was a work of art - what the hell happened?/ I'm sick of him/ Fatuous little bastard!" Well, yes.

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