Fat Wreck Chords – Wrecktrospective – CD Review

If one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2010 was to listen to more punk rock music you are in luck. Recently Fat Wreck Chords put out their first ever anthology full of punk rock goodness — 88 songs to be exact. Wrecktrospective is a three-disc collection of greatest hits, demos, and even limited edition material that spans the 20 years since the label was founded.

Formed by NOFX frontman Fat Mike with little advertising and no commercial help, the independent punk label has issued over 280 releases and is a well known favorite of many Warped Tour fans. The three-CD set contained in the digi-pack is just a sample of all that has been Fat.

The anthology is more or less a musical history of the bands that have put out material over the last 20 years since Fat Mike decided to start the label. Featuring punk bands from the past and present, I can only imagine that it was no easy task to take so many songs from such a span of artists and put them into the compilation, but it was done perfectly.

Throughout the set I was reminded of a slew of bands I stopped listening to over the years and was happy to hear them all over again. When a label has put out over 280 releases, sometimes it’s hard to remember them all.

The first disc is full of non-commercial hit songs also known as “Fattest Hits.” Listening to the first segment was like a blast from the past for me as I have been a Fat Wreck fan since its inception. Featuring familiar tracks by current label mates NOFX, Strung Out, and the Mad Caddies, the CD includes 33 songs by 33 different bands.

The disc also contains tracks from former Fat alumni who either disbanded or went on to bigger and better things over the years such as Against Me!, Less Than Jake, Hi Standard, and others. The first disc alone brought back good memories of amazing bands that I used to rock out to on a daily basis. If I were to make a greatest hits Fat album I might have selected just a handful of other tracks for some of the artists, but all in all they did a good job putting it together.

The demo disc, or disc two, features many tracks that were hidden gems until now. I had heard some of these tracks as well as variations on other Fat compilations before, but having all of them all on one CD is so much more fulfilling. From the Mad Caddies’ “Polyester Khakis” (where they sample Body Count) to the acoustic “Everyone Is Telling Me I’ll Never Win, If I Fall In Love With A Girl From Marin” by Bracket, I really enjoyed the collection.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of this set is the third disc as it contains the limited release Fat Club 7″ series in its entirety. For people like me who missed out on the Fat Club this is a dream come true as it previously was not available on CD. Then again I am sure people who were lucky enough to join the Fat Club will appreciate this as well so they don’t have to figure out how to use the USB record player to transfer their prized collection onto their computers.

I would have loved to have seen a fourth disc in this set including all of NOFX’s 7” of the month club tracks and the joke in its entirety but I’ll take what I can get at this time. At only $15 on the Fat Wreck Chords website this is a steal of a release and even includes a fold-out poster showing every Fat Wreck Chords release ever put out.

My only complaint with this set is the lack of a DVD. I think it would have been fitting to throw in a disc featuring live performances and music videos by an assortment of the bands. Seeing how Fat Wreck Chords strayed away from mainstream overload (aka MTV), I would have thought they would have built up a collection of videos and footage that further helped celebrate the two decades of accomplishment. Who knows, that could be in the works.

Previous Fat fans may not get as much out of this set as a newcomer might mainly because many of the songs on the disc have been on other Fat compilations over the years. Still it’s a nicely put together collection of what makes Fat Wreck Chords.

Upon checking out the music I took a minute to read the insert pertaining to the record label written by Fat Mike himself. It’s really an interesting read as Fat Mike confesses that the record label was all about “putting out punk bands that I really like” and talks about the ups and downs he went through starting his own business.

Knowing how the music business has been going these days, I was not shocked to read that Fat Wreck Chords is basically back where they started with little financial gain but I am so proud of them for doing their best to continue. With so many labels out there that folded over the years due to money issues (i.e. Grand Royal), I really hope to see Fat Wreck Chords last another 20 years and with their roster I have the feeling it will not be that difficult.

To grab a copy of this 3 CD punk gem head over to Fat Wreck Chords and nab it for only $15.

Here is a funny video:

(please note this is for humor purposes only and if you can not take a joke then you are a jerk…)

Track Listing:
1: NOFX – The Separation of Church and Skate
2: Lagwagon – Violins
3: Propagandhi – Back to the Motor League
4: No Use For a Name – Soulmate
5: Bracket – 2RAK005
6: Strung Out – Too Close to See
7: Face To Face – You’ve Done Nothing
8: Good Riddance – Weight of the World
9: Tilt – War Room
10: Me First – Leaving on a Jet Plane
11: Wizo – Raum der Zeit
12: Frenzal Rhomb – Never Had So Much Fun
13: Hi-Standard – Wait for the Sun
14: Snuff – Martin
15: Goober Patrol – Easy Life
16: Swingin’ Utters – Windspitting Punk
17: Screeching Weasel – Cool Kids
18: Mad Caddies – Mary Melody
19: Consumed – Brutal Truth
20: Sick of It All – The Bland Within
21: Avail – Black and Red
22: Less Than Jake – Gainesville Rock City
23: Anti-Flag – Turncoat
24: Rise Against – Heaven Knows
25: The Real McKenzies – Kings of Fife
26: The Lawrence Arms – Like a Record Player
28: None More Black – Everyday Balloons
29: Against Me! – T.S.R.
30: Descendents – ‘Merican
31: Only Crime – R.J.R.
32: Chixdiggit! – I Remember You
33: Dead To Me – By the Throat
34: Good Riddance – Flies First Class
35: Rise Against – Alive and Well
36: The Flatliners – Eulogy
37: NOFX – It’s My Job to Keep Punk Rock Elite
38: The Lawrence Arms – On With the Show
39: Lagwagon – Bury the Hatchet
40: Western Addiction – The Church of Black Flag
41: The Loved Ones – Living Will (Get You Dead)
42: Star Fucking Hipsters – Immigrants & Hypocrites
43: Bracket – Everyone is Telling Me I’ll Never Win, If I Fall in Love With a Girl From Marin [Acoustic]
44: American Steel – Sons of Avarice
45: Nerf Herder – 5000 Ways to Die
46: Propagandhi – Middle Finger Response
47: None More Black – Slytherin? My Ass!
48: Swingin’ Utters – A Promise to Distinction
49: Against Me! – You Look Like I Need a Drink [Acoustic]
50: The Soviettes – Multiply and Divide
51: Zero Down – No Apologies
52: No Use For a Name – Always Carrie
53: Dead To Me – Writing Letters
54: Strung Out – Alone
55: The Dickies – My Pop the Cop
56: Avail – Done Reckoning
57: Mad Caddies – Polyester Khakis
58: The Sainte Catherines – Hau Weg die Scheisse
59: Epoxies – It’s You
60: Smoke or Fire – Goodbye to Boston
61: Anti-Flag – Underground Network
62: The Vandals – Underground
63: The Vandals – Why Are You Alive
64: American Steel – Middle of the Night
65: American Steel – New Religion Everyday
66: The Real McKenzies – Another Round
67: The Real McKenzies – Loch Lomond
68: MXPX – The Road Less Traveled
69: MXPX – You Hold the Key
70: Strike Anywhere – Antidote
71: Strike Anywhere – Asleep
72: Randy – I’m Stepping Out
73: Randy – Unite
74: Randy – Freedom Song
75: NOFX – Zyklone B Bathouse
76: NOFX – Spaghetti Motel
77: Swingin’ Utters – Black Mountain Rain
78: Swingin’ Utters – Outside Life
79: Strung Out – Dig
80: Strung Out – Lost Motel
81: Enemy You – The Promise Breakers
82: Enemy You – Kind Hearts
83: Enemy You – Emma
84: The Lawrence Arms – Porno and Snuff Films
85: The Lawrence Arms – A Toast
86: The Lawrence Arms – Overheated
87: One Man Army – Victoria
88: One Man Army – She Wants Me Dead

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