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Compilation albums are very tricky buggers as a consumer. First of all, you aren't necessarily guaranteed anything good, especially if you are buying an album because your favorite band has one track on it that you have never heard before. You don't know if any of the other tracks are worth listening to, and in many instances they are not. The other thing about compilation albums is they are, unfortunately, on their way out the door, one step behind the single. Due to the ease of downloading and burning, everyone can make their own compilation albums now, so what's the use of spending 6 bucks or something to pick up one at your local Hot Topic. Well here's the reason: to find out about new bands that you might not have been exposed to otherwise. For some people it works like this: buy a comp. album, find a track you like by an artist you've never heard of, be more inclined to get to a show earlier to see them open for a band you have heard of before, like 'em live, have a new favorite bands. Anyway, enough about how compilation albums have a variety of uses, on to Atticus … Dragging the Lake II.
First of all, I would like to state that up until this album I have been protesting Atticus because I'm closed minded and get annoyed when rockstars use their fame to make more money in an area like fashion, where they couldn't if they weren't famous. So, this is my introduction into Atticus, Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge's record label/fashion line, and sadly, the boycott is over, this album is really good. It does what a compilation album should. It has a huge amount and variety of bands, all of different styles, but more importantly, from different labels. Usually, most comps tend to be on the shitty side because they are put out to showcase all the bands from one particular label, which is cool, as long as all the bands are decent. However, 99% of the time you get 7 - 8 good tracks, and the rest leave you wishing you could get your money back. Dragging the Lake II manages to take bands from different genres and labels in the industry and smush them all together, leaving the listener satisfied, like they just saw all the good bands at Warped Tour.
Most of the tracks found on this album showcase their respective band's better qualities. Each track possesses its' own little je ne sais quoi, but that is what makes this album come together as a whole, and really, simply, kick ass. From Rocket in the Crypt's opening track "I'm Not Invisible" to the Alkaline Trio's live version of "Crawl" this album takes from all the major genres of music (punk, emo, ska, hardcore) and presents the cream of the crop to the listener and just lets the combination of all the sounds overtake them.
The gold stars for each genre go to:
PUNK… The Suicide Machines with "All My People."
EMO…Sparta with their track "Vacant Skies"
SKA… The BossTones with the tittle track of their new album "A Jackknife to a Swan"
HARDCORE… Bane with "Some Came Running"
I know I didn't talk much about the individual tracks, but look at it this way, if you have heard of even one band on Dragging the Lake II it is worth picking up. This album weeds through all the crap and gives you a better assortment of bands and genres, and music overall, than you could get making your own mix CD. This album ranks right up there with Epitaph's Punk-o-Rama Volume II in my list of great compilation albums. Maybe Atticus does know what they are doing… but I'm still going to continue my boycott of Made.
Jason Cipriano is an Assistant Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.